My Main Man, Ty

Tyrone Hart, the main character in HOLLYHOOD, came to me years ago. He lived in my heart and mind way before I knew his story. And I could feel his spirit and energy long before I knew what he looked like. My characters are very much like real people, in that I get to know them little by little as I do friends in real life. Bits and pieces of character information is discovered as I go along.

There were always three constants about Ty. His name, he was from the hood (which one I did not know) and Maxwell was his best friend. I had a lot of fun getting to know Ty and watching him react to the Hollywood world around him.

I had the rare pleasure of working with many black male producers during my years in television. And while I did not work directly with all of them, I was close enough to see and overhear the going-ons in and around their offices. I was privy to the shake-ups, the break-ups, the daily rhythms and their network blues.

I'd witnessed the narrow mindedness of studio executives when it came to black shows. For instance, on one show, the writers wrote in the story that the characters bought a new computer. One exec questioned whether the characters could afford a new computer. Huh? But they live uptown and wear designer everything. What he really meant was 'Would these characters have the intellect and interest in owning a computer?'

So, I was very clear about what obstacles Ty would face. He was a long way from the hood and yes, he'd been influenced and tainted by the glamorous world around him. He could be uppity, domineering and self absorbed, but his background kept him grounded when things got crazy.

When Sasha, Ty's longtime girlfriend and mother of his child, pressures him to get married and live happily ever after.....Ty has a moment of clarity about who he is and where he came from.

Excerpt from HOLLYHOOD:

Sasha wanted to be Cinderella and live a fairy tale, get hitched, ride off into the sunset on a white horse and live happily ever after. But Ty didn't believe in fairy tales, had never ridden a horse in his life. The realities of his world didn't afford him such lighthearted views. In all the fables he'd read, Prince Charming had never been born in the hood and had never worn Timberland's. He'd never sold drugs or seen his sibling shot and killed. And never once had Prince Charming pulled out his sword to fight racism. The Prince profile didn't fit Ty. Where he came from there were no perfect beginnings or endings. He was a guy from the street, where happily ever after meant not dying in the street.

Like Sasha, I love me some Ty.

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