'She's Gotta Have It' actor Ciera Payton feels her character Jameelah's good intentions were misunderstood by fans
Payton plays the role of businesswoman Jameelah Hawkins who attempts to help artist Nola Darling (played by Tracy Camilla Johns) only to have her good intentions backfire on her
Ciera Payton plays the role of savvy businesswoman Jameelah Hawkins in the second season of Spike Lee's 'She's Gotta Have It' on Netflix. The series follows artist Nola Darling (played by Tracy Camilla Johns) as she navigates love, friendship, and her sense of identity while trying to find her own artistic voice. Payton plays the role of businesswoman Jameelah Hawkins who attempts to help Nola only to have her good intentions backfire on her.
In an exclusive interview with MEA WorldWide (MEAWW), Payton spoke about her experience playing the role of Jameelah on the show and suggested that the character was somewhat misunderstood by fans.
"Getting to play Jameelah was really awesome," she said. "I think she's probably a little misunderstood by a lot of the fans that watch the show. She was totally on Nola's side the whole time. However, she is a woman that's kind of in the middle of both worlds, being in Corporate America, having an artist background, and trying to help this artist who has amazing street art, to help give her a bigger platform, to help her out, because she really is a fan of her artwork, and it just kind of backfires on her on both ends, from Nola and also from her job."
The 33-year-old actress added that while it wasn’t shown on the show, it was written in the script that Jameelah ends up getting fired, mainly because she tried to help Nola.
Payton also opened up about her work on the 'Michael’s Daughter Project', an annual creative writing and media summer camp started by the actress which enables "at-risk" youth to channel their pain into creative artistic expression.
"I am in my sixth year of doing the program here in Los Angeles," she said. "I just signed on to work with the city of Los Angeles again to create an art project with the youth and it's a social justice-focused art project this year and so we're coming up with some really cool things that will be starting up in the fall and I'm really excited."
"I love giving young people a platform to tell their story and to weigh in and share their voice, especially young people that come from impoverished neighborhoods and that come from households where a parent or a loved one is absent due to incarceration," Payton explained. "Because that's what I was familiar with as a young person and I know how difficult it was to feel like I was heard or feel like I was understood because I did have a problem. I didn't have an outlet until I started getting involved in arts education programs and I just want to present that same platform for young people. And so I'm excited to be starting up again this year with that."
Though details about a third season of 'She’s Gotta Have It' are yet to be announced, Payton admitted that she would be open to a return.
"We don't know yet," she explained. "It's all to be determined. So hopefully I find out something soon. I would love to go back. That'd be great."
Season two of 'She's Gotta Have It' is now available for streaming on Netflix.