In that similar vein, as it’s always been — at least as long as I can remember — the African-American soap audience. My mom, grandma, aunts, all watch “their stories”, it’s just a focal point of the culture. Unfortunately, we’ve lost a lot of those beloved African-American characters.
But I feel like on DAYS, the group that we have especially right now has been really strong. It’s gotten a lot of people excited and talking about it again. But there was this gap where we didn’t see Eli, Lani and others for a long time. Are we going to be seeing you all back on our screens regularly again?
Yeah, I do agree there was a pretty large gap where Eli and a large part of the African-American cast — or not a large part, pretty much all — of them were gone. But that will pretty much change. Basically, what’s airing now to what I’m shooting now, I’ve been pretty busy!
It seems like it.
The fans will definitely see a lot more Eli, for sure.
You guys really formed an awesome family unit! We’re not questioning that Lani is Abe’s daughter, and Abe and Valerie are dating or anything.
It kind of brings a lot of people back to Y&R when we had Drucilla and Neil, Abe and Lexie on DAYS. They were huge parts of the shows. We definitely want to see them around more. Is there anything you can tease that’s coming up?
Anything that’s coming up that I can tease?
I’m not gonna get you in trouble!
[Laughs] I think the fans can look forward to Sheila.
I love her.
[Laughs] Yeah! More Sheila and Eli, and the trouble that will cause between Eli and Sheila, Eli and Lani, Lani and Sheila. Pretty much that whole group! Sheila will be starting a lot of trouble.
She’s definitely a fire starter.
[Laughs] For sure! She’ll definitely be the one to light the flames under the asses of all the people we were just talking about. So, they can look forward to that!
That I am definitely looking forward to! One last thing on that subject. How important is it for you to be out there as an African-American actor, playing an African-American character on a traditionally white show? Do you ever feel that responsibility?
I think it’s very important. I think it’s important on any show. Daytime, night time, movies, whatever. It’s important that there’s diversity in the cast and you know, I’ve taken it upon myself as much as I can being that Eli is a detective. He’s an educated black man. I’ve kind of taken it upon myself to show a little more… blackness from him, if I can say.
Oh yeah, of course.
I don’t want people to look at this brother on TV and have him — I’m trying to be politically correct here.
[Laughs] No worries, I’m understanding!
I want people to look at an educated black man who has his life in order and still see a black man. You feel me?
Yeah, I feel like Eli is authentically black. It doesn’t feel like a caricature or watered down or in between. He feels like people I grew up with.
Exactly, exactly. I think you’ll see more of that. When I came on the show, I was learning the character. Figuring out what’s good and not good. But I think as time goes on, fans will see a little more brotha out of Eli. I try to purposely blend that in.
I love that. It’s funny you say that because on our podcast, we talk about Valerie a lot and we’ve said that Valerie feels like the blackest woman that we’ve had on DAYS ever. You know what I mean? She feels like every black mom. It’s so realistic, and hearing you say you’re bringing that to Eli is awesome. That’s what we need.
Yeah. I try to do things that I wanna see. If I were a viewer, things that I would wanna see. Me personally, I would wanna see Eli be much more different than all the other characters. I mean that in many different ways too, culturally and so forth. I’ve tried to make some small changes where I can. But you know, of course I can’t go too crazy. It’s still daytime TV!