“Greenleaf”is set to return for a third season, beginning with a two night premiere, August 28th and August 29th. Actress-singer Asia’h Epperson stars on the program as Tasha Skanks, wife of Pastor Basie Skanks. Epperson also stars in the upcoming biopic “The Bobby Brown Story,” where she appears as Bobby’s former girlfriend, Kim Ward. I had a chance to speak with Asia’h and ask her about her experiences in filming “The Bobby Brown Story” and her thoughts on the upcoming season of “Greenleaf”.
Season 3 of “Greenleaf” is just around the corner. What can the fans expect to see this season?
Wow, This is the best season by far. Everyone, every single person, I think has a breakthrough moment in this season. I know for my character, for Tasha, you’re going to see a lot of different sides to her that you didn’t see last season. She’s just battling with her conscience and her spirit and beliefs this season. Last season was more about her being the new person and everyone liking her and finding her place.This season, she is on a mission and that mission to get revenge on the Greenleaf’s. She’s doing that but having problems with that. Her spirit, her conscience, she’s going back and forth. She’s a good woman but on a assignment to to do a lot of not good things. She’s going to make you laugh cry. It’s a lot.
You portray Kim Ward, the mother of Bobby Brown’s two eldest children. What was it like to portray the character?
Wow, well, it was interesting to say the least. Kim, my character, she never had an identity in the public. No one knew who she was. She was a hometown sweetheart. 16, 17 years old, his Boston chick, and the woman he actually left for Whitney. Playing someone who never had a identity and giving that person a voice. I feel honored that I was able to be that person and now people are going to know who she is now. I remember being on set and the first time I met Bobby and he walks on the set and he says, “who are you playing?” I said, “Kim” He said, “You’re Kim? No way.” “Yeah, I’m Kim.” “Ok, I need to see how this is going to work.”
Based on how I looked, I guess he didn’t understand and thought I didn’t look like her. We started talking and saw my work and saw me in action, he said “ok, now I see why they got you as Kim. Kim was straight fire. Kim didn’t take no shit. Now I see why they got you to play her.” She was not a liked person in the Bobby Brown camp. I think she caused a lot of issues between him and Whitney. He ended up getting her pregnant while he was engaged to Whitney. It was a lot of back and forth. There was a sense of comfortability in their relationship and it took awhile to break away from her. I think a lot of people didn’t like her. But overall, the story is amazing, and every single person—Woody who is playing Bobby, Gabrielle Dennis, who plays Whitney, Alyssa Goss, who is playing his current wife Alicia.
Bobby was onset every day making sure we’re doing the right things with these characters and let our director Kyle, and also his brother, Tommy, who was his manager for most of his career, played by Mekhi Phifer. Everyone was involved 100% of the way. It’s good, it’s deep, and entertaining, because Bobby was all of those things. Everyday was amazing, especially when Bobby was there, and his brother and Babyface. Listening to these people share their stories, it was mind blowing. You just want to take it all in. Woody, myself, Alyssa, Mekhi, we would all sit back and listen to Bobby, and Babyface and Tommy as they told stories and reminisced. We were in the moment. It was really special being on the set.
Did you have a chance to meet Kim Ward in preparation for the role?
AE: No, I don’t think she was a liked person. She wasn’t on set, but everyone else was. They told me, “ok, Kim this was Kim right there.” While onset, I was off to the side and trying to get into this “non-liked” person. I didn’t want to be Asia’h on set; I wanted to be this woman that these people in Bobby’s life were like, “no we do not like her. You’re messing stuff up. You got her pregnant while you’re engaged to Whitney.” They had a special relationship, they had been together since teenagers. She’s his Boston girl. I think he had a special connection with her and it caused problems. At the wrap party, I could be myself and everyone was like,” oh my gosh, you’re so likable now! Can you believe she played Kim?
I had to really be her and have people not really like me, which is the opposite of who I am. I got to breathe and exhale and everyone got to breathe and exhale. The reaction was, “wow, you really played her!” So yeah, it was good, it was interesting. I always try to seek out the roles that are completely opposite of me, so when I got a chance to play pregnant, I’ve never played pregnant, I’ve never played a mom, I played a teenager. I was 17 in this role. I got to wear wigs everyday, so that was fun.
