In the coming days, indie comedy People Places Things (above) will open in select theaters. The film stars two leading comedic actresses, Jessica Williams (The Daily Show) and Regina Hall. In the comedy we follow the life of a middle-aged man who deals with love and the pressures of marriage. Regina plays the mans new love interest, while Jessica plays Regina’s daughter. In a new interview with VICE, Jessica shares how roles like these are rare for black actresses because the didn’t entirely focus on race.
VICE: It was really refreshing to see you and Regina Hall take on characters that aren’t defined by the usual stereotypes attached to black women in mainstream films. Can you talk about how this might’ve contributed to your wanting to be part of the film?
JW: Oh, yeah, it definitely did. There aren’t, at the moment, many characters for black women that don’t involve them being—black, like it’s not specifically about them being black. Of course race is so complicated and it’s naturally a part of me, but I don’t walk around always talking about it. It’s not like something that rules my entire being, even though it’s very much a part of it. And what I liked about Kat, the character that I play in the film, is that it’s kind of the same thing, where she is black, but she doesn’t ever mention it, they don’t talk about it, it doesn’t come up, it’s just the fact that it’s her. That was really, really exciting to see. Those parts are one in a billion for black women in the industry, so it was really, really fun to do. Even with Regina Hall and Jemaine, the story wasn’t about how they are an interracial couple. It was just that they’re interracial and it’s fine.