Kofi Siriboe Talks His West African Heritage, Fame and 'Queen Sugar' On This Week's ESSENCE Live

Plus, our #BuyBlack holiday gift guide, Bernie Sanders' upcoming political plans and American Idol star LaPorsha Renae performs live.

ESSENCE.COM Nov, 30, 2016
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You're watching ESSENCE Live. I'm your host, Dana Blair, and these are the biggest stories you're buzzing about today. [SOUND] Issa Rae's hit HBO show, Insecure, been renewed for a second season, and let's just say that, after this first season, we can not wait That shocking finale has everybody picking sides. So are you team Lawrence or team Issa? @Alenjandrodagr8, tweet it, Trump supporters & #teamissa are blocked forever. @Harlemownslyric said the finale had her all in her feelings. She wrote Saw a man on the streets of Atlanta who looked just like Lawrence and cussed him the hell out in my head. Hashtag team Issa, hashtag insecure. And at Deon Slanders tweeted, Tasha wanted Lawrence when he was cashing unemployment checks and working the electronics department at Best Buy. She earned those Henny strokes. And of course this meme was one of the best ones we saw floating around. It's a photo of Nas's album cover with a jilted [UNKNOWN] holding a Best Buy tagged wedding dress. [NOISE] Now, by now you're surely seen this photo of the late Fidel Castro and Malcolm X floating around your timeline. So, was Malcolm really a fan of Castro? Well yes, the two met at the famed Hotel Theresa during one of Castro's visits to New York in 1959. And although their meeting was brief, with only a few other people present, by all accounts they hit it off. According to the Guardian, Castro hosted a gathering for some of the hotel's black employees, calling them, quote, the poor and humble people of Harlem. Similarly, Malcolm X also praised the leader in his autobiography and was also quoted as saying Castro was, quote, the only white person he ever liked. [BLANK_AUDIO] Donald Trump is up to his old tricks and unleashing more Twitter tirades. All right, the president-elect Is attacking Hillary Clinton and the Democratic party for wanting a recount of votes in key swing states. He tweeted, the democrats, when they incorrectly thought they were going to win, asked that the election night tabulation be accepted. Not so anymore! He continued, in addition to winning the electoral Electoral college in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally. Never mind the fact that there is absolutely no evidence of voter fraud like zero, zip, nada. So what you say Essence Live fan, are the democratic green party right in insisting the recount for key states? Or should we all just let it go and already finally, accept the fact that Donald Trump is our next President. Send us your comments now using the hashtag ESSENCE LIVE because we're talking all about it next. It's Tuesday, November 29, and Essence live starts now. [MUSIC] Welcome to Essence Live, Essence magazine's weekly digital talk show. I'm your host, Dana Blair, and today's show is jam packed with good stuff per the usual. Remember, you can always talk to us with #ESSENCELIVE or email us if you want to come on to the show. And sound off on topics at essencelive@essence.com. I have Kofi Siriboe dishing on his newfound life as a celebrity and what's next for his hit show, Queen Sugar, American Idol star LaPorsha Renae performs her new single right here in our studio, and we've got the ultimate black owned gift guide to help with all of your Christmas shopping but first things first By now come January 2017 Donald J. Trump will officially be our 45th president, or will he? Green party nominee Jill Stein is pursuing election recounts in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin. And Hillary's campaign jumped on the band wagon and said, they are here for it. So what does this exactly mean for us? Here to discuss it via Skype is Bernie Sanders' former national press secretary Symone Sanders. Welcome, Symone! Thanks, Dana. Thanks for having me. Thank you so much for being here, Symone. Bernie Sanders told ABC's This Week That the recount effort was not a big deal. And that he didn't think anybody or Secretary Clinton or anybody else, would be into pretty profound changes. Or did you didn't expect any profound changes? What are your thoughts? Do you agree with Senator Sanders? So you know, I wanna know that I've been in a number of this Briefings around the election results. And the answer is if the question is there voter fraud in the election. The answer is we don't know. There's no definitive evidence that there was tampering with the election systems in key states and there's no definitive evidence that there wasn't. So the Democratic party's position is, look, we don't know and we're still looking into it. Now, Jill Stein, if she wants to hop on and lead this recount effort, and raise the money, more power to her. And the Clinton campaign hopped on to ensure that it happened