Rutina Wesley talks ‘True Blood’ and Black Hollywood


    As season 3 of “True Blood” ended, Rutina Wesley’s character, Tara, was seen driving away from the vampire-infested town of Bon Temps.

    Fans will be happy to hear of Tara’s return, but Rutina told Sister 2 Sister not to expect the same old Tara. This season she’s new and improved.


    Tracy: What can we expect from Tara in season 4?
    Rutina: You’re gonna find out where Tara went to and what she’s been up to. She’s a lot more grounded, but that’s not going to last for long. She’s gonna get swept back up into the world of vampires in Bon Temps.

    Tracy: Will she be in the premiere, or will we have to wait a few episodes to find out where she’s been?
    Rutina: She’ll be in the premiere.

    Tracy: Will Tara find love this season?
    Rutina: That’s the million-dollar question. I’ll say this: She had some time to learn to love herself. If she was to find love, she’s finally able to love someone back because she can love herself. She’s a lot more stable and a lot more Zen and can allow herself to open up to someone else now.

    Tracy: Well, how is that for you after playing an unstable Tara for so long?
    Rutina: It’s nice for me. Everything [the writers have] given me so far has been a challenge. It’s nice to be stable. You’re also going to get a little bit of season 1 Tara. The sassiness is back. I’m glad to not see her be the victim and not suffering. She’ll be happy for a little bit.

    Was it your decision to get rid of Tara’s braids?
    Rutina: It was sort of a mutual decision. I was thinking about changing my hair and they were thinking about my character going through this cathartic moment. It made sense to change her hair. I miss the braids because braids are more easy. People are going to look at my character in a different way with this look. It shows that she’s been through something and comes back almost as a different person.

    What’s been your favorite storyline so far?
    Rutina: I love all the Tara and Sam stuff. I secretly think they belong together.

    How would you respond to critics who accuse Tara of having Angry Black Woman (ABW) syndrome?
    Rutina: That I don’t really understand. I feel like, honestly, Tara hasn’t been the ABW the whole time. She’s had a lot of vulnerable moments. I try to give her a lot of layers and texture. The problem with that is that we’re also living in a fantasy world. When you’re faced with those situations, if those things [vampires, werewolves, witches] were real, you’d be a little crazy, too. I know people who grew up with parents who were like Tara’s mother. All of those defenses are earned. She’s a young girl looking for love and validation. Underneath those defenses are her own insecurities.

    Tracy: How do you feel about the industry right now and the roles available for Black women?
    Rutina: The pickings are slim, and that makes it really hard for us as Black women, and in general. It’s tough for us. We ultimately get really competitive ’cause it’s only two parts, and we’re all competing for those two parts. However, whoever gets that role, that person needs our support. We don’t have any shows like “Living Single” or “The Cosby Show.” I hope that people with more pull would start to produce some things and put their voice out there and get some more positive shows out there. We need more stuff like that for the younger generation who needs to have positive TV to watch. When I saw Angela Bassett and Viola Davis, they looked like me, and I knew I could do that one day. It inspired me as a young person.

    Tracy: How are you able to stay out of the Hollywood spotlight?
    Rutina: I’m still amazed by all the celebrity stuff. I’m not Halle Berry; I’m just Rutina. Yes, I’m on a show, and it’s doing well, but I can never let any of that go to my head. It’s so easy to become jaded and start to think that you’re better than somebody else. My grandmother raised me to be very humble. It can all be taken away from you so easily. You have to appreciate it while you got it. You never know when it’s going to end. I’m just enjoying my time.

    Tracy: What’s something your fans might be surprised to know about you?
    Rutina: I do love karaoke. I’m a big musical theater buff. I love, love, karaoke. I like, live for karaoke. I sing the cheesiest songs. I love to dance, too, but karaoke is my big thing. I’d love to have a karaoke episode. I think that’d be fun. It would totally be a surprise, too.

    What else do you want your fans to know?
    Rutina: I think it may be our greatest season yet. I hope people enjoy it.


    —Tracy L. Scott


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