tv Talk to Al Jazeera Al Jazeera March 7, 2015 9:30am-10:01am EST
and rent. >> if svetlana can find a place with lower rent, they'll reopen. if not she'll close. >> you can find more on the latest suicide-bombings that hit the town of maiduguri. this week on "talk to al jazeera" - actress and comedian rain prior. >> i was born - you know, i think what they did was that they raised a child to have confidence in who she was. i didn't have to be a part of a group, you know, i didn't have to be black, i didn't have to be white. i had to be rain. >> she is the daughter of icon richard pryor. >> my dad threw me out. >> her mother was jewish, and
rain was raised largely with pattern graps. - grandparents. and "that daughter's crazy" is her new story. >> she was upset, she'll be upset, she'll have a black and white baby. >> her family worried the world children. >> my mum and i had crosses on the front lawn. the n word painted on the side of our home. >> despite this rain found a voice. "fried chicken and latkes" is the name of her award winning show. >> i grew up with conflict within the diversity. i saw things, it didn't have to be this way, you know. >> i spoke to rain prior in new york. director. >> oh, my god. >> i'm not done. >> okay. >> a producer. >> well.
>> a comedian. >> well, yes. >> an activist. >> that's why. >> an actor. >> yes. >> and a mum. >> yes, my favourite job of all. >> well that's quite a list. i was going to say which do you identify most with. >> mummy. >> that popped, obviously. tell me about being a mum? >> mum is incredible. when you have a kid everything in your life changes, it's no longer about you. it's about them, they need you so much. do you know what i mean. they get on your nerves. they drive you crazy, and you just - you can't wait to be with them. you just can't wait to see what is going to happen next. i have to remember she's six years old. lotus is 6 years old, and the world is new to her. the world is 6 years old to her. the things she says. i think they are beautiful. it's like over the holiday. we are sitting around. she goes mummy, mummy, everyone is brown at the family.
i was like "i'm not that brown, lotus." she was like because your colour's invisible, mummy. >> invisible. >> you know, i thought that was to beautiful. >> she's really smart. let's talk more about your family and heritage. >> go for it, girl. >> the latest project. "that daughter's crazy" - that's a great title, first of all. >> thank you. >> you explore the less famous aspects of your family, because everyone nose who your father -- knows who your father is, is there other people that are equally as important. >> let's talk about my mum. >> let's talk about your project. >> she's very important. shaped me. [ laughs ] >>. >> yes, i love the concept. that the director - she says that i say her name wrong - no, i love that she said "we heard
about your dad. let's see the other side about you. she saw my show "fried chicken and latkes", and knew that "that daughter's crazy" followed that and thought we'll see who rain is, not just the iconic father. he's part of the legacy, but he's not the story. i love that she included by grandma bunny and her perspective on life, on race. there hasn't yet, i feel, been a documentary about let's say whether that's the pryors or anything showing two jewish woman raising a mixed child, and what they thought in that era. >> absolutely. >> in the '70s, and '80s. >> i love that my grandmother says on camera - shelby thought we were upset because she was
having a black and a white baby. i thought to myself "do i have poka dots?" that was the general sayings. -- generation. i love seeing that. we are so crazy in the world - whether it's race or religion, when you show people in their truth, we are all humans, and you see the humanness of who she is, who my mum is and what they struggled with. >> how did your mum and grandma white. >> and red all over. >> and red all over. >> when i was born. i think what they did was that they raised a child to have confidence in who she was. i didn't have to be a part of a group. you know, i didn't have to be black, i didn't have to be white. i had to be rain. i had to accept i had big hair, that i was different. and that i was to follow what my
truth was, whatever that was to be for me, i was follow that. my grandparents were good in letting me perform. everyone knew i was a performer. my dad came out saying "you were already funny, we knew that's what you were going to be", basically you were singing as you came out of your mother. i got the rainbow coloured afro wig, and she got the education. she was going to be a professor, and i was the one in front of the camera, street corner, wherever it turns out. yes, they kind of just said "this is your life and we'd like to help you be 100% who you are in the world." >> did they feel equipment to raise a bi-racial child? do you understand what i mean. >> i don't think my grandparents
felt equipped. that's a generation. european jews come over here. and i say in my solo show. we were european jews, we'd been given a place in israel. half of us escaped nazi germany. european jews try to hold on everything we are. i don't think they were equipped. how do i explain on interracial marriage, let alone a child. i understand that my mum was a child of the '60s, peace and love. militant. she was going to raise a powerful child, and a powerful one. that was her dynamic. so you have two what do we do - what do we do about the hair, what do we do when she is called the, "n" word, what do we do when this happens. that's what i love about the documentary, my grandmother goes there and explains that it hurt.