correctly. What if the Green Party and Stein Campaign found something? but it wasn't handled correctly in court. Or the evidence was tampered with if you will. Well then it's all delegitimize. And so, I think we should read the Clinton campaign hopping onto this effort not so much as a validation that the system is rigged, but moreso of a cautionary effort to make sure that if they find anything, that it's handled properly, and that the. The process itself is handled the way it should in court. Now do you feel that the Clinton campaign should have lead this charge versus waiting on Stein or anyone else to lead this charge for a recount. I think we need definitive evidence and since there is no definitive evidence That the Clinton campaign or the democratic party has seen. I don't think they should be leaving it. You know I think there're real questions though around what happens with this money. Jill Stein has raised well over I think $5 million at this point for recount effort. And she billed it as a recount effort in three different states. But what happens if you only get a recount in Wisconsin? Right. And you only litigate the Wisconsin recount effort. Where do the millions in millions of dollars go? Are we getting refunds? [LAUGH] Are we getting refund checks like it's the first semester of freshman year at the University? We don't know. So I really think there's some additional questions surrounding this. And I do think this has all gotten under the President-elect's skin, which is why you saw him Tweeting like a five year old- Right. Earlier this week. Now Simone, every four years whenever it's time for a big election, especially the Presidential election specifically, there's this Electoral college. Can you break it down for us? Because there's just some confusion. What does the electoral college mean and what does the popular vote mean? Got it, so if I could give a really quick explainer. So every year, every four years people go to the polls and they vote for a president. The popular vote is the popular vote that the people cast. And so Hilary Clinton has won the popular vote. Well over 2 million votes, that she's won more than Donald Trump in this election. But the electoral college is what determines the presidency. So when you go to the polls and you vote in I'm from Nebraska and you vote in Nebraska. Mm-hm. Though that Electoral College number is different that say in Florida. States like Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, those state, Texas, those states had key numbers of Electoral College votes that matter in the tally. You need 270 Electoral College votes to win the presidency so while Hillary Clinton won more vote. I.e., more people that went to the polls cast their vote for Hillary Clinton. Donald Trump essentially won in key places where they had more electoral college votes. So that is how somebody can win the popular vote and not win the electoral college. And I will say the electoral college was made at the founding of this country, and you'll know that the southern states have substantially less Electoral college votes than other states. And that goes to African Americans only being counted as 3 5ths of a person, and the electors and the founding fathers way back when not wanting states with majority black populations to essentially count for more than somewhere like in Ohio or Pennsylvania. So technically this electoral college, how many votes go per state should be re-evaluated? Has it ever been re-evaluated? It should definitely be re-evaluated. It has not been re-evaluated in recent history. In order to revisit. Electoral College, you have test some Congressional things that happening go on in Congress. And so Republicans majority in the house and the Senate right now, I don't necessary think that it'll happen. But it is really important that people don't like the Electoral College. If they don't like what they're seeing, if they speak out about it. If they write their reps, if they continue to talk about it on Twitter, if they host convenings about it in our circles, that we put it in our group of chats when we're having these conversations. Mm-hm. Because it can change but we have to keep the pressure on. So, nothing's going to happen with electoral college if we stop talking about it a month from now. It does need real reform The system is not set up for the people, if you will, and I think it's incumbent upon the people to do something about that. Simone, you've given us so much information in a short amount of time, but I have to know, what's next for you and what's next for Mr. Bernie Sanders? I don't know, I like to say that I'm a black girl with an opinion and they let me talk about it. [LAUGH] [LAUGH] There you go. So I'm [INAUDIBLE] to be out here. Are advocating for millennials at the table. Are advocating for black and brown people. We got a DNC chair fight coming up and I like to say I'm here for the millennials and the brown folks. Senator Sanders was just elected to