|Celebrity Stylist Mike Sam, Tichina Arnold and her daugher Alijah Kai|
We love her on hit sitcoms "Martin", "Everybody Hates Chris" and "One on One." I say "love" and not "loved" because no matter how many times they show reruns of these shows, Tichina Arnold stands out to this day. Her sass, her style and her strength exhibits itself strongly through every character - and we love her for it. In an exclusive interview with Ms. Arnold in her Philadelphia hotel room Saturday night after Philly Fashion Week's last runway show, where her daughter ripped the stage more than once, Ms. Arnold shared what she's been doing since her days on our favorite shows and how she's working to make our children's future much brighter.
In addition to developing a show, Ms. Tichina Arnold has been singing live. We remember her sultry voice belting out tunes every now and then on Martin and though we all waited anxiously for an album, she finds herself singing live at venues throughout LA and New York. With a private band called KNOW Pressure, Tichina has been doing it big singing original tunes and some well known tunes that we already know.
"I'm about to open at the L'Ermitage Hotel in Beverly Hills."
In addition to being up for two roles, she admits to wanting to do Broadway. I was thinking an action flick (would loved to have seen her in Smokin' Aces alongside Taraji and Alicia).
"You know, I would love to do action," Tichina says with a laugh. "Really, anything with great substance. There's not a whole lot of great material out there."
Pam had the attitude, Chris's mom was the no nonsense, matriarch and as Nicole Barnes on One on One, she was known for putting Flex in his place. Were these roles too stereotypical for our beloved Tichina? Did they place her in a box?
"You will always be placed in a box. There's not too many roles for us as African Americans, so we kind of got to take what comes our way. Any actor would love to have diversity, but I've turned down a lot of stuff."
It's like music to ones ears to know that not all black actors and actresses are just not being chosen for roles. Sometimes, they don't like what roles come their way. When you know you can bring an A-list performance to every role you play, you can be a little choosy like Tichina Arnold.
"I've been in show business since I was eight years old," she said. "It's taken good care of me so I have to take care of it. It would be a disservice for me to just put crap out there. I represent children and middle-aged black women, so I'm very careful about every role I choose."
Speaking of roles, after playing a very prominent lead role in the Lena Baker story, which went straight to DVD in 2008, Tichina knows about playing passionate roles that has substance. The story was based on the true story of the first black woman to be sent to the electric chair in Georgia for killing her employer who forced her into sexual slavery.
What's next for this well-rounded, mother of one?
"I'm on the national advisory board for the PTA (Parent Teacher's Association) and we're starting to show initiative where we challenge men, whether or not they are father's, to give three hours of service to the PTA so they can mentor our boys. When you see PTA you never get the dad, you always get the mom, so we're trying to show that it's an investment in your children's future."
After seeing her little one walk the runway in Philly Fashion Week's finale show, you can see the joy on her face and you know that being a mother comes first for her.
"Being a mom has changed my life in every aspect. You no longer live for yourself and there's no room for error. It's a very rewarding job."
Philadelphia Fashion Week brought Tichina Arnold out as their surprise celebrity guest and she rocked a classic, black dress by English Clientele.
"I had a really good time. My favorites were English Clientele and Clarenz Couture Collection. You never see men's suits so I liked his stuff."
When asked would she like to see a Martin reunion, she mentions that there was talk of doing a Martin movie, but it just kind of fell by the way side.
"That would be totally fun to have a Martin reunion."
And if she wasn't an actress...
"I'd probably be somewhere bossing somebody around," she says with a laugh.
And I think we all can say she would do a great job of it...