If you’ve seen the OWN series Tyler Perry’s The Haves and The Have Nots, you have been introduced to Veronica Harrington aka The Ice Queen. To characterize Veronica as ruthless would be the understatement of the year. In the upcoming promo for the new season (starting on June 30th on OWN), The Ice Queen herself bookends the commercial callously remarking, “When is the devil ever too tired to raise hell?” After hearing those words, I would prefer to forego ever meeting Veronica in person (and keep her in fervent prayer). But, thankfully, I’ve had the honor of meeting and knowing the woman behind the character. Angela Robinson is a gifted artist with a heart for others and their dreams being fulfilled.
In this REFlections interview, let me introduce a woman whose talent is only outmatched by her character, love for the arts and her genuine love towards others. Thank you Angela for taking the time to share your thoughts and insights. For our readers, enjoy!
RF: Ryan Faison | AR: Angela Robinson
RF: How would you describe Angela Robinson in one sentence?
AR: A work in progress. I’m constantly working on myself. I’m a painting that’s not nearly done yet.
RF: I wonder how Veronica “The Ice Queen” Harrington (from The Haves and the Have Nots) would answer that question! Due to the success of this drama on OWN, you are becoming a household name. Do you relate to the character you play in any way?
AR: I definitely can relate. I don’t think it’s possible to play a character that you can’t relate to. I can relate because everyone has their own “stuff”. My character Veronica is walking around with a suitcase full of “stuff”. She has not even begun to unpack yet! I can relate to someone being so controlling and so interested in what people may think to the point of hurting people around them to keep up the facade of perfection. I am not that, but I can relate to people who are exactly that.
On Acting: I don’t think it’s possible to play a character that you can’t relate to. – Angela Robinson
RF: As a work in progress — the painting still being actualized — what is the one thing, the passion, that wakes you up every morning?
AR: I’m most passionate about being exactly where God wants me to be and doing what He’s called me to do. I believe what that is — is to encourage people to pursue their dreams and their purpose. This gives me life and wakes me in the morning. I am always thinking of how I can encourage and talk people “off the ledge”. I understand that when we truly walk into what God has destined for us, it doesn’t always look “traditional”, especially traditionally Christian. It’s scary. You may have people talking you out of it. But, you must discern the voice of God and the few people in your life that will encourage you to take the step of faith. I wake up with a passion for people living their fullest life. I think too often we live in fear of rejection, fear of lack, or fear of “will this pay enough?”. Typically, I find my niche in the area of artistic pursuits.
RF: What words of wisdom would you share with those who are driven to pursue their dreams but also need to balance their lives, especially at home? How do you do this Angela?
AR: You have to be intentional. I married an artist (Scott). We get each other. We understand the business. When we first got married, we made a conscious decision not to travel for the first year of our marriage. Sometimes that’s hard because you are looking for that perfect job that may require you to travel in that first year! You have to make that sacrifice. You have to say, “Even if I have to work at a restaurant to make ends meet, I want to invest in my marriage (or home life).” You must lay the foundation. We have a rule in our marriage that we don’t let three weeks go by without seeing each other. You have to be intentional because your family comes first.
RF: How has Scott (your husband) inspired you to reach your dreams and goals?
AR: I couldn’t do what I do without him. He is the wind beneath my wings. We are in this together. Someone asked him recently, “This must be really hard for you with Angela’s success”. Scott was taken aback by the comment because we are one. Our approach is that when the other is doing well, we are doing well. We are one unit. My husband reads lines with me. He helps me memorize my lines. He prays with me before a difficult scene. We are just partners. There is not the attitude of “I’m doing this, you’re doing that.” He’s teaching, he’s acting and he’s very busy himself. We never look at it as separate careers. Our position is what are WE doing next.
On Marriage: It’s about what WE are doing next. – Angela Robinson
RF: I first met you at Metro Community Church. We were singing together on the worship team unto God. Your passion for God was undeniable. How do you live out your faith in God in your career?
AR: If I were a teacher or waitress, I would use my faith. The same applies to being an actress. It’s an expression of my gift. I studied and trained and I love it. I take it very seriously. In my career, if I played a part where the character is not Christian, some would question and say, “How can you do that?” I respond by simply saying, “That’s not me. I studied and trained so I could diversify and play different, complex and crazy characters.” Living my faith is a walking out.
RF: Does it help to have a boss (Tyler Perry) who has publicly shared his faith in God?
AR: Tremendously. I’ve never experienced that before. I’ve been in this business for a long time and I’ve done theater for so many years. But, I’ve never experienced THAT before. I got a little taste of it when I was in the cast of “The Color Purple” on Broadway and Oprah (Winfrey) was one of our Executive Producers. The ship was run a bit differently because her focus was more on the spiritual side of things. She wasn’t there on a daily basis but had great influence on the show.
With Tyler (Perry), he directs every show (of The Haves and The Have Nots). We are with him on a daily basis. To have a boss who starts everyday with praying is refreshing. We pray together as a cast and crew. When we think about character choices, we always consider from a perspective of faith. We present characters with flaws — they’re not perfect people by a long shot. But, we consider faith in the equation. Christians are watching and we want that represented. Tyler walks out what he talks about.
