“We have a lack of black friends problem in this country.”

Blacktress is watching her favorite Sunday night TV shows, (all of which she hopes to appear on one day) when suddenly it hits her, that not one of these shows has ever featured a blacktress in a major or recurring role.  I hate America, she thinks.   Ordinarily she might call Nirvana to complain about this.  But just that morning the girls agreed to begin The 21 day No Complaining Challenge, recommended by Oprah.com.   So she calls Iyanla instead.

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“Stevie Wonder Black” refers to someone you can tell is Black even with your eyes closed.

Today, Blacktress finds herself walking onto a small studio lot with a self-assuredness that surprises her.  In the last year she’s booked the role of a Ugandan refugee, a depression era jazz singer, a teenage Crip girl, and is in serious contention for the role of Chantal, a pre-op tranny hooker.  Today, she’s up for a part far less challenging.

This breakdown reads like my bio, she thinks.  Piece of cake.

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Blacktress watches as her I-phone lights up and sings a digital blues riff.

“Hey Sam,” she says eagerly.

Her agent talks quickly as if Blacktress is a stenographer in need of a challenge.

“ Sotheywannaseeyouforthisthing. Saglowbuget.  Theroleof… Chantal.  A gorgeous pre-op tranny hooker.”

Is there even such a thing?  Blacktress wonders.

He goes on.

“The producer’s got a name.”

Blacktress rolls her eyes.  Don’t we all?

Sam powers on.

“They’vebeenlookingallover.  They’ve seen boys, girls, he/she’s, and shims.  Younameit.  Theycan’tfindit. Gogetit.”

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On a Thursday evening Blacktress and her British friend, Ann are waiting in line amongst film snobs and film students for a free screening of the new art house indie, Red Romance.

“Its getting a lot of Oscar buzz and I hear the performances are impeccable, ” they overhear the woman in front of them explain to her husband.

Blacktress and Ann are seemingly there to enjoy high art, but are actually there for the much publicized down and dirty sex scenes.

“I hear the lead girl gets head for ten minutes.  In real time.”  Blacktress explains to Ann.

“Oooooh!  Lovely,” she responds.  Her proper English accent warms over with a smoldering breathiness.

“What would respectable single girls do without kinky, art films?”

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Aisha Hinds

You may not know her name, but if you are a fan of network and cable episodics, chances are you know her face.   She’s been steadily working since she landed the recurring role of Annie Price on the Shield in 2004.   This past television season she was probably all over you DVR delivering memorable performances on Law and Order SUV as a transsexual teacher, on Hawthorne as the hilarious and heartbreaking homeless woman Isabel, or True Blood as the con artist Miss Jeannette among others.  This season she debuts as Lt Maureen Mason on the well reviewed and highly publicized Detroit 1-8-7 on ABC, where she’s found her home as a series regular.  In between takes of the TNT show Hawthorne, we caught up with the bubbly actress over the summer to discuss the craft, the business, the hair, and the life in LaLa land.

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It’s the closing night party for the play, Dusty Melody. The walls are lined with LA theater types, their plus ones and the kind of actors whose faces you know but names you don’t.  Blacktress is tangled within the crowd wearing  a short red dress, sipping a dry red wine.  But she’s more high from the successful run of the show than the libations.  People are buzzing about eager to acknowledge her performance.  A handsome man in his thirties taps her on the shoulder and immediately begins blowing smoke up her ass.

“I just wanted to say that you were absolutely wonderful.  Won- der- ful.   I saw the show twice.”

He leans in closer.

“And you were my favorite.”

Blacktress beams.

“Thank you.  It was a lot of fun.”

“So what’s up next for you?”  He asks.

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Blacktress is driving through the NoHo arts district in the valley when she spots a marquee in front of a small theater that reads: Sexy and Suicidal, LA’s fourth longest running stage play.  Blacktress is glad to be driving away from the theater instead of towards it.    I can’t believe it’s still running, she thinks.

Blacktress is no stranger to the production.  She’d been cast in the show years ago after being in LA for only two months.  The playwright/director/producer Tony White called to give her the good news.

“But I didn’t audition,” Blacktress said dumbfounded.

“I went over your resume and I liked it.  I’ve been doing this a long time.  I can just tell you’ll be right.”

Blacktress was confused but in no position to turn down roles.  Tony went on to explain the intricacies of his masterpiece.

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