No stranger to entertainment, Cocoa Brown has been working for some time now, building her brand of entertainment and comedy. We’ve seen her in a variety of television shows and films. Most will immediately remember her from Tyler Perry’s For Better or Worse, but she’s done so much more in her time. At this point in her career, he goal has shift a bit. She’s focused now on proving to the world that she can master the dramatic role. Trust that she’s still doing her thing to make you laugh through her journey. Matter of fact, she’s here in Cleveland this weekend at The Improv, and I’ve already heard from a number of people that the show is off the hook.
Cocoa takes a few moments in betweens hows to talk with us here at UG Digital about her journey into the world of comedy, her new role in American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J., her new fashion line, and so much more. It’s time for you to see just why Cocoa is indeed More than Funny!
UG Digital: I have to thank you so much for taking the time out. I know you’re here in the city doing your shows at the Improv. How’s everything going?
Cocoa Brown: They’ve been going amazing. To be doing weekday shows, and for it to be packed every night, wall to wall, that let’s you know that you’re doing something right, especially when people will chance getting that extra hour of sleep before work to come and laugh with you.
UG Digital: It has to be amazing just following your dreams, doing what you love. We look at you each week on For Better or Worse, and I keep replaying the progressive commercial because it’s hilarious. You’re showing that it can be done when you put in the work.
Cocoa Brown: Yes, and I believe that. You have to be putting in the work and be dedicated. It does call for sacrificing. When you work really hard, you get to a point where you can say no. You can pick and choose the work you do. You can orchestrate your life in the sense of when you work, and when you don’t. It takes sacrifice and grind to get there in the beginning. After so long, you still do it, but it’s not necessarily as crucial as it is in the beginning.
UG Digital: How do you balance everything, obviously doing the show, touring regularly, being a mother, and everything else.
Cocoa Brown: You know, I don’t think about it. I just do it. It’s like a quote that I did in the Single Mom’s Club.
UG Digital: I loved you in that movie by the way.
Cocoa Brown: Thank you so much. When you start to think about something, that’s when you get depressed and discouraged. You just can’t think about it. Sometimes, you just have to do it. My schedule for the past few weeks has been insane. Literally, I’ve been overseas, on the west coast, touring, filming, home for a day with my kids, and back on the road. I may have to drive two or three hours to another spot. It’s crazy, but sometimes you have to think of the end result. The end result for me, that keeps me motivated, is my son. He knows that he is provided for.
UG Digital: I definitely want to talk about your shows at the Improv, but you’re also working on the People vs. OJ Simpson?
Cocoa Brown: Yes, we completed that back in November. it premieres February 16th on FX. It’s American Crime Story: The People vs. OJ Simpson. It was created by Ryan Murphy. It’s directed by some of the greats: Anthony Hemingway of The Wire; a young brother who is just doing it right now. Also John Singleton, from Higher Learning, and Boyz N The Hood. What was so awesome is he hand picked me for the role I have. He was the first director to totally believe that Cocoa Brown could do drama. She’s more than funny. I’m so grateful to him for that. It was an amazing experience just watching John Travolta, Cuba Gooding Jr., and Courtney B. Vance, who is just brilliant beyond belief. It was like being in the master class. I walk today so much smarter, wiser, and knowledgeable of the craft. I can’t wait to sink my teeth into another dramatic character.
UG Digital: I can’t wait to see it. When i saw the promo for it, I questioned whether anyone had fear or reluctance in doing it?
Cocoa Brown: No, not at all. it was so funny how it happened. I was actually auditioning for another show that John Singleton has coming out called Snowfall. Unfortunately, I didn’t get that part, but, he was so impressed i guess in seeing that I could do drama, that when he was directing American Crime Story, a part came up for a juror the has significance in OJ getting off. He called and said he couldn’t put me on Snowfall, but he could use me for American Crime Story. That would show the network that I could indeed do drama.
UG Digital: I think that’s why people are realizing your talent. I believe itstarts with the work you’ve done with Tyler. It’s amazing that you’re able to be a part of this.