On Tyler: He walks out what he talks about. – Angela Robinson
RF: The rating success of the show is quite overwhelming, especially on a relatively newer network. Did you expect the response to The Haves and The Have Nots? How have you dealt with the “celebrity” and larger platform as a result?
AR: That’s a great question. I teach actors and I always say, “This can’t be about the fame and celebrity. You have to LOVE THE WORK!” I used to boast that I don’t run after fame. I want to be a working actor. And then it happened!! I still to this day and shocked when people come up to me and ask for a photo and say, “Oh my…that’s Veronica!” Ryan, I’ve learned not to go out with my do-rag! You never know who you will run into. I must admit that I’m surprised by the whole celebrity deal.
With the celebrity, God has opened the door to more speaking around the country. I’ve always loved that and appreciative of those doors opening. I tell you — it makes me think all the time. I see why people get addicted to it. I have a greater understanding of why there are those who will do anything not to lose their celebrity because people treat you differently. I’ve said, “Why are they giving me free stuff?” I’ve asked, “Why did I get in and people are still waiting?” I can see how it is an addiction. So, there are those who will take roles that don’t represent them or their values in order to maintain the celebrity. I pray often that I never have that issue. I do see how it can happen. It’s very interesting.
On Fame: This can’t be about the fame or celebrity. You have to love the work! – Angela Robinson
RF: With the celebrity and the greater platform, what are some causes that you champion?
AR: The Broadway Inspiration Voices. We’ve been together for almost 20 years, comprised of Broadway actors. We have a concert a year and it’s like CHURCH! It’s sometimes the only church some people will ever attend. It’s everyone — Jews, Gentiles, Muslims — to hear the choir. I champion veterans, cancer awareness, and issues I’ve been directly affected by. I’ve had the opportunity to speak at several United Negro College Fund (UNCF) events. I attended a historically black college, so that means a lot to me. All of those things are important to me.
The main thing I echo is that you cannot sit on your dreams. Dreams are from God and are meant to be pursued. “I want to be famous one day” is not a dream. But, if God has put a song in your heart, sing! If God has called you to be a worship leader (like you Ryan), do it! Whatever that is — you cannot allow fear to cripple you. I always say that your life depends on it because your life does depend on it!
RF: Speaking of dreams, Dr. King had a dream. Yet, we see like in the recent Charleston, South Carolina shooting (which was racially motivated), there is a segment of our society that rather live the nightmare of discrimination, violence and division. As an actress and who is a world traveler, how do you respond to these events and offer wisdom for healing?
AR: You mentioned Metro. It is a special place. We prayed early in the morning with the pastor and staff to pray for healing. We believe in prayer. I believe there needs to be intentionality in working toward healing and justice. I am praying for an awakening. Racism does exist — its not in our heads — it does exist. We must acknowledge that and then move forward toward healing. I have been impressed by my white brothers and sisters who have acknowledged the issues and have stepped out to speak out. Hopefully, we can all join in, unify and work together for the common good. For when you have someone who has such hate to kill, my earnest hope is that that these individuals will not be welcome or have any friends because their positions are not embraced.
On Charleston, SC Shooting: I’m praying for an awakening. – Angela Robinson
RF: Thank you Angela. It has been encouraging to see millions of people around our country and around the world rally for justice and bridging the racial divide. With that said, what are some things that are coming up for Angela (that you are at liberty to share)?
AR: June 30th, The Haves and The Have Nots are coming back! We are excited about TEMPTATION TUESDAYS starting again on June 30th at 9 PM EST on the OWN Network. It is a great season. I’m doing a lot of auditioning as well as serving as the Performance Arts Director at Metro. I’m doing more speaking. Ryan — I’m living my life like it’s golden! (Ryan: Alright, Jill Scott)
RF: What lasting words would you give that person reading this interview. They are pursuing their dreams (that which is in their control), but they are disappointed, dismayed, and disheartened. They feel like they’re not making forward progress. What would you say to them?
AR: Quitting — is not an option! If you were born to do it, you were born to do it. That doesn’t change because others don’t see it in this moment. You were born to do it. You have to be creative — how to value your time until someone sees it — because they will. When I started working at Metro, I was on the road with The Color Purple for two years. I had been in the business for a while but when I came back, I couldn’t get a job for a whole year. This has never happened. Metro offered me a job and I took it. I was able to do arts and still audition. But, I found something to do in the meantime. After taking the Metro role, doors began to open.
I love Philippians 4 where it says, “I’ve learned to be content in whatever state I’m in.” As artists and individuals-at-large, we must be content where we are because it can be up and down. In this business, you fail more than you win. The key is what you do with the wins. When you are winning, what are you doing with that time? Make use of your time. Keep pursuing and don’t give up because it will be seen eventually. Don’t give up before you get the YES! Hold on to what God promised you and it will come to pass!
To Dreamers: Quitting is not an option! – Angela Robinson
Angela Robinson Website: http://www.arobinsonartist.com
Angela Robinson Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/AngelaRobinsons4
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