A Conversation With Angela Robinson From OWN’s #1 Rated Series, “THE HAVES AND THE HAVE NOTS”
Moni Pearson jumped on the line with a woman the fans love to hate. She is dubbed as the “Ice Queen of PrimeTime TV” – the talented and hard-working Ms. Angela Robinson who plays the infamous Veronica Harrington on Tyler Perry’s “The Haves and Have Nots” on the OWN Network.
DCL: Ms. Robinson, it’s a true pleasure to speak with you ma’am, how are you?!
AR: I’m great, it’s great to be spoken to.
“The Haves and the Have Nots” returned to the OWN Network on January 7th of 2020 for its SEVENTH SEASON! Tuesday evenings!!! That is so amazing I remember when you guys first came on!!! I remember watching an interview you did with Extra saying if you watch the first 3 episodes, you’re hooked and that was definitely a true statement.
My mom told me to tell you she’s been a fan ever since your debut on the show in 2013. My family watches this show! My daughters actually watch too. Not just saying that; your contribution to this show has been amazing!!! Veronica is something else LOL.
DCL: For the people who haven’t watched the show, what would you tell them about it and your character as Veronica?
AR: Well if you’ve never watched the show, I would say watch 3 times and you’re hooked! It’s a show for everybody. There’s something for everybody on this show – all races, all genders, economic backgrounds. It WILL hook you. My character Veronica, I have spent 5 seasons trying to explain to people she’s not crazy. After the 5th season I was kind of convinced that maybe, she’s crazy (LOL)
DCL: (LOL) She’s a little crazy, just a touch.
AR: (LOL) I think she’s just complicated! She’s complex, you know. She’s got a lot of stuff that maybe hasn’t been shown on the show yet but she’s a self-made woman and I think there’s a flip side to every person. When you’re somebody that can pull yourself up out of being totally poor and you’re one of the best lawyers in the world and you become a millionaire because you opened rehab facilities, I think when you’re that brilliant it comes with a level of complexity that may make you crazy.
DCL: Very true! She’s a tough cookie there!
And I remember you referring to her as new money compared to the Cryers (check spelling) which is old money so I feel you on that!
How do you feel about the interactions you have w/ your audience critics? What is your mindset about how the audience reacts to Veronica and do you have any stories about disgruntled fans?
AR: I’ve had people tell me how much they hate me, I have had this one lady come up to me and hit me in the back and tell me, “You need to get it together!” I was told what a good man David was and how I was treating him so bad. “That’s a good man! You gonna be by yourself!” So I get it, I was a soap fan, I used to love Young and the Restless so I understand. It makes me feel like I’m doing my job.
DCL: You definitely do! You communicate Veronica in a way that seems so signature and bring an energy to that character that is just very admirable from an artistic perspective.
AR: Thank you so much.
DCL: Yeah so to piggyback off of what you just mentioned about soaps like Dynasty or Young and the Restless. What do you feel “The Haves and Have Nots” provide to the big screen in the era of reality TV?
AR: Absolutely. At first, it was really hard to convince people that it wasn’t real. People would come up to me on the street and say “Girl, you bad!” (LOL) and I would have to constantly remind them that she IS bad, she really is, but that’s not me. I think because reality TV is so huge now, it was easy for people to think that oh, it’s another reality show. We are actually playing characters and it’s actually a written, scripted drama. I feel like by the 4th season, everyone was on board with the fact that it IS a scripted drama. Also just to see Black people in all ways. A lot of times our shows don’t vary us. We are not just one thing. We’re not just straight people, we’re not just poor people, working class. We are rich, gay, colorful, fun, stuck up, we are all kinds and I think Tyler has done a really good job of capturing all of who we are, also church people. Hannah plays the “church” lady and he has given her a lot of different colors that show us not all “churchgoers” will act the same. It’s been really great to see us varied in all the many different colors that we are and it’s hard sometimes for us to see ourselves that way ’cause a lot of people write in when they see Hannah doing something like “Oh, no, she’s supposed to be acting like this!” and I’m like, “c’mon now, you know you have an auntie or something you can relate to!” (LOL)
DCL: How have you felt about Veronica’s character? Can you relate at all to her mentality or motivations?
AR: I think at the core, although it’s warped, all of her crazy is because she loves her son and her husband. Her controlling manner cannot allow them to be who they are. But she loves them, and she’s not going to let them love nobody else but her! There’s nobody on the show she loves more than David and Jeffery. It just comes across because she hates them cause she wants to have them killed and etc. She’s very angry.