it hurt her. mum was like "i taught beverly hills would be the rite place to raise my daughter thinking everyone was progressive in weren't." >> you grew up in beverly hills, life was great, wonderful, and she's in a bubble. it wasn't like that. >> it was not a bubble. it was like - i mean, first, we lived - we always lived below the tracks. my grandfather was danny kay's manager for 35 years. they were upper middle class fancy jews. >> yes. >> here we were, my mum and i living below the tracks in beverly hills, we had crosses burnt on our front loun, the, "n" word wanted on the side of our -- painted on the side of our home. you are talking mid '70s, in beverly hills. i was invited to parties, so kids could drop icecubes on my afro because they thought it could bounce off.
>> did that hurt? >> yes, it was emotionally devastated. you think "i'm going to a sleepover." you realise that you are the act. and that was devastating to me. and i spent a lot of time in my own solitude, and in my answer - in my own space until much later on, and then you go to high school, and then you have the fight with the gir, and she's like "you can't go out with him and he's jewish and white, you are so not. we don't know what you are." for me, it's funny, but i don't talk about it in my show. i wanted to be a lat eacha. everywhere -- latino, everyone assumed i spoke span yish. in l.a. it was a trolos. i plucked my eyebrow practically off and wore the dickies and shirts, and hung out with them, and i was on, you know, i got to
go now, you know what i'm saying (said in latino accent). it was incredible. >> you were trying to fit in. >> that's what we do. i so was. i wept though the preppy phase, through the punk rocker stage where dad threw me out of the house, he said "there'll be no punk rockers in this house." . i'm, like, dad, there's hookers in the life. phases. >> let's talk about your dad. >> yes, let's talk about rp. genius. >> yes. >> in many ways he was the traditional dad, on many other occasions he was not the traditional dad. i can honestly say the artist i am today was inspired by my dad. he told me i had it and had to it.
>> yes. >> you said your father felt you were going to be a performer. do you feel you've done what your dad thought you'd do, own your voice. >> yes, interestingly i have a comedy release "black and white", released on april 7th. it's my first ever stand-up comedy c.d. i never wanted to do stand-up. dad wanted me to be a stand up. i was you're richard pryor are you crazy. do?" >> here i am, i'm coming out of the closet of rain prior, doing her version of what she thinks is stand-up. i'm terrified. >> really. >> like, audiences - i'm headlining carolines, audiences laugh. people come to see me. but i'm terrified because i'm not a set-up punch. i'm not telling you set-punch jokes. i'm doing what i do. do you know what i mean.
i bring characters out. i'm like - i've never been a formula. you can't put me in a box. >> nothing about you is a formula. >> even today. >> it sounds to me, in a lot of ways, that you are describing your father as well. >> yes. >> because there is nobody else like your father. >> no, there isn't. and there's no one like my mother. my mum is her own individual. i never met a mum like my mum. that makes you iconic, wh no one else can be you. we have a generation now that says we'll look at someone like jay z and beyonce and call them iconic. there'll be another jay z and beyonce that comes after. there'll never be another madonna. whether we like her or not, there'll never be another michael jackson. you know. it's just not possible. that's an icon. there'll never be another tina turn.
