Introducing Rain Pryor | A Black Jewish Woman Walks Into a Theater

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Actress Rain Pryor

Imagine being the offspring of a cultural icon that has inspired many generations. One that is held in great esteem, so much so that everywhere you go you see so many people imitating your beloved and although most mean well, they may not be doing your memories justice.  Having a close loved one of such distinction may put lots of pressure for you to live up to be as great especially if you’ve chosen the same career path.  The charismatic, clever and talented Rain Pryor knows of the impact her father had on pop culture, specially comedy but she’s managed to blaze a noteworthy career trail of her own. The daughter of the late great, Richard Pryor, is an acclaimed actress, comedian, writer, producer, activist and mother.  Rain is now gearing up to release her one woman play, Fried Chicken & Latkes, which will run off Broadway in Harlem, NY throughout June.  Parlé Magazine had the great pleasure of sitting down with Rain to discuss her one woman show, how she’s managed to cultivate her own career and her possible political career.

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From June 2nd to June 28th at the National Black Theatre in Harlem NY, Rain will be performing her autobiographical one woman show, Fried Chicken & Latkes in which she’ll take on her mixed race, growing up Black and Jewish during the late 60s-80s as well as being the daughter of  one of the most beloved  icons and a comedic genius.

“I will be talking about my father in the play, but it’s mostly about my life experiences. Not everyone gets to know him as a father and in this show you get to see him as my dad.  That to me is one of the greatest ways, we get to honor those who have come before us,” Rain offered.

This year will mark the 10th anniversary of Richard Pryor’s passing and in Rain’s one woman show, she takes on a series of characters including her father, mother and grandmothers (on both sides) as well as a slew of others.  When asked what inspired the name of her one woman show, Rain simply replied, “I’m black and Jewish and those are the two foods they’re best known for.” Rain hopes to bridge not only the racial gaps that she encountered growing up, but also the gender and generational ones as well.  “As much as we’re going forward, we’re also going backwards. It’s 2015 and we’re still addressing a lot of the same problems that affected us in the 60s.” With that in mind, Rain hopes to share her amazingly funny, yet inspiring story with the world.

The one-woman show isn’t the only thing on that’ll be keeping Rain busy this year, she just released her debut comedy CD entitled, “Black & White,” which can be found on Amazon and Itunes.  She’ll also be in a movie called Night Watchman, where she’ll play a vampire, that’s set for October. In addition, Rain will also be the main focus of her own documentary, “That Daughter’s Crazy.”

Although comedy may be a love for Rain now, she wasn’t always focused on being a comedian. Her main focus is acting and doing works of a more serious nature. “My dad always wanted me to do stand up and for the longest time I wasn’t interested in it, I actually got into by accident when a friend signed me up for a five minute open mic. Now I’m opening for other comics, hosting and touring but this one woman show and acting are my first love as well as being a mom,” she explained.

Being the daughter of a comedy legend is one thing but choosing to go in the exact same line of work where your father not only dominated the industry but inspired generations of people, some folks are going to try to compare you to him or wonder if the only reason you may have gotten as far as you have is because of her father. Rain wants people to know that she stands on her own with her comedy. Her father is and was a great inspiration to her on so many levels, but she’s managed to create her own voice in the comedy world.  “The obvious difference between me and my father is that I’m a female. I’m a storyteller also and it’s a new generation of new experiences. People might try to compare me but I am my own person and I make sure people know that when people come out to see me.”

Those who come see the show may not know this, but Rain Pryor is also an activist. Now a resident of Baltimore, Rain Pryor has a lot to say about the state of police brutality. “I’m not currently involved with any particular causes at the moment but I am a passionate speaker,” Rain says. “The whole Freddie Grey incident was very close to home, my husband’s stepmother taught his sister. I honestly think there are two things that need to be done that can improve the state we’re in. (1) We need to focus more on our families and communities. Sometimes we wait until a tragedy happens before we’re able to do so. (2) We need to get rid of these career politicians, who’ve lost focus on the people they’re supposed to be helping. People often tell me that I should run for some sort of political office in Baltimore and although I appreciate the offer, I think I’d be able to reach more people with less restrictions doing my comedy and speaking out.  Politics is something I’m considering but I don’t know if I’ll ever do it.”

When Rain isn’t doing comedy, performing or acting, she’s a wonderful mother to her now 7 year old daughter.  “I find myself telling my daughter the same things my parents told me and it amazes me how much things have changed, yet they stay the same,” she admitted.

Fried Chicken and Latkes
Fried Chicken & Latkes Poster

Rain Pryor’s one woman show, Fried Chicken & Latkes directed by Kamilah Forbes will be running at Harlem’s National Black Theatre from June 2-June 28th.  Tickets are $20 and can be purchased online at www.nationalblacktheatre.org or by calling (212)-722-3800 Tuesday to Saturday at 1pm-6pm.

Readers can get updates on Rain Pryor by going to www.rainpryor.com or following her on social media
Facebook:  Rain Pryor and Rain Pryor & Pryor Productions fan page
Twitter: @RainPryor
Instagram: @Rainpryor

 


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Born in Washington DC, Adrian was placed in the care of his maternal grandparents after his mother died when he was a baby. For the most part of his life, Adrian’s biological father was absent from his life. Growing up with a house full of cousins, aunts and uncles, Adrian began his love of writing to document his surroundings. Attending a private school for 9 ½ years, it was there that many influential teachers help strengthen his love of writing via English and creative writing classes. Even though, Adrian loved to write he was reserved about what he wrote about. Leaving DC at the age of 7, Adrian and his family moved to Temple Hills, Maryland in Prince George’s not too far from where he had lived previously. Luckily, Adrian had taken part in many youth outreach programs as a youth that allowed him to travel and see the country, many kids he knew around his own age hadn’t even left the city. These experiences opened his eyes to other cultures and ways of living. As a teenager, Adrian had many friends who passed away before their time but he promised to keep writing to honor their memory. Other than writing, Adrian has helped various charities rise by going on public speaking tours. Some of these charities include The Safe Haven Project and The Journey of Hope. He has contributed to several book projects and currently resides in Queens, NY. Read more articles by Adrian.