DCL: What do you like about her character and what do you enjoy the most about playing her? (Trying to see your reaction on this question lol)
I enjoy that it’s a character that I will literally be able to put on. There are some characters we play that are very close to who we are that we don’t necessarily have to do the work, we just have to show up and say the lines. And for a character like Veronica, I got to do the work. I went to acting school and actually got to do the work that I was trained to do which was to create a character and so I get to live that character every week and when every day we filmed. It’s really been the most fulfilling work I’ve done in a long time because a lot of times I do get casted in roles that are similar to me. This one with the exception of a good high heel we’re not really alike.
Well if you’ve never watched the show, I would say watch 3 times and you’re hooked!
DCL: You mentioned that Tyler Perry is usually present for the filming you perform and I heard you say it was like Acting Boot camp. What is it like to be on set with Mr. Perry, does it feel like a lot of extra pressure to execute a scene with him watching? Does it heighten your performance level as Veronica?
AR: No, I would do it the same way if no one was there, that’s just my work ethic. He’s there for every scene because he directs every scene. So he’s there. What makes it great is that in the world of television and film, if you want anything done – if you want a new pair of shoes, if you want your dress to be a little shorter or your hair different or changing a line, you have to go through so much red tape to get to the person that can approve that. With Tyler on set every day, you can just go ask Tyler! He’s the President, the creator, the director, the writer (LOL). You don’t have to put in a request, you can just ask Tyler, “is it okay if I don’t say it like this, can I say it like that and the buck stops with him so having him there just makes your creative process a whole lot better.
DCL: You played the infamous Shug Avery for a Broadway version of The Color Purple, and I don’t think a lot of your fans know you can sing! Which medium do you appreciate the most between theatre and on set film production?
AR: I love them both, but Theatre will always be my first love. There’s nothing like that immediate gratification of seeing that audience out there and feeling their presence. I love television though, I love them both.
DCL: I read an article by Rolling Out Magazine where you talk about how important it is for the arts to be taken seriously. Can you tell me your stance on this and being an advocate for people who want to invest in their craft as an artist?
AR: I find a lot of parents wanna talk their kids out of wanting to be an artist. To be an artist is a high calling. Being an artist can look like many things. It’s being a chef, a tailor, a makeup artist, hairstylist. Artistry is creating and when you’re creating something, you’re actually doing the same thing God did, he created us. He created us to be creators. To not respect that or to decide that you won’t go to a class just because you have natural talent. I think that’s great if you have natural talent. The Prima Ballerina who has natural talent is not going to get in the NY Ballet company with her natural talent. She has to study. You’re not going to play with the Symphony Orchestra with your natural talent, you have to study. I think with acting sometimes (especially) I think we often think it’s important to study. We feel like we’re “cute” so I think with all of it, we have to respect it enough – like the doctors, lawyers, and ballerinas to study it. Make sure you know your craft. It’s serious to be an artist. It’s serious to be a creator but we have so much responsibility because how many of us are literally moved to tears by a song or uplifted by a TV show. That’s how powerful art is. So to be doing it for a living ain’t no joke so Mama and Daddy if your daughter comes to say that’s what they want to be, nurture that and know they are doing something very special for the world.
DCL: Thank you so much for that gem!
Do you have any spoilers or things to tell the viewers to expect from this season I know the first episode has already run but do you have any words to leave us with about the show?
AR: Every week is going to be nail-biting so y’all just get ready. You’re going to be mad! You think you don’t like Veronica now, you’re really not going to like her. The great thing is (however) a lot of characters evolve and I think that we’ve been on 7 seasons and I think the fans have wanted certain storylines to evolve. Hannah and Candace are now friends. They’re talking and they have really have a good mother/daughter relationship. I think they’ve been wanting that and they’re going to get that. A lot of the characters evolve and grow up and get a backbone and all the things that the fans have been wanting. And those who don’t, the fans are still going to be just as upset with them. But it’s going to be a rollercoaster season.
DCL: Well, we can’t wait to see how it unfolds! Ms. Robinson, it’s been an absolute pleasure speaking with you.
“The Haves and the Have Nots” is OWN’s #1 rated series and is the #1 original cable series among African- American Women 18+ and total viewers. It is also 2019’s number five original scripted series on ad-supported cable in OWN’s key demo of Women 25-54. The series averaged a 1.75 rating with 2,228,000 total viewers. Season 7 of the show began on January 7th, 2020.