Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

NUNN ON ONE TV Nicco Annan makes it rain on 'P-Valley'
by Jerry Nunn, Windy City Times
2020-09-01

This article shared 3153 times since Tue Sep 1, 2020
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Onetime activist and Olivier Award-winning playwright Katori Hall wrote a play called Pussy Valley that has now evolved into the new Starz series P-Valley.

The story is set at Pynk, a popular strip club in Mississippi, that is ruled by non-binary bearded boss Uncle Clifford—who is played by openly gay actor Nicco Annan. Clifford and the women at the club battle racism, homophobia and misogyny while trying to make a dollar to survive.

Raised in Detroit, Annan went to school in New York and trained under Israel Hicks at SUNY Purchase College Conservatory of Theatre Arts. Shortly after, he became a choreographer at the Yale School of Drama. Annan has previously appeared on Shameless, This Is Us and Claws before landing his latest role on P-Valley.

Windy City Times: You are originally from Detroit?

Nicco Annan: Yes, I'm a NorthTown boy.

WCT: You studied musical theater growing up?

NA: I studied all things. I was a triple threat. I studied improv and theater at first, then when I was 17 I told my mom I wanted to be Leroy on Fame. Gene Anthony Ray was this Black man dancing around in short shorts, braided hair and doing high kicks. That was my inspiration to study dance, so I joined a small troupe.

I was told that I could never aim too high with my size and could not be a concert dancer with Alvin Ailey because the company was too big. I was told I could never sing in music videos because I would have to look like Al B. Sure!

The transformative moment for me was seeing a deaf dance company perform at my high school. I couldn't believe that, even though they couldn't hear the music, they could still perform. I decided even if I was a paraplegic that I could still tell a story. I went to school and as soon as I graduated I turned to musical theater. I didn't want to be just the singular, Black, gay boy in the chorus so I started choreographing. When one door closes I open another one.

WCT: And you have paid it back in sweat, just like in Fame! I wanted to be Coco from that show.

NA: We could have done a number together!

WCT: How did you land the role in P-Valley?

NA: Katori Hall had a writers group that she called Black Monday, because every Monday that is when the theaters are dark. She wanted to collaborate with other artists and writers on Mondays when they were available. A writer friend of mine introduced us because Katori was looking for an actor that could embrace femininity. I came over on a Black Monday. The script was only four pages at that time and we started a workshop to create Uncle Clifford in New York.

We did a full production of Pussy Valley in 2015 at the Mixed Blood Theatre in Minneapolis. That was the first and only live production of Pussy Valley. I had to audition for that and every step along the way was an audition. There were people behind the camera that had to green light the project.

There was always a misunderstanding of who Uncle Clifford was. Most people envisioned her more like RuPaul. People told me that they pictured Uncle Clifford to be light-skinned and very thin. Femininity equated to small for them. I always wanted to defy that.

I had to jump through many hoops, but I am grateful for that. It is the part that solidified who Uncle Clifford is for me. It allowed me to realize how small minded people are about the LGBT community. I was able to craft a way for the audience to come in and experience the persona of Uncle Clifford.

WCT: Talking about small, this is a small town. Are you worried about Clifford being beaten up?

NA: Let me ask you a question. Are you worried about that?

WCT: I feel Clifford would kick someone's ass if they tried.

NA: There you go! The homophobic and misogynistic energy is prevalent. When you are on the spectrum of the LGBT community, you learn how to deal with that misogyny or combat it in your own way. It is an individual fight and doesn't look the same for every person.

For Uncle Clifford, she—those are her pronouns: she/her—is audacious to walk out the front door while being her authentic self. I think that is what both attracts people and scares people. People don't typically cross her. They may say something to her, but then she will say something back. Our community has been defending themselves since they were little, so if you come after someone be prepared for a battle!

WCT: Are the costumes like armor? I loved those kinky boots you wore!

NA: [Laughs] Oh, you have to wear the boots! Something happened to me on set and it speaks to what humanity is. My show runner's children came to the set one day. The oldest son asked me why I had nails on. I explained I was playing pretend and that was my character. He asked if I had super powers like Wolverine. I said yes and he thought it was cool.

When I play Uncle Clifford, I am not thinking about having to armor myself, but my defiance to societal norms is the real fight. That is the protest right there, the miracle and the blessing all in one.

WCT: Does it take a long time to dress up for this role? I loved the red outfit in the third episode.

NA: We called that look "The Wind Done Gone!" It doesn't take that long to get ready. We were adamant about not using traditional drag makeup. The makeup just enhances Clifford's natural features. My beard is already there. The wigs are interchangeable. The costumes are just like another day in the office to me. I think it takes me about an hour to get ready overall.

The costumes are by Rita McGhee and I work closely with a hair and a makeup artist, all three are Black women. We just play together.

People like the pom-pom socks I wear on episode three, also. We don't have to spend a lot of money. Everyone wants to look great, even if they buy from the Dollar General!

WCT: Do you think about a red-carpet look you will have if you eventually win an Emmy?

NA: I believe the stories we are telling on P-Valley are noteworthy. The industry and audiences are realizing this is a whole world they didn't know about. It is kind of like how they react to Game of Thrones or The Handmaid's Tale.

If one of the golden ladies, or men, comes to me, then I will be more than happy to use that to amplify more stories about our community.

WCT: P-Valley was just approved for a second season. What would you like to see happen in season two?

NA: That is hard to say without you having seen the finale.

I would like to see how Uncle Clifford does with romance. I would like to see further development between Big L and Uncle Clifford. I think a relationship between a cis heterosexual Black man and a Black non-binary person with female pronouns is interesting.