Cocoa Brown: Thank you. I think people see me on For Better or Worse, but they see Jennifer. She’s funny. She has her moments where she can be serious. There’s great moments, but overall, people think she’s funny. Then the Progressive commercial, I’m funny. On Soul Man, I’m funny. When you get to a point where you say look, I’m an actress and I’m more than funny, sometimes it’s challenging to break the status quo. There’s more to you than just getting that chuckle.
UG Digital: This will show that though.
Cocoa Brown: I believe so. You sometimes have to take that L. Sometimes you have to take the lower pay just to get that role for the body of work to prove the point. It can’t be about the money all the time. Sometimes it has to be about the work.
UG Digital: Now you also have a fashion line coming, right?
Cocoa Brown: Yes, and I’m so excited. I partnered with a great store and a and designer. We’re working on a line called Phoenix Moon. It’s for the curvy shorter girl. A lot of these stores are like Amazon (laughing). The is for the girls who have shape and they’re under 5’8”. They have cute shape, but their hippy.
UG Digital: Have you always been into fashion? What took you in that direction?
Cocoa Brown: I’ve always liked to dress, but I blame my mother for that. She has always been a dressin’ thang. They get it together when they step out that door. She’s been like that. My mom was always about class. She was about buying things that you can wear five years from now, and people still compliment you for it. I used to get picked on when I was younger because everybody said I dressed like a lawyer (laughing). Don’t get me wrong, older men loved it. They were like oh, you’re so well put together. Young guys were asking where the booty shorts were.
UG Digital: But you just want to look good though.
Cocoa Brown: I don’t know, I mean my idols growing up were my mother and aunts. I grew up wanting to be Claire Huxtable. When did you ever see her in some booty shorts (laughing)? I wanted to be her when I was growing up. That was my thing. I’m inspired by the women in my family, and the Claire Huxtables, Cicely Tysons, Ruby Dees, Lena Hornes, and Angela Bassetts…. I have always been an admirer of women who embrace their femininity, and were classy and elegant. I don’t do the hoochie thing, never been a phase of mine…OK, one year, I went to freaknik, but that was just one year (laughing).
UG Digital: Well there’s a lot of women who are just as inspired by you. You’re doing things positive and on a grande scale. We can see through you how it all comes together, and see that all these things are possible.
Cocoa Brown: Thank you so much…
UG Digital: So talk to me about what to look out for with your shows?
Cocoa Brown: People will see that Cocoa Brown is a force. She can bring so many layers to a character. I truly embody the arts. People will see that not only can I headline a club and bring the house down, but I can go on tour and open for somebody and play my lane and let them shine. I’m going on tour with Mike Epps. It’s the Mike Epps show honey, I’m just here for some icing (laughing).
UG Digital: I’ve heard your shows are amazing, so we’re excited to be coming out.
Cocoa Brown: Thank you so much.
UG Digital: Before we head out today, I want you to touch on your charity work.
Cocoa Brown: Yes! I have so many that I support, but mine personally is called Wigs of Love. it was inspired by my girlfriend Vanessa who lost her battle with breast cancer after two years, and my girlfriend Nina who is currently battling thyroid cancer. She’s lost all of her hair. As black women, we are raised to believe our hair is our crown and glory. If we lose our hair, we feel inadequate, unattractive, and less than. I love transforming my look. My girlfriends would always ask where I got my wigs from. Wouldn’t it be awesome for women, all women, who are battling cancer and losing their hair, to have custom-made wigs made for them and given to them? We’re talking about nice wigs that cost thousands of dollars. Then have them styled to fit their faces by a celebrity stylist. Let’s give them a makeover, a manicure, pedicure, and beautiful make-up. Let’s put them in a bad outfit and make them feel snatched and put together honey. Let’s have a ball and celebrate these women and their strength. That’s what it’s all about.
UG Digital: I think it’s amazing. I work in healthcare as well, and I was just talking to someone who cut all of her hair off to donate to something like this. It’s really amazing, and hair is near and dear to many women.
Cocoa Brown: Absolutely.
UG Digital: I have to thank you again for your time. I know you have so much happening and you’re getting ready for tonight’s show.
Cocoa Brown: Yes, thank you so much for the interview. Let people know they can find me all over social media. My website is www.cocoabrown4life.com