This may come as a surprise to many of you, but Robert Townsend and I go waaaaay back. You see, before Hollywood Shuffle…before A Soldier’s Story…before The Five Heartbeats…Robert Townsend was a stand-up comedian doing a British accent in a really nice chapeau. I remember him well, because there were not that many men of color doing comedy and there really weren’t that many that were stomach cramp hilarious. Robert Townsend was and IS one of the best.
His latest flick, “Playin’ For Love” follows high school basketball Coach Banks,(played by Townsend) who is very self-sufficient at calling all the shots for his team and his love life. His life gets flipped on its side when he meets Talisa McCoy(Salli Richardson-Whitfield). She’s a beautiful, strong, single mom with her own opinions on how a winning team should be run. Especially a team in which her star player son is now a part of.
Produced, directed and co-written by its star, Townsend enlists a little help from some friends like Esai Morales, Jenifer Lewis, Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs, Melysa Ford and the incomparable Salli Richardson-Whitfield to make this film an enjoyable experience.
Unlike a lot of films produced today, “Playin’ for Love” showcases a diverse cast and a love story between two people of color that are attractive, smart and a man who is not afraid to love a strong woman who has children that are not biologically his. It was refreshing to watch and I, for one, would really like to see people of color portrayed in this light rather than the alternative. As this is the image of life that is reflective of myself, my friends and colleagues who date, fall-in-love, are strong willed, strong minded, independent women.
In speaking with Robert (as you know we’re family now…lol), he revealed that in addition to the release of “Playin’ for Love” TODAY via Digital Video and DVD for an SRP of $27.97, there is going to be a huge surprise for all of “The Five Heartbeats” fans. To purchased logo onto www.us.rljentertainment.com.
Enjoy the trailer and take a listen to our interview below to hear what he revealed about the 25th Anniversary of “The Five Heartbeats”, working with Salli Richardson, #OscarsSoWhite and of course how the idea to write “Playin For Love” dropped into his lap. For more info about “Playin’ For Love”, “The Five Heartbeats” and all things Robert Townsend…log onto Robert Townsend Website or on Twitter @Robert_Townsend.