Exclusive: D. Woods Talks ‘Blackbird’, New Music & More
D. Woods is a certified triple threat. She sings, she dances, she acts and 2015 has already proven to be a huge year for the former member of Danity Kane. As one of stars of Patrik Ian Polk’s latest film “Blackbird,” ‘ya girl D. Woods’ acting chops are on full display as the character Leslie, a sassy & confident, yet troubled preacher’s daughter. This, however, isn’t the first role to come her way as she’s been doing theater for many years. The graduate of a performing arts high school, most people probably recognize D. Woods from Diddy’s “Making the Band” and later Danity Kane, but she has evolved into a shining star and we were excited to talk to her about everything from her role in “Blackbird” to her new Record label. Check it out!
Heed: Hi D!
D. Woods: Hi!
HM: How are you today?
DW: I’m great, how are you?
HM: I’m well, excited to be here chatting with you about the new film and everything else you have going on in your career right now. So, first I wanted to ask how excited you are to have been a part of ‘Blackbird’?
DW: I’m very excited! It’s like, ‘wow, this is kind of a big deal!’ We shot the film almost two years ago in 2013 and all of last year it worked the festival circuit. You’re kind of removed from it but every time you see it, you’re reminded of how powerful the piece is. It’s exciting!
HM: So tell me about your character.
DW: My character is Leslie and she is one of the friends of our main character. She’s the preachers’ daughter in the small town, Hattiesburg, MS, so I feel she’s trying to find her own identity. If you know, preacher’s kids try a lot of things because they’re expected to be one way and she tries and says things in every way possible to break that stereotype.
HM: Your role was very layered. Do you identify with any of the things your character was experiencing? Like, have you been in a position where you’ve been criticized highly and above others?
HM: Talk to us about that.
DW: I think people want you to live the life that they want you to live and it’s like ‘no, this is my life and this my decision’. You know, in this phase of my life and my career, I’ve been working more and more to find platforms to expose who I am, what I stand for and what I want people to remember me for. Doing Black Bird is a part of that because I’ve been acting since I was very young, but a lot of people don’t know that. I went to a performing arts high school and was a dance major there. I did a lot of theater and they just gave us free reign to explore our many interests and nurtured them. Being in the commercial side of entertainment, you don’t get express those many interests and I definitely didn’t get to express them in reality TV, so this role in Black Bird definitely let me jump into that and explore that. It’s like, ‘they won’t be ready to see me like this’, but that’s what I like! Most people would expect me to do something more lighthearted, or play myself…
HM: Or we actually saw that you were doing something with Kenya Moore from The Real Housewives of Atlanta, so that might be expected right?
DW: Yeah, that would be expected but that’s just another side to it. We’re going to do something really deep and dramatic and then jump into something really silly and comedic. Then we’re going to do a musical theater piece, like what I did with Kandi in her production “A Mother’s Love” and then I’ll do something that’s kind of musical like I did with Kenny Leon’s company True Colors based in Atlanta. With his company, the production was called “Shaking the Rafters”. You just get to exercise all of these little pockets of your talent and that’s what I’m really excited about doing and you just knock down all of those preconceived notions while doing it.
HM: Yeah, because the majority of people know you from “Making the Band” and automatically you’re boxed in. How is your following responding to you branching out?
DW: Those who have been down with the movement are excited and are pleasantly surprised and supportive. There are some that are slow to convert, but we’re praying for them. [Laughs] And you know, some people just aren’t going to support you because they don’t want to. They want to see you how they want to see you and how they remember you and that’s it. But it’s like, ‘okay, your loss because there are some really great things happening over here’.
HM: We would like to know when we can expect some new music!
DW: The thing about it is this! I have a record label! [Laughs] Woodgrain Entertainment is my label and I just recently did a joint venture deal with Sony Red Distribution and Thirty Tigers Records, so a lot of music that has already been out we will be re-launching all of that music and getting ready for a new album. First things first was Blackbird and I teamed up with the production company to put out the soundtrack to Black Bird. I did a song called “Find Your Way” that was inspired by the film. So, it’s levels to it and it’s all to draw the people in.
HM: So going back to the film, what do you want people to take away from it?
DW: As long as they talk that’s my big thing. If you feel some type of way, if you were upset, if you loved it and you can’t get enough of it, just as long as you’re talking about it. When you talk about it, it brings awareness and somebody will be enlightened or their opinion might change. I love the heated conversations that happen during the car ride on the way home because you see it one way and I see it another way, but that’s why it’s art because we see it different ways. That’s my whole thing, but what I really get from it is acceptance and love because you can’t have one without the other. You have to love yourself and accept yourself.
HM: What is your stance in regards to the theme of the film?
DW: To me it’s like ya’ll know this is truth, this is not something that Patrik made up in his imagination. First of all, he adapted this from a novel. This is everyone’s church, this is everyone’s choir. I have many personal friends who this is their story. I’ve had friends come out to me and I’m like ‘boo, I know! Who are you telling? Is this for you or is this for me?’ But that’s the acceptance you know what I mean. So that’s the stance I would take.
HM: With all of that what do you take heed to?
DW: The things that have rang true and loud lately has been really trusting and listening to yourself. Sometimes you have to shut up and just listen. Sometimes we do so much that we’re missing ourselves. So, really just trusting yourself. I’ve had to really learn to trust and not second guess myself.
Be sure to catch D. Woods in “Blackbird” now playing in select theaters!
Check out the Behind the Scenes footage of D. Woods’ Video for “Find Your Way” inspired from the film “Blackbird”
Stay connected to D. Woods:
Twitter – @YaGirlDWoods
Instagram – @YaGirlDWoods
All Photos © 2015 Tayo Ola for Heed Media
D. Woods styled by Tye Alexandra