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Hill Harper: The Gentleman

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Hill Harper is quite the ladies man—at least he is on tonight's episode of "The Game" entitled "Hill Street Blues." Playing himself, Harper is confronted by Derwin (Pooch Hall) about the nature of his relationship with his girl Jenay. Apparently, Derwin's athletic prowess is no match for Harper 's intellect, charm, and good looks, so he goes to fight for the woman he loves. Harper kicked it with ESSENCE.com to talk about  the proper protocol when a brother finds himself in a potential love tryst, his funny bone, and the battles of the sexes.

ESSENCE.COM: So, we hear you're caught up in a love triangle on "The Game" tonight. What's the deal?
HILL HARPER
: I'm playing a hyper-real version of myself and I had a previous relationship with one of the character's girls. He feels a little jealous because I'm her ex and it's difficult for a lot of guys, especially football players, to see the woman they love with the intellectual brother. It was a lot of fun because what makes the show so great is that it mixes fiction with reality. [The show's creator and executive producer] Mara Brock Akil and I have been friends for years and when she called me with this idea I was happy to do it because there's not a lot of comedy on "CSI: New York." I've done romantic comedy and I don't get to flex that muscle often.

ESSENCE.COM: Have you been in a situation where a brother tried to step to you because he thinks you're with his woman? How would you react if a brother pushed up on the woman you loved?
HARPER
: I have definitely had guys get emotional and get filled with some ego because he feels threatened or upset because I'm having a conversation with a woman. And I've also been on the other end where I've had to say, "Dude, why are you stepping to a girl that I'm talking to?" It happens but you don't have to come to a violent end about it just have a discussion—agree to disagree.

ESSENCE.COM: As an author, you've written books that address young brothers and sisters. When are you going to address the grown folk?
HARPER
: In August. Right now, I'm just putting the final touches on my next book which is called "The Conversation." It's a personal journey book that addresses the big problem between Black women and men.

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ESSENCE.COM: How do you think the image of our First Family, especially our first Black President, will affect the future relationships between Black men and women?
HARPER
: Certainly there's a certain subconscious in all of us that we model those images we are given. Hopefully, for the next eight years, we as a community will begin modeling the behavior of President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. Lord knows that we need it with 31 percent of our children being raised by single mothers. It's a deplorable rate when compared to other distinct ethnic groups. We need fully formed families. In regards to how the President and the First Lady have influenced our community, I hope that their healthy, highly functioning partnership will inspire and encourage and send the message to both men and women that neither First Lady Michelle Obama of President Obama would be who they are if it wasn't for each other.

ESSENCE.COM: So far, what impression do you hope you've left on the world?
HARPER
: I would hope that they think I'm a man who genuinely uplifted people in my activism because that's my mission whether it's a Black or White female or man.

Watch a scene of Hill Harper in his guest role as himself on "The Game"

 

Tune in to "The Game" to watch Hill Harper's guest appearance on CW at 9 P.M. ET/PT.

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