It’s always an exciting time when we connect with Actor, Director, & Producer Darrin D. Henson. We’ve had a number of opportunities over the years, and today is even more exciting than the previous, as we get to talk openly about his latest project, Carl Weber’s The Family Business, which is currently airing via BET Networks Tuesday nights at 9pm EST and 8pm CST.
Based on The New York Times best-selling author Carl Weber’s highly popular family crime drama series, the show introduces you to the Duncans, a close-knit family wrapped up in the worlds of their family business, a thriving exotic car dealership, and the underworld. The series, produced by Christian Keyes, stars some of Hollywood’s biggest and brightest talent, including Ernie Hudson, Valerie C. Pettiford, Miguel A. Nunez, and of course, Darrin D. Henson. Henson talks with us about the significance of the project and what viewers can expect. We also chat about his overall influence throughout the entertainment industry, as well as other projects he has coming up. That all said, it’s time we get into The Family Business.
U.G. Digital Mag: I’m always tremendously grateful to you. Our first encounter goes back to the Soul Train Awards in 2013. It was the jump start of me pursing media at this level. I appreciate what you’ve always represented. Throughout your career, you’ve shown us that we can accomplish what we want on our own. The way you hustle is what I model after, and I’m grateful to witness it over and over again.
Darrin D. Henson: I appreciate that. One of the things I say is focus on what you want, and not what you don’t want. The way it works is what you focus on will come to you. A lot of people don’t believe in the law of attraction, but it’s real. They experience it everyday. They can’t see the wind, but they feel it. You can’t see a spirit but you feel it. It’s very palpable. It’s the same with dreams and desires. We have to focus, and follow one course until successful, and then we can move onto something else. A lot of people do this, and do that, but I let them know in a clarity perspective that yes, I may do that. It may have been done, but I do one thing at a time.
U.G. Digital Mag: I see that, and I’m grateful overall because since that moment, I’ve done so much more. Now we’re talking about The Family Business, and the show is great in what it represents. I’ve watched the initial episodes and they’re truly amazing. Talk about the dynamic of this powerful family?
Darrin D. Henson: The show is about the Duncan family, who owns an exotic car business, and is involved in another business that we common see, which is narcotics. They are very successful in the car business, and are a close knit family. They believe in keeping family business to themselves. They utilize their resources to grow financially into the marketplace. Also, as you know, when there’s any form of success, you always have enemies looming. Whenever you walk in life, there’s always a shadow. As you see in the show, they have come up on some difficult times. As you can see in the first two episodes, Paris is a bit of a wild card. We see that Orlando is probably holding space to invite someone into his life finally. We see that L.C. is very upset about a car that he loved being taken away from him, and it’s all causing a great deal of problems. Our brother Vegas, played by Michael Jai White, is in jail, and also our brother-in-law is jealous of my newfound position, so there’s a lot of discourse in the family as well.
U.G. Digital Mag: Just in terms of the show getting to this point and seeing the light of day, it seems it’s been in the can for a while. Have you always been a part of the series?
Darrin D. Henson: Yes, well, the show is based upon Carl Weber. He’s the original author of the books which have a huge following. Millions have read the books, and he decided to turn them into a show. We’re blessed to be a part of the Duncan family and be seen as people who are engaging into telling the story.
U.G. Digital Mag: In terms of Orlando, speak to how he resonates in your life. You stepped into this role so wells and it’s totally believable.
Darrin D. Henson: One of the things I learned is we all have 6 human needs. They are certainty, variety, significance, love, connection, and contribution. it’s important to play to those needs. Once you do this, you can play the human aspect of any character. I play to his needs. We all have the same needs; we just place them in different categories. A person living a life of contribution doesn’t normally have the same massive momentum experience as the person looking for certainty in their life. The way you set up your needs determines the outcome of your life.
U.G. Digital Mag: The show airs on Tuesdays at 9pm Eastern, and 8pm Central Standard Time. How many episodes are there?
Darrin D. Henson: There are 8 episodes total.
U.G. Digital Mag: Awesome. Now we connected some time ago about Sons 2 The Grave. Where are things with that?
Darrin D. Henson: From what I understand, it is completed and looks amazing. Although the movie has not come out, a television series has been garnished from it. I’m excited the movie was that good that a series has been awarded.
U.G. Digital Mag: Is that something you would play a role in if given the opportunity?
Darrin D. Henson: Absolutely.
U.G. Digital Mag: I’m dying to see the movie.
Darrin D. Henson: Don’t die (laughing). We need you.
U.G. Digital Mag: Right. I definitely want to see it though. I’ve heard so many great things.
Darrin D. Henson: So have I. I’m just as excited as you, if not more.
U.G. Digital Mag: You do a number of speaking engagements, but I also want to speak a little about the seminar you have done here in Cleveland at Karamu House. Will that happen again?
Darrin D. Henson: Yes, I actually love working at Karamu. It’s such a historic school. I started because there was a film festival I was part of. I was introduced through the festival. I had a great time teaching there. Subsequently, I haven’t been back to Cleveland since then, because I’ve been very busy elsewhere. Would I come back to Karamu to teach? Yes! Would I come back to teach in Cleveland? Yes! It was an amazing time, and the energy on the walls there is awesome. Hopefully, they are growing and expanding through the up and coming actors coming out of Cleveland.
U.G. Digital Mag: They’re doing amazing things, but you brought a certain ambiance that is unmatched. Plus, they have the amazing mural on the side of Ruby Dee. There’s so much good coming out of there. There’s a certain level that you delivered that makes people want to be there.
Darrin D. Henson: I’m thankful you’ve said that. I’m thankful for those words and correspondence. I appreciate that. Speaking of Ruby Dee, one of the things I heard from her years ago in Detroit, she was giving a lecture and said that she and Ossie never believed in the lyrics “We Shall Overcome Someday”. She said “I know Monday through Sunday, I don’t know a day of the week called someday”, and that was so profound. Years before that, I sat at she and Ossie’s feet in NYC doing a PSA for the homeless. I literally got to sit at their feet in the winter time in a warm house, and just listen to their stories. I consider myself blessed.
U.G. Digital Mag: In terms of speaking engagements, what’s going on with that?
Darrin D. Henson: A lot of times I am hired by corporations, HBCUs, colleges, and high schools to come and speak, and I make myself available. Right now, my team has not been pitching because I’ve been involved in so many films and the television series. When that space and time opens back up, I am there. I love to teach, speak, and share information for the next group of actors and entertainers to come so they are better-equipped in handling their success and what is put on their plates.
U.G. Digital Mag: So many appreciate it, including me, and I look forward to everything you have coming. The show is amazing, and I appreciate you for that, as well as today’s conversation.
Darrin D. Henson: I appreciate you and am thankful for this interview.