>> or richard prior. >> ain't going to happen. to say to someone, to try to sum up who my father is. i'm like i don't know how, because he would so bigger, so much bigger than life in his art, in his everything, his essence, in his person. >> did you feel that way growing up or did it take you a while to understand all that he was and his impact. when did it hit you? >> i don't think i knew his impact. i knew who he was. like, i had a soul connection with dad. it was deep. like i knew who he was. i knew who - i knew when he was sad. i knew when he was hope. i knew when he was frustrated and angry, i know what made him stick. tick. i know who his friend were and who they are weren't. i knew his quirks. the man. his iconic value or his iconic
personae, i don't think i really grasped until the day he died. walking through the airport and people literally stopping me, like the tsa agents saying "can i hug you?" ? >> i didn't know how to feel. it's my dad. you're crying, they are crying. you're taking care of them. >> you referenced some of the non-traditional parts of your father when you mentioned the hookers in the house. >> yes. >> tell me a little bit more about the traditional side of him as a father, as opposed to the non-traditional side. >> the traditional side was dad was strict. there was no playing around. i'd try to sneak up and dad was at the end of the hallway "where
do you think you are going?" or "why did you do this?", i remember once i told dad i was going to the mall, i was at my friend's house. dad was at the house. he called my friend's mum. i literally was dragged out by my hair. no one knows there was a strict richard pryor. the guy is like "do what i say not what i do", it's like "but . >> it's remarkable. at that moment i am sure you were like "daddy, you're embarrassing me." >> absolutely. there was a dad - "i remember holding you in my arms and you were little", i'm like, "you did that, i thought you were gone." moment. >> what do you tell your daughter about your father? >> i say he's a funny man,
everyone loved him. when you're older you can listen. she can't listen to my stuff. i had a sample from the c.d. and i was playing it not realising she was there. i'm whoops. she's like "no, no, i want to hear." i said "no." "i won't repeat it." >> she nose she shouldn't. >> she is one that realities. i had calls from school. "she said"... oh, my god, i'm embarrassed, because they know it's me. >> you described lotus as a bit of a miracle baby. >> yes. i was 38 years old when i was pregnant with her. before that i had miscarriages, i thought i'm never going to have a baby. i was in london, playing billy holl scro way, a terrible play. here i am in poind performing. i find out i'm pregnant.
excited. that was the third one i have. i'll never have kids. i have to go to the hospital. you know. there's complications with my body. things are not happening the way they are supposed to. the doctor says you have fibroids and endomeetriosis, i was operated on in london, he said trust me in the next i don't remember you'll get pregnant. and boom. >> did you believe him? >> no. he said "just keep trying." . when i saw the heartbeat on the monitor. it's rapid. i literally saw it because she's there. i didn't know if it was a girl. i assumed it was. >> it's beautiful. >> still ahead on "talk to al jazeera". rain prior talks about the anger she felt towardser iconic father. stay with us.
>> at one time i felt that selling cocaine was my purpose. >> as the amount of drugs grew guns came in. >> murder rate was sky-high. >> this guy was the biggest in l.a. >> i was goin' through a million dollars worth of drugs every day. i liked it. it's hard to believe that a friend would set you up. people don't get federal life sentences and beat them. >> they had been trafficking on behalf of the united states government. >> the cia admitted it. >> "freeway - crack in the system". only on al jazeera america.
>> i think it's because because, you know, my mum was the black male in my life when dad was not around. she is such a big part of who i am as well as him. i mean, he was rrchard pryor. he had six kids. this woman did the blood, sweat and the tear, and, you know, and dad did the blood, sweat and the tears until the next woman came along. but mum was like "i'm down, i'm in this to win this", do you know what i mean. dad took me on when i was older because, of course, i'm more manageable at that time, and then it's real talk. that's when the real conversations started. you know, when i'm 17 years old. let's talk about life. let's talk about boys. you know the stuff my mum couldn't really talk to me about. >> were you ever angry your father was not there sooner and more consistently? >> yes, when i was 13 years old.
