In the film A Thousand and One, Teyana Taylor portrays Inez, a single mother who kidnaps her son from the foster care system following her release from jail. A product of the foster care system herself, she takes him to Harlem and attempts to give him a better life than she had.
Teyana tells Complex it was easy for her to get into character because she “saw a lot of myself in Inez and also just saw a lot of the other women that have been in my world and around me.”
Her real-life role as a mother of two girls also informed her character in the film. “I think if I wasn’t a mom, I don’t think that I would’ve given Inez all that I gave Inez, you know what I’m saying? Being able to handle my three sons [in the movie], and it was a lot and it was heavy,” she says.
She notes that playing Inez has actually given her a peek at the future, which may include her children talking back. “I have to prepare myself now,” she tells the publication. “I also learned a lot in just how to deal with even just a teenager and a person coming up into themselves.”
Ultimately, Teyana hopes that the movie highlights the issue of Black women not being seen or heard.
“I felt like it was a really important role to take on [the film] because … I see a lot of Inez within me, within us, just Black women as far as it only being OK when we are showing up and we’re strong for others, but the moment we show up for ourselves and we’re strong for ourselves, it’s an issue,” she says. “This highlights that.”
A Thousand and One premieres in theaters Friday.
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