The “Dear White People” Interview
with Kam Williams
Marque Richardson is a high energy, multi-faceted actor, writer and producer. He can currently be seen in the critically-acclaimed DEAR WHITE PEOPLE, a satirical comedy that examines race and identity in America through the stories of four black, Ivy League college students.
As a young actor, Marque amassed some impressive credits, including recurring roles on HBO’s THE NEWSROOM and TRUE BLOOD. He has also guest-starred on BROOKLYN NINE NINE, ANGER MANAGEMENT and THE MIDDLE.
Richardson attended the University of Southern California on a full scholarship from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, graduating with degrees in Business, Public Policy, Planning and Management. To build on his knowledge of the film industry, he interned at Will Smith’s Overbrook Entertainment. There, he gained insight on film and television production while honing his acting skills.
The elder of two siblings, Marque’s military family moved around frequently before settling in Bellflower, California where he got a head start on his acting career by starring in various commercials at age four. Determined to not be pigeonholed, Marque still trains at Upright Citizens’ Brigade and the Ivana Chubbuck Studio while studying screenwriting at UCLA.
He prides himself on being a global citizen with a strong sense of community service, too. In 2005, he traveled to Khao Lak, Thailand to help in the country’s relief efforts after the devastating tsunami of 2004. And he’s worked with Habitat for Humanity to help build homes in Louisiana and Guatemala.
Marque spends his free time writing, innovating and mentoring students in Los Angeles. Here, he talks about his career as well as his work in DEAR WHITE PEOPLE.
Kam Williams: Hi Marque, thanks for the interview.
Marque Richardson: Hey, Kam, how’s it going? [Chuckles]Thank YOU for the interview!
KW: What interested you in Dear White People?
MR: What interested me in Dear White People was that it was smart, funny, modern and it had something to say that people needed to hear.
KW: Tell me a little about your character, Reggie?
MR: Reggie is a beast! Intelligent, strong and militant, he’s a computer science major at Winchester University. He’s like a modern-day Malcolm X mixed with the character Buggin’ Out from Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing. What’s most interesting about Reggie is that he defers a lot of his responsibility off onto the other characters of the film. In a way, Reggie represents the population of the world that wants change but doesn’t want to take responsibility to act themselves, the population that is waiting for their hero.
KW: What do you think of the issues raised by the film?
MR: There are tons of issues which the film brings to light, from race to identity to sexuality. The characters are a complex mix that serves as a mirror effect for audiences, which is why so many people of diverse backgrounds relate to the film. At the end of the day, this is a story about identity and the biggest thing I hope people get from the film is that it’s okay to be yourself at all times. Own your uniqueness and all that makes you who you are because there’s no better you… than you.
KW: True. Is there any question no one ever asks you, that you wish someone would?
MR: “Would you like to play the first black Capt. America?” I want Marvel to ask me that.
KW: Have you ever had a near-death experience?
MR: I almost drowned when I was 5 years-old. Had to stay at the hospital and all that jazz. I still love swimming though!
KW: A scary story with a happy ending. What is your guiltiest pleasure?
MR: I love watching bad horror movies. Like the ones that are so bad they’re good. Anything on fear.net. And I am a fatty, I love eating food, if I could eat, sleep and watch bad horror movies all day, I would.
KW: The bookworm Troy Johnson question: What was the last book you read?
MR: I’m, currently reading the Richard Pryor biography “Furiously Cool.” What a gift he was!
KW: What is your favorite dish to cook?
MR: I love to barbecue. I will barbecue the [bleep] out of anything… and you will like it! [LOL]
KW: The Sanaa Lathan question: What excites you?
KW: The Harriet Pakula-Teweles question: With so many classic films being redone, is there a remake you’d like to star in?
MR: I can’t stand remakes. We haven’t run out of ideas. Start something new!
KW: What’s in your wallet?
MR: Not a damn thing. [Laughs]
KW: Thanks again for the time, Marque, and best of luck with the film.
MR: Thanks so much, Kam, and best of luck to you, too!