What do you miss most about playing Kima?
That's a really good question. The first thing that comes to
mind is just having a job with a group of people that you feel incredibly bound
to on a deep soul level. To be a part of a project that you feel is bigger than
you and your little career. To be a part of a project that makes you as an
actor, and your work, and your career, feel small. To have a job that fulfills
me in a way that's healthy. That's the reason why I'm an actor, is for a bigger
reason. That's kind of the biggest thing I missed. There were so many stories
that were always being told [on the show]. You wouldn't say that Kima's
storyline was one of the premiere storylines like Omar or Stringer. Kima was
sort of the heart (of the show). David (Simon) once said to me that she was the
moral compass of the police department. I feel that in a sense she served as
the moral compass of the show. If there's something I miss about playing Kima,
it's I miss playing a character who had principles, yet still had conflicts
within her, within her whole relationship within the police department.
What was it about her that intrigued you?
It was a character that I was allowed to actually touch the
many factors of her life. Oftentimes in TV, your character serves a storyline
and there's only sort of so much room to dive into the deeper aspects of that
character. You play what serves the larger story, but you don't play the full
truth and totality of the character. I had the opportunity to do that with
If you could play any character other than Kima on The
Wire who would you play?
I want to pick an unusual answer to be honest with you. Omar
and Stringer are the easy answers. I mean I love Stringer's arc and Omar's
story arc, but to me, the most unsung and the most fascinating character in the
show was Brother Mouzone. He's the most mysterious character. His storyline to
me was very, very unique. He had a perspective that I wish had been sort of
mined a little more deeply.
NEWS: Karla Souza on 'HTGAWM': 'Laurel Wasn't Supposed to Be Latin'
It seems that Hollywood is moving forward in terms of
diversity. At the same time, there are moments when they are taking huge steps
back. What do you think is the current state of diversity in Hollywood?
I think it's come a long way as a result of Empire,How to Get Away With Murder, and Scandal. The queen of diversity,
Miss Shonda Rhimes -- she changed the game for African Americans, you know what
I mean? I think that the rising population of Latinos in America is changing
the game a bit. And I think Asians are sort of the last ones on board. There
are also Native Americans -- but we don't even see their stories. Given that,
there's a lot more room for growth in terms of diversity but I would be hard
pressed to not say that for African Americans there's a light. There's definitely
been some improvement, but there needs to be a lot more so that African
Americans also don't have to tell simply African Americans stories and
experiences. I think that it would be nice to see more African Americans in
shows that are predominantly white.
I'm a mixed race person. Rarely, if ever, will I get a
chance to play a mixed race person because of my skin color. I will have to
play black. I'd like to see more sort of mixed race roles, where the fact that
they are mixed race is woven into the character. We've come a long way, but we
have a long way to go.
The Wire: The Complete Series is now available on Blu-ray and is streaming in full on HBO Now.