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January 2006
STOMP THE YARD
An Interview with Chris Brown



STOMP THE YARD
An Interview with Chris Brown
By Wilson Morales

January 8, 2007


When it comes to being gifted and talented, you can count among R & B singer Chris Brown being named in that company. Not even 18 yet, Brown, last year alone, won the Best New artist at the 2006 NAACP Awards, Best New Artist at the 2006 Sout Train, and Best New R & B/ Soul Artist at the 2006 BET Awards. People have compared him to Usher because not only can he sing but he can dance and do it very well. In his film debut, “Stomp The Yard”, Brown gets to show how good he can dance as he plays Duron, the brother to Columbus Short’s character. The film explores "stepping," the age-old style of dance traditionally done in African-American Fraternities, where teams demonstrate complex moves and create rhythmic sounds by using their bodies. In speaking to blackfilm.com, Brown goes over his role on-screen, getting into the film business, and his Grammy nomination.



You seem like a natural on screen.

Chris Brown: Thank you! I was waiting for everyone to respond “ Aw he can’t act he can’t act”


Have you gotten any response from the OC?

CB: Actually the people who are around and they called me and they said, “Chris you did a really good job.” And I actually saw it last night. I missed it when it aired because I was on a plane and I think personally, I did a great job with this being my first time acting on a big TV show.


How much longer are you on the O.C.?

CB: I’ve got two more episodes. I was going to do the whole season, but with my schedule – I’m doing a new movie and a new album and I just don’t have the time.


Plus the show was just cancelled.

CB: [laughs] Yeah the show was canecelled. And its not my fault.


What’s this movie you’re doing?

CB: It’s called “This Christmas” actually Colubus Short is in as well as Nia long, Lauren London, regina King, Loretta Devine. Everyone under the sun is in it. It’s going to be a great great movie.


What role do you play?

CB: I play “Baby”. Everyone is the star of the movie. It doesn’t just focus on one character. My character sneaks off – I’m 17 18 years old but I got a lot of girls and I ride a motorcycle and stuff – it’s just this young rebel teenager. It’s a comedy. I’m not dancing, but I am singing.


Singing, Acting Dancing – Rank them

CB: Singing 100; dancing 100; acting 99. I would say that because I’m just getting into acting and I’m just starting to love it. I can’t compare it to singing and acting. Those are my passions. If I’m not singing, I’m dancing. If, I’m not dancing, I’m singing.


Being a role model – my 8 year old cousin wants to be you. How are you handling the weight of that.

CB: Just trying to stay positive and not getting sidetracked. It’s easy to get sidetracked especially with girls. I mean I get sidetracked sometimes – of course, but I mean just focusing on what’s at hand.and what not to do to not let people down. I don’t want to let anyone down. You said 8 years old, I have a wide range of fans from 3 years old to like 40. It’s great to know that I have people like that who look up to me. It means that I have a bigger job and I bigger calling that god has sent me on, so I know what to do.


Did you know that when you got this part you wanted to continue on acting?

CB: When I got the call, I was on tour and stuff, so I only had two days of rehearsal for the dancing and maybe 1 day of rehearsal for the lines. So that was cool, but I was already focused on acting and I was like “I’m ready to do whatever movies ya’ll got for me.” But not knowing that you can act or that you try to act – it’s not like people say its like – that rappers and singers get the roles easy because of who they are. Yes you get roles because of your status, but at the same time you have to prove to the director or the producer that you can do it otherwise you won’t get the part. If you can’t pull it off, they are not going to be able to use you. It’s still a test for even the top actors, you know what I’m saying?


How are you preparing yourself as an actor?

CB: Preparing myself definitely? For the movie I just went raw talent – well at least I hope it’s raw talent. I just went out there and I remembered the lines and I took the character into my own hands and I was like, “Okay this is how we do it… I got a brother and I have to interact with him.” Now? I can see that you can always better yourself by doing something like practicing and getting an acting coach and stuff like that. But as far as this new movie “this Christmas” this is also a movie that I haven’t had any acting training with. During filming, I’ll probably get an acting coach to come on to the set and practice with me before the scenes so I can get the whole feeling of my character Baby. It’s gonna be all good.


Did you stay on set and watch some of the college scenes being filmed?

CB: I actually looked at some of them.


Did it inspire you at all? Is it something you think you might want to do?

CB: To join a fraternity? I already know my schedule so I know where my mind is going to be at so I already know that I can’t go to a college campus and join a fraternity. But at the same time. I can do college courses. It h ink watching it will inspire the youth. I’m a 12th grader you I know. So everybody from middle school to the 12th grade – they all have the ambition to go to college. But kids today are bored in the class, they can now focus on something other than just their school. They can go to college and do their school work and do great but at the same time do something else that is going to interest them and at the same time be positive.


Were you disappointed that you didn’t get to Step?

CB: I was a little bit. But at the same time, I’m going let them have that- let them do their thing. Because I love the fact that their aren’t a whole lot of number 1 star actors in the movie. There is something that is for all of us. Ne-yo, Columbus Scott, Megan Good – everyone one of us has an important role in the movie. So I didn’t want to be like “ I don’t want the role of Duron” and just be a Stepper. I could see that I can dance, I showed them that in the beginning.


