I feel like I've accomplished a lot, but for me, it's about pushing to the point where I can be Mark Walhberg, Ryan Murphy, or Shonda Rhimes. I want to be at that table in terms of bringing new voices in.
Wearing one hoop earring and playing with the androgyny - that's who I am. That's what I like to do. And I feel the world should see that. I'm not going to put a shield up or be more feminine to make people feel comfortable.
There's something specific about Chicagoans, and I just felt like I'd love to tell their story in a creative way. Not in a way to go, 'Oh, Chicago's perfect.' I don't believe that. I don't think that. I know we have our issues.
I've never been a person that has had fear of, like, 'Oh, I don't want to be the poster child for all black lesbian women.' I don't know. I want to be someone in the public eye that they can be proud of.
For me, it's about making art that's not good but phenomenal. James Baldwin didn't want to just stay above the fray. Prince didn't think, 'I wonder what the industry is gonna think about 'Purple Rain.'' It's just, is this honest? Is this real? Does this move me? The rest is icing.
I actually really liked 'The Help.' I know that may not be a popular thing, but I thought it was a solid film. It wasn't 'Roots.' It wasn't 'The Color Purple.' But you couldn't pick it apart in terms of storytelling, and I thought the characters were well written.
I definitely have been very mindful of what kind of leader and creator I want to be. A lot of that has to with looking at the writers that you work with. They're all like your children. They all need love, but different versions of it.
When you're not as accessible, you get in a tent and get in your own head, and you start doing things that are a little out of touch. I think we've seen it happen with certain artists... people can't touch them; they're not touching people. They're only touching people in their circle.
Talk to any black person in my age group, and they'll say 'A Different World' is why they went to college. The show literally changed my life, and it boggles my mind that it doesn't get the kind of love it deserves.
The truth is, for me, when I was a young black girl who knew I was different, was watching TV, I would always be staring at the TV set looking for myself, and I didn't see me. And when you don't see yourself, you start to think that you don't matter, or you start to think that something is wrong with you.