What is your favorite episode of “Greenleaf”?
Man, my favorite? My favorite episode thus far. They’re so many. Well, this one but I can’t tell you because it was spoil it. It’s so hard. I’ll tell you when it started to get really good for me. When Tasha started going away from the woman that wanted everyone to accept her and take her in and she started to not care anymore. She started to…she was on a mission to get revenge, and when she started to doing conniving, sneaky stuff, that brought out a different feeling inside of me. And then, she started battling with her consciousness, with her spirit. She stated being like, “I can’t do this anymore This isn’t who I am.
I’m really a God fearing woman and this is eating at me now that I have to do these things and that it’s devastating this family. There were a few episodes when I started going through that back and forth, those were the episodes where I was like, “man” and came home completely drained from being so emotional and involved in that tug of war in her spirit, which I think in real life we all go through. I can’t name one specific episode, but there were a few, like three right in the middle, when she started to really go through it. Those were probably my favorite because the audience gets to see a different side of Tasha.
She’s going to be the one where you don’t know if you love her or hate her. You’ll feel sorry for her again in one moment and love her again. She gives you everything this reason. There’s not one episode; just this whole development and growth of her character this season. The whole thing was so good for me, and it’s going to be so good for the audience.
In addition to “Greenleaf” and “The Bobby Brown Story,” do you have any other projects in the works?
Well, I do have another show, it’s called “Leimet Park”. It premiered in Sundance. I’m super excited. I play a comedic role and that’s super fun. And my music. I’m going back to the studio and releasing some music in the top of the year and spend the last few months of the year working on music in the studio. You’ll hear music coming from me soon. I’m working with Babyface and a couple of people. Thats how I got my start. Any chance I’ve had to incorporate my music into my acting, that was my joy to sing on the show. I did the background music in the stories. I always try to keep my music and what I’m doing, so yeah, that’s what I’m going to be working on. I’ve been out of the country for about a month now, once I get back, whatever God has for me, that’s what I’ll be doing. It’s always whatever comes.
According to your bio, you are a firm believer in taking care of your health, and that you are a licensed massage therapist. How did you get started in that field?
Well, being a struggling artist! (laugh) I’ve probably had just about any job you can think of throughout the years, just on between jobs and needing to support myself. Massage therapy was something I was good at. I gave massages to family members. I’ve always done that. They said, “you should be a massage therapist.” So one day, I was like—after working job after job—I was like, I need to do something that allows me to make my own schedule, because being an artist was my number one thing, so these regular jobs would never last more than six months because I had to go to this audition, I was in the studio last night, I’m going to be late today.
What can I do that I love to do and I’m good at, make money take care of myself and make my own schedule? I was like, “duh, massage therapy.” I’ve been doing it since I was little. I went and got my license and that really took care of me for a few years while work was slow and I was able to take care of myself, make money, heal people ,make people happy. That’s how I got into that. It was an easy call for me to do that; something I can go anywhere around the world an do.
What advice would you give to anyone who wants to get into the entertainment industry?
Strap on your seatbelt and get ready for the ride! One of my biggest things was never taking now for an answer. You’re going to also hear no more than you’re going to hear yes, and my “no’s” have always been “maybe.” That always resonated as “maybe” in my mind. That means I still have a chance to change your mind. You can never stop, you have to keep going. You start second guessing yourself and that’s normal, but once you stop, it stops everything else stops. You have to keep going, you have to stay grounded in your faith in whatever you believing in. I believe in God; I’m strong in my faith. When you waiver, God meets you where you are an pulls you through. Stay close to family, stay grounded in my faith and stay resilient and not take no for an answer. You have to be your biggest fan and believer. Sometimes when you don’t really feel like it, those are the times you are going to grow and push yourself. You have to get ready for ups and downs and twists and turns and be willing to take it.
Season three of “Greenleaf” will premiere August 28th and 29th on the OWN network, and “The Bobby Brown Story” will air September 4th and 5th on BET and BET Her. Be sure to tune in and grab some popcorn!