leadership in the senate. So he is leading up their outreach effort. He has a new book out, and I think Bernie's gonna continue to be around for a really long time. But I wanna remind folks that Senator Sanders coalition in this campaign was not about him, it was about the people. That is the heart of the political revolution. So regardless of what Bernie decides to do, we have to keep pushing on for the issues that we care about. And that's what I'll be doing. Do you want Senator Sanders to run against the next presidential election? I think we have to ask Senator Sanders, to be frank the Democrats do not have a clear presidential candidate for 2020 right now. But I'm reminding folks, four years before 2008, people didn't think of Barack Obama as the candidate that we Run and will become President of The United States. So the next leader, president of the Democratic Party probably hasn't even burst on the scene just yet. We've got a couple years to figure that out. But before 2020 there are gubernatorial races, there's Senate races, Congressional races, mayors races. So I want folks to So remember that there's 2017, 2018 before we can even think about 2020. Before we let you go Simone I wanna check in Facebook. Kayla what are they saying out there about this issue? Lot's of comments coming in. It's a mixed bag as far as do recount or not. Will it make a difference? Melissa Honey Bee says is it going to change anything? Crystal Hawkins says, I do, things are possible you never know. Patricia Lawrence says without a recount we will lose faith in elections due to voter suppression. Romney Walker says recount and get it straight. Alexis Farisa says #NotMyPresident. Tracey Watley says recount, no vote should ever be thrown out, not counted, or disregarded. Wow! All right, so some very strong opinions out there. Simone, thank you so very much for joining us. You're welcome back any time. I'll be back. All right. Keep sending your comments using #ESSENCELIVE and we'll shout you out right here on the show. Coming up we're dipping into the December issue of Essence to show you the best black-owned gifts for the holiday season. But first I recently caught up with that handsome actor, Kofi Siriboe, and asked him how it feels to be part of the hit show Queen Sugar. I have the concept of it and now I'm living the reality. I feel like I'm gonna have to wait to the next step to be able to really look back at it, but it's just different. People come up to you, they recognized you, they talk to you like they know you and I love that. Coz the way I feel like, I like to act as by giving everything that I truly am. So when you see me, you do know me. For some extent of course. Some extent, right. So I love it. I just love the connection, I love seeing people so excited about the projects and it's actually like. Seeing how it resonates with them. Mm-hm. They come up so passionate and I'm like waoh, I can only imagine what's going on behind closed doors. So, I love it, it's amazing and I left it in my face everywhere. See it everywhere [UNKNOWN] [LAUGH] I worked so hard for hello that's about tis whole game here, your character laugh angel. Yeah. For me, he's a character that you don't often see portrayed. He's a troubled young man, come back out, had a- Or portrayed, but not that way. Yes, fair enough, fair enough. Incarcerated man. Incarcerated man. He's back out trying to readapt to society. Society, family, people aren't necessarily giving him a second chance. He's fighting for his second chance. What is it like bringing that new type of character Character to this [UNKNOWN]. No, it's really cool, because I have seen it done in many different types of ways and for my part I really wanted to be a human thing. Mm-hm. I did not want to be about his past, I didn't want to be about his feature, it was about the now, the present. Who is he right now, I don't know if he knows that completely but I do know what he isn't. Mm-hm. So, I focused on the love the human aspect the fact that I love this. Kid. He loves his family and he loves the land. He loves his father, even though he doesn't have him anymore, obviously, so. Right. It's that whole quest for identity and the dualities of his self and then the other self. So I feel like that was really what I wanted to. I had so much fun playing that because it's so human, so me, so all of us. So I enjoyed it. [LAUGH] I loved. And you do a very good job. Thank you. I was reading up on you a little bit, and your parents are from Ghana? Yeah Ghana, West Africa. And so, you know, we often talk here in the office about whenever you're a parent your first generation, Hm. that you're expected doctor, [LAUGH] a lawyer, Right, right. an accountant. Which is real. What was it like when you came to your parents and said, I want to be an actor? I didn't have like that Peter Parker moment [LAUGH] I'm ready for this, you know It was very gradual. We did TV, and we did print work and modeling stuff when we were younger. It was