You said you are a 12th grader. Are you actually going to regular school or are you taking courses over the internet.

CB: I wish I could. I actually take online course. I go to an online school. I was actually doing school work before I came down here to talk with you. I do school and stuff like that and maintain my grades. Which goes back to that other thing, I try to do all that I can to be a role model, you know showing kids that it is cool to get an education.


How do you stay focused in all of this?

CB: Look I don’t even know. Seriously. The number one thing that takes my focus away is girls. I’m going to be honest. If I see a room full of girls, I’m not going to be able to focus on what they want me to do. I’m gonna go in that room, “Hey, how y’all doin?” an we’re just chillin’. But it’s kinda different for me because Being young, you know in the back of your head what’s’ wrong and what’s right and sometimes you get led to the wrong. But you still know what to do and you come back and say , “okay this what I need to do.” And being focused is not hard when you love something. When I’m focused on music, I’m writing, I’m in the studio, I’m singing. I’m trying to do anything I can do. With acting. I’m studying lines o or I’m trying to get the next role. Whatever it is. And when it comes to dancing, I’m just dancing all the time. You might see me dancing at the airport- anywhere.


Your Grammy nominations – has it sunk in yet??

CB: Yeah yeah. You know I just found out that I’m performing on the Grammys.
It’s incrediable and I’m going to let you know right now it’s going be one of the hottest performances. We’re gonna do old school – we’re gonna do “Run it” but we are going to put it to the Stomp the Yard idea. We’re gonna put forth that effort 100% to go hard and really show y’all a different side everything you’ve seen be it on the BET awards or Vibe or any other performance I’ve done like on the Soul Train awards. It’s going to be different this time so y’all can see my growth.


Are you going to bring up some of the Steppers?

CB: Yeah we’re going to have a quick little break were we break it down.


Who is your main inspiration in terms of your dancing and were you influenced at all by James Brown?

CB: James Brown was definitely one of the influences because Michael Jackson was influenced by James Brown. Michael Jackson would be my creator because without him, I wouldn’t be dancing and singing because when I was 2 years old I was watching everything. I had all of the routines down and everything and I was like “That’s who I want to be like.” And when I got my chance to do it I went for it. I still portray myself and have my own style, but at the same time, I was influenced by him. And of course James Brown paved the way first.


How do you stay focused when you have girls screaming for you and the age group you are dealing with; you have their moms screaming too?

CB: That’s what drives me in the show whether it’s the Scream Tour or the Up Close and Personal Tour – any tour that I’m on- radio shows and stuff. That’s what I love. I love attention. I just go out there and jump on stage and if I see a gang of girls? That makes me just dance even more. It’s like when you’re in the mall with your Boys and you try to be flyer than all of them so you can get a girl. Or you’re at a basketball game and ou see the cheerleader or the girls in the bleachers- you’re gonna try to show off just a little bit. So when I’m on stage, that’s what makes me show off a little bit more. Just do my dances a little bit harder and go after it a little bit harder.


How do you stay out of trouble?

CB: Stay out of trouble? Sometimes you can get into trouble, but at the same time, you can be smart about it. You just have to have the right team around you to make sure you go the right path and that you are straying away from what you were put here to do.


How involved is your mom with your business?

CB: My mom traveled with me for the first two years because when I first came out with “Running” a lot of people thought I was 16 because I said it in the record but when “Running” came out, I was 15, so by the time May 5 hit around I turned 16, so the record was already number one, so everybody was like, “He’s been 16 for 2 years”. My mom was around for a minute, putting the regulations down. Now that I’m about to be 18 and I’m getting more mature, she’s letting me be a man and make mistakes, but I don’t think I wont make any mistakes.


How do you want the next album to be?

CB: I want to be “Thriller”. I want to be honest with you. I think my first album was like “Off the Wall” but like “My Way”, Usher’s album. Not to compare albums, but it was a good first album, especially being young and capturing everyone’s attention. The next album is supposed to hit them in the mouth.

When will it come out?

CB: I want to schedule it around May 5th, my birthday, but we have so many producers to work with. I only work with Eric Hutch and The Underdogs. I wrote a lot of songs with them. I have will.i.am, Kanye West, Swizz Beatz, Pharell, Scott Storch, Andre (Lyon) and Bryan Cox. I have so many producers to work with, that’s why I want it to be a Thriller album. I want all the songs to be a hit, not just one or three songs.


Have you met Michael Jackson before?

CB: Yes. I met him in London at the World Music Awards. I performed “Thriller” for him. When I met him, I was trying to keep my manly composure, but I was like, “Dude, I love you, man!” It was an honor to meet someone who was an influence to my music. We talked about doing a record and I talked to my manager and his manager and we’re trying to see if we can put that together if not for his album, then for mine. That would be a dream for me.


How long have you known Ne-Yo?

CB: I’ve known Ne-Yo before he was signed. When my manager signed him to Def Jam and then she became my manager and she was about to sign me to Def Jam. He’s down to earth. A lot of people didn’t know he could dance, but I already knew he could dance and I told him he has show more folks he could dance. When they see the movie, they will see that and that he got flips in him and he could do everything. He did an incredible job in this movie. We really did act in this movie.


STOMP THE YARD opens on January 12, 2007

 


 

 

 

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