I have more ideas, but let's talk after the finale.

WCT: You have played gay characters in the past. Talk about that.

NA: I just had a conversation with my mom about me playing straight characters in the past. I have played straight, but it's a new day where artists don't have to fit into the heterosexual normative in order to have their artistry recognized.

I have only played gay characters onscreen within the last year. I had played characters before that who were possibly gay, but I made choices as an actor and it was not in the script.

Being in the script as gay speaks to the expansion and visibility of the LGBT community, especially to the marginalized pockets of the community, whether that is trans or non-binary.

WCT: Do you have plans for more choreography?

NA: I am a choreographer on This Is Us and All American, so we shall see how that goes. I do have some ideas for a certain dance project as well as some biopics.

WCT: Hopefully, you can come visit Chicago soon.

NA: Listen: As soon as Miss Rona steps aside, we can all go out and shake a tail feather there, because I love Chi-town!

Dive into the Delta on Starz at 7 p.m. every Sunday until the season finale Sunday, Sept. 6.


This article shared 3153 times since Tue Sep 1, 2020
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Report: Here are the highest grossing LGBTQ+ actors on Netflix 2021-01-13
--From a Journalistic.org press release - Highest grossing LGBTQ+ actors on Netflix - Kristen Stewart comes in first, with a net worth of 70 million dollars - Bisexual women are the top earning members of the LGBTQ+ community - The TV industry ...


Gay News

Billy Masters 2021-01-11
- "Harry Styles is looking REALLY good. I'm into the fishnets. And we have very similar tastes. I think sharing a closet, sharing a life together, it just makes sense."—Miley Cyrus. I'd rather see Harry with Miley's ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Tales' star dies, 'Wonder Woman 1984,' holiday songs, 'Drag Race' 2021-01-05
- Marcus D'Amico—the original Michael "Mouse" Tolliver from the miniseries Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City—died at age 55, Queerty noted. In 1992, he also originated the role of Louis in the National Theatre's London run of ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Drag Race,' year-end honors, 'Guardians,' Taylor Swift 2020-12-21
- VH1 unveiled a game-changing twist from the upcoming season of the Emmy-winning RuPaul's Drag Race, premiering Friday, Jan. 1, at 8 p.m. ET/PT, a press release noted. For the first time in Drag Race "herstory," queens ...


Gay News

'Pose' star headlining virtual talent benefit Dec. 16 2020-12-16
- Dominique Jackson—an activist and co-star of the FX series Pose—is headlining the #REFUGEE RAINBOW EXTRAVAGANZA Talent Show "Still Here, Still Queer" on Wed., Dec. 16, 5-6 p.m. CT. ORAM (Organization for Refugee, Asylum and Migration) is ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Trans acting challenge, NYE parties, Charlize Theron, Diana Ross 2020-12-14
- Michael D. Cohen, with support from Nickelodeon, is launching the Trans Youth Acting Challenge, according to a press release. Trans and non-binary kids can submit audition self-tapes online (preferably through their parents), and the top 12 ...


Gay News

Local 'Cheer' star faces new charges 2020-12-11
- Naperville resident Jerry Harris, who starred on the reality show Cheer, was indicted on new charges Dec. 11 that alleged he coerced teenage boys to send him obscene photos and videos of themselves and solicited sex ...


Gay News

COVID-19 Ellen DeGeneres tests positive; talk-show production halted 2020-12-10
- Ellen DeGeneres has tested positive for COVID-19, and has stopped production on her talk show until January, according to media outlets such as Deadline and EW.com. "Hi Everyone, I want to let you all know that ...


Gay News

Newest competitors on 'RuPaul's Drag Race' revealed 2020-12-09
- VH1 revealed the cast for the 13th season of RuPaul's Drag Race, premiering Friday, Jan. 1, at 8 p.m. ET/PT. After winning six Emmy Awards this year and becoming the most awarded reality competition show in ...


Gay News

Big Fat Socially Distant Holiday Adventure Show defies depression 2020-12-02
--From a press release - CHICAGO, IL (December 1, 2020) — Experimenting with new forms of live, interactive performance, focused on creating space for conversations on loneliness, depression and anxiety, LevityTV presents the day-long stream-a-thon ...


Gay News

Actor formerly known as Ellen Page comes out as trans 2020-12-01
- Elliot Page has come out as transgender. The star of movies like Juno and TV shows like The Umbrella Academy, formerly known as Ellen Page, posted about his transition on social media on Dec. 1, according ...


Gay News

Laverne Cox 'in shock' but okay after transphobic attack 2020-11-30
- Transgender actress/activist Laverne Cox (Orange Is the New Black) said she was "definitely in shock" and "triggered" but okay after an anti-trans attack while walking with a friend in a Los Angeles park, USA Today reported. ...


Gay News

'The Prom' out Dec. 11 on Netflix 2020-11-27
- The Prom—a musical-comedy film directed by Ryan Murphy and adapted by Chad Beguelin and Bob Martin (from their and Matthew Sklar's 2018 Broadway musical of the same name)—will be out on Netflix on Dec. 11. The ...


Gay News

THEATER Harry Lennix to direct Dec. 13 reading of 'Mercy' 2020-11-20
- Northlight Theatre will present an Interplay New Play Development Program reading of Mercy, written by Felicia Oduh and directed by Harry Lennix (known for his acting roles on TV shows such as The Blacklist and Billions ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Wentworth Miller, Whitney, lesbian author, Mark Wahlberg 2020-11-16
- Out actor Wentworth Miller said he doesn't want to be involved in a new season of the TV show Prison Break if it happens, according to Deadline. On Instagram, he thanked fans for his support and ...


 



Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.