three of us, three little chocolate babies, my mom running around. So to progress to commercials, and then as I got older, I progressed to TV and film. And it was more of a decision around 17, 18. So I would say the last 4 years of my life has been very, very adamantly like In that trajectory but they support completely. When I say support,they break all cliche is like they supported. Realistically my pap still has that one foot in the door was like you know Make sure that education is on point. Make sure you know how to talk. Make sure everything is on point because you can't get lost in the hype, but that never really stop them from still supporting and backing. He's a little apprehensive. And how do you stay grounded with all of these going on around you? My family I think that's really the key factors, just remembering where I came from, remembering why I'm in this industry or why I do what I do which is just to connect. So it's like talking to you right now, I don't know you, I've never met you but I get to sit here looking your eyes, talk to you and actually vibe on a level that I wouldn't be able to do it from my bedroom in L.A. if I didn't do Queen Sugar. Right. So this whole thing is just about connecting and as long as I remember that there's really no place to go that I can't get high, up there. I'm grounded, I'm here just to connect, so that's what we're gonna do, you know? Now, speaking of connecting, can you connect and give me some inside scoop? [LAUGH] Like, I get some kinda cuts behind the scenes, or a little teaser as to what we can expect? On what? From Queen Sugar? From your role, your character? Meaning like, okay, some secrets? I want some tea. We're deep in, now. I was trying to say it in a very articulate manner. I know! [LAUGH] You want some tea. That didn't work. No, we're deep in that one. I don't even know what's gonna happen in season 2. They haven't given me Any insight. I think people don't know we book these roles. This is a series regular job that's what they got. So this role was booked off of a pilot, I just saw one script. They don't send you all 13 scripts and say audition, so I don't know where the character's gonna go, how he's gonna turn. Every week I'm like what's he gonna, what you doing Roger, so that's the exciting part. And it's the same way with season two, I have no idea what they're gonna do. The next, I know how to in, I shot the finale but watch, watch. [SOUND] Hi everyone I'm Terry. My name is Yvon. My name is Levern. Hi I'm April. And you're watching Essence Live. [MUSIC] Hey, hey, you're watching Essence Live. And it is the holiday season, it is well underway. And the December issue of Essence Magazine has over 100 gift ideas For just about anyone in your family. Joining me in studio is Essence's Tanya Christian who work on putting together this fabulous gift guide this year. Welcome. Thank you. You look fabulous. I like this color. Thank you. Combo color that you have. Now there a lot of goodies sitting here on the table. Yes. What makes our gift guide special. What's nice about the Essence gift guide is we feature all black owned company. Nice. So everything here. A black-owned business produced it. All right, so you doing good? Are you getting some good? [LAUGH] So we have several categories this year and I'm gonna start here with this beauty. What lady doesn't love a little beauty in her stocking stuffer. Tell me about this first gift. So this is an eye shadow palette, 120 shadows by Joy Lorraine Cosmetics. 120 120 under $30, so it can also be a stocking stuffer. That's a good bargain. Yes, and it's neutral shades so anyone could use it. And works well for all- of course our skin tones. Yes. That is perfect, okay. I kind of want- I'm going to have to swipe that from the table after this one. And our second category My second favorite, as a Louisiana girl, food. What do we have? So we have Caribbean sauces. And's nice is you can bring a little Caribbean flair into the kitchen no matter where you are. If you don't really know what you're doing, I can't cook Caribbean food No, no, no. That's fine, cuz these are gonna help you out. Help me fake and make. Help you in church, a barbecue, everything. Nice, nice. We have some options. I love a good option too. And our third category is Sayet. Now what exactly is a The Say It category. So Say It is pretty much black inspiration. Okay. So we have quote pillows and the Stay Woke jacket, you know, a notebook that helps you get through the 2017 calendar year. Nice. Okay, and so what is our selection Saya category. This is a black girl magic pendant necklace. Yas, black girl magic. Yes. This is super cute and what's the price point for this one? That is a $125. Okay, that's great so nice, nice piece of jewelry. Absolutely. You saying it with your chest. Right, exactly.