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 Windy City Times 2021-12-08
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

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 3960 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 3960 times since Tue Sep 1, 2020
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Billy Masters: Colton Underwood, Golden Globes and more 2022-01-17
- "I was not prepared to receive death threats over a fictional character's fictional relationship choices that are fictional which means not real."—A writer on the Sex and the City sequel And Just Like That describes feedback ...


Gay News

NBJC celebrates Mj Rodriguez on Golden Globes win 2022-01-11
—From a press release - The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) congratulates Michaela Jae "Mj" Rodriguez on earning the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a TV Drama during the 2022 Golden Globe Awards. Rodriguez won for her role as Blanca ...


Gay News

VIEWS Hoarders 2022-01-10
- One TV program that I alternately love and hate is Hoarders. The producers send a team of psychologists, organizers and laborers into a person's home and they all work (and argue) about cleaning the place up ...


Gay News

Billy Masters: Andy Cohen, SJP and more 2022-01-10
- The virus hit us both like a freight train. Thankfully, we were both triple vaccinated and the vaccinations did their job, which kept us out of real danger and out of the hospital… [We're] still isolating and waiting to see until we test ...


Gay News

Trans actress Rodriguez makes history at quiet Golden Globes 2022-01-10
- On Jan. 9, Michaela Jae "Mj" Rodriguez won a Golden Globe for best actress in a TV drama for her role as Blanca on the FX show Pose, according to media reports. The awards were announced on social media, as the Globes were not broadcast or live-streamed ...


Gay News

Jason Lee talks Kevin Hart, Jussie Smollett and 'Hollywood Unlocked' 2022-01-09
- In just a few years, LGBTQ+ media personality Jason Lee's star has shone brightly in Hollywood. In 2015, Lee started appearing on the reality show Love & Hip Hop: Hollywood as well as the MTV improv ...


Gay News

Transgender 'Jeopardy!' contestant passes $1-million mark 2022-01-08
- Transgender Jeopardy! contestant Amy Schneider passed the $1-million mark on an episode that aired Jan. 7, becoming the first woman (cis or trans) to do so, The New York Times noted. Schneider—who's from Oakland, California—marked he ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ JoJo Siwa, Jeopardy! champ, director dies, Frank Ocean 2022-01-02
- TikTok fans of LGBTQ entertainer Jojo Siwa said her new teenage girlfriend, Katie Mills, is a supporter of anti-LGBTQ Republican former President Donald Trump, per LGBTQ Nation. Mills also once questioned if transgender women are "actually" ...


Gay News

Beloved icon Betty White dies at 99 2021-12-31
- Betty White—a beloved TV icon whose career spanned decades—has died at age 99. White was born in Oak Park, Illinois, on Jan. 17, 1922. "Even though Betty was about to be 100, I thought she would ...


Gay News

'Real Housewife' Julia Lemigova talks about Miami Housewives, miniature cattle 2021-12-24
- The Real Housewives of Miami finally has an out and proud member of the LGBTQ+ in the main cast with Julia Lemigova. (She's the franchise's second such cast member, following The Real Housewives of Orange County's ...


Gay News

Report: Kim Foxx's office showed 'major failure' in handling Smollett matter 2021-12-21
- A 59-page report from special prosecutor Dan Webb concluded that Cook County prosecutors, including State's Attorney Kim Foxx, repeatedly went out of bounds in their handling of the Jussie Smollett case—and then repeatedly misled the public ...


Gay News

MOVIES/TV Former Bryan Singer assistant details alleged abuse 2021-12-21
- In a first-person account in Variety entitled "My Traumatizing Years with Bryan Singer," Blake Stuerman, 30, detailed his what he said were his experiences over his four years with out filmmaker Bryan Singer (The Usual Suspects; ...


Gay News

Judge orders release of report on handling of Smollett case 2021-12-20
- On Dec. 20, Cook County Judge Michael Toomin authorized the release of a report exploring the way Cook County prosecutors and Chicago police handled the Jussie Smollett matter, The Chicago Tribune reported. The move came after ...


Gay News

Billy Masters: Rex Smith, 'West Side Story' and more 2021-12-20
- "It was pretty damn good!"—Rex Smith's response when Billy showed a risqué photo of Rex at his most beautiful and asked, "What was it like walking around looking like that?" I love when someone that gorgeous ...


Gay News

Actor, poet, arts activist Jerrie Johnson talks new Amazon show 'Harlem,' other work 2021-12-20
- Jerrie Johnson's mission to book a series regular role six months after finishing graduate school came to fruition when they (Johnson uses they/them pronouns) were cast as Tye, a lesbian dating app creator/CEO (who uses she/her ...


 



Copyright © 2022 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.