i had it in my book, in it i wrote a letter, i have it in there. my favourite part of the letter is i said "you thing you're so famous, rob lowe is famous, you're no rob loewe." >> i'm telling you off. >> how hilarious is that at 13. >> now did he respond to that? age appropriate. >> isn't it though. so i had no problem telling him, "dude, you're screwing it up as a dad." >> that's pretty mature for your age to call him on his crap. >> that's how our family was. we are so open. we just say whatever's on our mind. we have no filter. >> you mentioned your show. let's talk about this "fried chicken and latkes." that is, first of all, a remarkable name. >> thank you. >> that is a wonderful name, i think people can get from the title.
it's about race, your heritage. what role does comedy play in addressing race in this country? >> do you know, for me it's - it's huge. i don't know why it is, i don't know why my comedy is racial - that's how i grew up, i guess. i'm going to talk about universal topics and feelings, and growing up black and jewish, like i said. in this era where there's so much hatred and anger towards groups of poem, whether, you know, you're muslim, jewish, whatever it is, i think it's so - it's so ridiculous how we hold on to this, our fundamental beliefs - for what. if i live next door to you, why can't i know your name or be a
human unto you. why can't i say "it's ramadan. do you bring you something or not? can i be your neighbour?" why is that. maybe because i grew up with diversity, with conflict within the diversity, i see things, it doesn't have to be this way. am i altruistic in my views. yes. my daughter is growing up in a world that has to support her. >> would you describe your father's comedy as honest? >> da. yes, kind of right there, put you to it. >> you don't think we have enough of that any more in comedy? >> i don't. the closest we come - you have lewis c kay. chris rock, even eddy administrative jip,griffin, who i adore and love.
he's like a big brother to me. you have comics willing to go to the edge and bring you back. and don't care. had they started that way, you wouldn't listen to them, you'd shut them out. because they are already names that you'll listen to them. do you know what i mean? >> yes. >> we'll listen to clinton play clinton. >> what would rain like to do next? that's up next on al jazeera. >> on al jazeera america >> a team of scientists are taking their inspiration from nature. >> technology...it's a vital part of who we are >>they had some dynamic fire behavior... >> and what we do.... >> transcranial direct stimulation... don't try this at home! >> tech know's team of experts show you how the miracles of science... >> this is my selfie... what can you tell me about my future? >> ...can effect and surprise us... >> sharks like affection >> tech know where technology meets humanity... only on al jazeera america
i didn't mention that you sing as well. >> yes. >> do you - what do you like to do, more of that. i love to do more of that. i'd love to be a black bett middler, tell jokes and sing. >> and you're doing it. >> i'm doing it in my own way, and i'm hoping to do more of that. >> i don't think your path is a unique one. i mean it in the best way. as you said. you can only be you, and that's what you have been doing. is there anything else out there that you want to conquer that you haven't done yet? >> well, i love my tony award. >> an egot. >> i would love that. i would love to do films. i would the opportunity to do things that i see other actresses doing. and i hope that daughter's crazy kind of opens that door. people go oh, my god, i didn't know she could do this, this,
this, and this. >> it's a remarkable projected. >> it is. you are funny, authentic. it's - i hope a lot of people see it too. >> i do. >> did it turn out the way you hoped when you envisitioned it. >> i didn't envision it. i had no idea what it would be. one thing i expressed to liz, sam and darrell is i didn't want it to me a mia cull pea. a poor me documentary. i didn't want is to be that. i wanted is to be authentic, enjoyable and entertaining. i think i accomplished that. >> i hope you accomplish everything on your list. >> thank you. >> former klansman david duke. >> america has been taken over. >> defending his controversial past.
>> i did what i thought was right. >> that was then... what about now? >> i believe the zionists control the country. >> "talk to al jazeera". only on al jazeera america. >> military exercises between south korea and america are regular occurrences. >> how far have u.s. race relations come since then. >> and i'm rory
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