>> Who doesn't like to do that. [LAUGH] And another great thing about the holidays, it brings everyone home. Some people are moving, some people are just going home to visit family. So what gift do we have for our home category? We have the Obama collector's edition Essence book. Heart the Obamas! Yes. We're all gonna miss them but what's nice is that this can live on your coffee table forever. Fabulous, fabulous. Number five, we're just gonna keep it moving right along. Something for the ladies. Yes. What is this? Well, head wraps are so trendy right now. Mm-hm. So we have a selection of head wraps from The Wrap Life.. Okay. They're gorgeous. Different prints and patterns and I mean, for $26.00, you can't beat that. And I love it. And you don't have to have a lot of hair in order to do this either. I'm a baldy, and I love my head wraps. Especially when I have a bad hair day and I feel like I can't get to the barber, [LAUGH] so this is for everyone. [LAUGH] And what do we have for him? Okay. Which I'm kinda eyeing for me too. Yes, so this is a leather army fatigue jacket. Hm. It's beautiful. What's nice is that The man in your life is gonna love this. Definitely [UNKNOWN] have to take it. It's one of those gifts, it's a little on the pricier side. Okay. So make sure he was acting right for the year before you purchase this. [LAUGH] What's the price point? So this is $1,079. Okay, but it's real leather. It is real leather. Super cute, and if you don't Keep the man, you can keep the jacket. Take it back. Absolutely. I'm just saying. Last but certainly not least, what is this for the kids? Cuz this a cool gift. As an adult I want this. Yes, so this if from the Rad Black Kid and it's a longboard, it's a skateboard. I mean a lot of kids are into it but even if they're not this is an entry way. They'll love it. This is super cool and it's classic. It has a little retro-chic vibe with it that I really love. It does, it does. And what's the price point for the skateboard? So, this is 250. Okay, nice, nice. These are all great, great gifts and they're really colorful too and they make a lot of sense. They do. They're practical which is why I really love. So thank you so very much. All right well Essence Live fam here it is a table full of unbelievably great gifts. Anyone would be more than happy to received this year. Thank you so much Tonie for coming by. Thank you for having me. You can come by anytime girl. All right hit us up on our Facebook page and let us know which gift you like the most. More Essence Live is up next. [MUSIC] Hey, hey, hey, it's Julie and I have more dope stuff on my desk. First up, Tom Ford. So, yen years ago, Tom Ford came out with his iconic Black Orchid fragrance and to celebrate that wonderful milestone. They're coming out with a few new fragrances including this one, which is called Orchid Soleil. It's really light, it's really Beautiful, it's really fresh. I absolutely love it. [MUSIC] [LAUGH] So if you're anything like me, then you love a multitasking product which is why you need one of this. Lancome has come out with one of their duo lip crayon and it's a collaboration with Sonia Rykiel. So it's obviously awesome. One side has a really light glossy pigment and the other side has a mat. So you can weak them separate, you can wear them together but any which way you wear them, it's gonna be fabulous Speaking of multitasking Shea Moisture has pretty much made all of our oil dreams come true. They have just launched a whole collection of pure 100% oils, everything from shea oil to argon oil to manoi oil and you can use them from head to toe by themselves or add them in with other products that you love. Plus they're black owned Major key. [MUSIC] You're watching Essence Live. I'm your host, Dana Blair. Before we head out, I wanna check in with you one more time on social Kayla, the ear to the social streets. Hey. What comments you got for me? Okay. So earlier we asks if we should have a recount of the presidential election and there are a lot of folks sounding off. Okay. Angela [UNKNOWN] yes recount for the safety of this country. David Smith says no I'd rather forget this one, the worst ever. [UNKNOWN] Access Frances Cobell said Hillary lost because she wasn't a good candidate. Trump is horrible too, but the Democrats screwed themselves by putting her in the race. And Rome Hulie said, our voters do not matter, there is no reason for a recount. Hillary clearly beat Trump. Chump but nearly two million votes but they go to the electoral college or it doesn't matter what we do. They gonna put who they want in the White House. Damn. Damn. Already. I appreciate all of your opinion. I appreciate you all being so passionate. Thank you to all of our guests for coming through, and, of course, all of you for watching us each and every week. If you missed any of today's show, you can catch the replay shortly on essence.com, and see all of our videos on our YouTube page. Taking us out today, a singer you first got to know on American Idol, and she's about to tour with Fantasia, here is La'Porsha Renae performing her new single Good Woman. I'm Dana Blair, I will see you next week. [MUSIC]