Looking for a way to turn up the heat this winter? Check out Vivica A. Fox’s new Lifetime show Vivica’s Black Magic, which airs Wednesday, January 4th at 10/9 Central. Vivica has wowed us for years with her movies and television performances and also her business savvy, beauty and style. Now she takes us along for the ride on her journey to find eight hot male strippers worthy to make the cut for her male exotic revue.
Interview by Stephanie Hodgson
What drew you to creating Vivica’s Black Magic?
This was kind of my brainchild because I had did Chocolate City with Jean-Claude La Marre, the director, and when we were doing it I was like listen, this is the gift that could keep on giving, you can do a sequel, you can do sequel after sequel after sequel with this, but more importantly you can do a tour, you could do a reality show. I mean the sky is just the limit with this. He said, “oh, really, think so?”, and I said absolutely, and he said, “okay, great, I want you to go pitch it. I was like—oh! Okay. So we got together with Propagate Howard Owens. When we were meeting with him he was also having a meeting with a gentleman from Lifetime and he said listen, stick around, let’s see if they’ll bite on this idea. We kind of came up with the whole concept and everything together. I pitched it to Howard and he was like I love it, let’s see what he says and they bought it! It was like the most fast track I have ever had of selling any television show. Lifetime bought it for eight episodes-like boom! In a couple of months we were filming.
What was it like with all the guys , on one hand I can see them building friendships and on the other hand I can see them being really competitive too, because they all want to stand out showing their talents. What was it like with the guys?
It was quite the journey. It was a lot tougher than I anticipated because we put eight alpha males together. I called them my elite eight, so putting eight alpha males together –baby, honey, that little skin was kind of thin sometimes! “What about me? I’m not in the front this time!” I had to turn into mama bear and was like, if you don’t sit down! And, “what about this—what about my clothing?” I knew the competitiveness would come out, you know what I mean? They were like I don’t know if the guys can be interesting. I said watch, honey, because I did Dancing with the Stars and the guy dancers were more devious than the females. I kind of took that knowledge of knowing what that was like and I knew this could work. Add a six pack and a smile—baby, yes! And some moves? Yes!
Is there anything that sticks out in your mind that was particularly funny that happened on set?
Oh wow! Well, you know, there were times that the guys, sometimes they would want to do things and I was like ya’ll, don’t forget we doing a TV show, we not up in the club. And then the finale show , when we got to do the showcase at the Plaza Hotel in Las Vegas, oh my God, I totally lost my voice that night. Because we did this thing where I was like we want to tempt the audience and let the ladies know how much we appreciate them. We passed out roses and baby let me tell you they was jumping on them boys backs! I was like get off of them! Stop it! What are ya’ll doing? I lost my voice and the next day I had to go host the Gospelfest! So I went from sin city to praise the Lord! In honor of Pastor Shirley Caesar I had to go back and had to loop it because I had lost a lot of my voice! By the end of the show it was dead, but it was a funny experience for me , like I always remember that –I had to go through three hours of looping to make up for me losing my voice from us having too much damn fun in sin city.
What do you want people to get from the show?
The main thing, the goal with the show, is to create the ultimate girl’s night out every Wednesday night. It’s going to be the winter time and the show comes out January 4th. We just want for everyone to be able to have fun. The diversity is missing when you go to see Chippendales and Thunder From Down Under and we’ve seen Magic Mike, there be that one little token black person –so we did Chocolate City. I was like our girls want to go out, they want to have fun, they have bachelorette parties, they have break up parties, they want to go have girl’s night out! So our goal was to create the ultimate girl’s night out where you could see diversity and mainly for African American women to be able to see their men look beautiful and to create a classy night out for them.
You have stayed relevant in the industry for many years. Any advice for those looking to come up in the industry?
Well, this is what I always say to generation X- they have next. And you have to make good choices. The choices that you make today can affect the rest of your journey, your future, and especially if you’re trying to get into show business. Know those two words—show business–the more that you can learn about the business behind the show, that is how you can be successful, don’t just be a pretty face that shows up and gets used and chewed up and spat out. Then you’re like damn, okay, I turned thirty and like damn, what do you got next? So I always say to them, learn to sing, act, dance, because you never know what will be required. And If you find yourself working, working, working so much, are you now getting into producing? Are you learning to be the name or the brand that’s behind the show? Looking at branding and seeing can you be more than just an actress? Can you start, as I did, a hair line? Can you start, as I did, a clothing line? Can you then write a book about your journey? Are you journaling everything? Are you remembering everything? Are you being a good business woman?
How do you balance being a smart and sexy woman older woman that is still relevant and hot in demand in the industry?
Make wise choices. An example, you realize like the reality thing that has been taking over, so I’m like how do I fit in here without feeling like I’m not going to be getting ready to get in here getting drunk and fighting and this, that and the third, so for me I can host the reunion shows, or I can produce and be the boss of the shows. It is making good choices, knowing your place, playing your position and staying in your lane without feeling like I sold out by doing that. I shouldn’t be out here with these kids acting no damn fool, and in that way you become the producer, You could figure out a way to get an idea together to the young folks, like my boys. Normally that would be me back in the day, like how I was a stripper in Independence Day , so it’s kinds of crazy that now as a boss of a reality show where we got eight male exotic dancers and I’m in charge. So you sit back and you observe and figure how can you fit into this without compromising yourself.
I was watching you in a Lifetime movie recently, The Wrong Child, you had a white husband in it and I really had to stop and give Lifetime props for continually stepping out and breaking stereotypes and being very bold in their diversity in their programs and movies. How does it feel to be involved with a network that is really stepping out and breaking barriers?
It’s beautiful! I am so grateful for Lifetime because years ago after I did Kill Bill they gave me the wonderful opportunity to have my first co-executive producer title and starring role on a television show I did called “Missing”. Lifetime, they’re all about women empowerment, breaking barriers, showing that we’re strong and that we can be true leaders and be successful and do it classy. Carole Black, before she retired and left to go to Italy–and I was like Carol, don’t leave– but that was her main goal , that she wanted to keep it current and sexy and not be afraid to put things in peoples face and say hey, this is what’s happening now. We’re not sitting there all like wanting to knit , ready to retire and go sit in a rocking chair somewhere, that we can be sexy and sassy and business women and go though different chapters of life. Which is the reason why I think I’ve been successful and been able to go into new chapters and to go there gracefully and not people going, “oh Lord!” And so from that, with Lifetime it is great for me now. They trust me to deliver good projects for them, and like you said, The Wrong Child, where I have a white husband and it was kind of like a suspense, mystery, action type of thing, and while watching it after awhile, you didn’t see the color, it was just good! Got the storyline-right? Also with them, they’re trusting us. Me along with David DeCoteau, who was the director. We now have done a couple of other projects together. We’ve got one that’s going to be coming out called A Husband for Christmas that’s going to be on the Ion Network. That’s just like unbelievable that I’m the star of it and co –executive producer of it, and they are trusting me, like how Drew Barrymore, Sandra Bullock, produce their own films. That’s what I‘m trying to do. Build that up. I just did my directorial debut. I directed a video from my new artist that I’m dealing with. I directed a video called We On, which you guys will be hearing about this month or so, probably around the time Black Magic comes out. I used some of my dancers from Black Magic!
Fan art submitted by Shaunski43@gmail.com