Actress-singer LeToya Luckett has been on the radar since she was just 15-years-old. She’s had multiple film and music projects including starring in the Preacher’s Kid, HBO’s Baller’s, VH1’s Single Ladies and not to mention her number one hits with Destiny’s Child and as a solo artist. She has made a successful transition from music to television and her acting career is so hot it’s sizzling. Her next chess move, Luckett is leading as the star actress and producer on TV One’s multigenerational comedic show, “Here We Go Again.” Starring along with another super hilarious woman, Wendy Raquel Robinson, this show puts a comedic twist on a not so comical situation: teen pregnancy. The half-hour series follows Maddy (LeToya Luckett), a single mother and successful lawyer who is convinced there is a “Walker Women’s Curse,” after being born to her mother, Loretta played by (Wendy Raquel Robinson), at age 16, and having a child, Shante (Kyndall Ferguson), herself at the same age.
Rolling Out caught up with LeToya where she dished on her relationship status, motherhood goals and the oh so pretentious woes of social media. –starling thomas
Your new show is “Here We Go Again.” Give us the scoop.
I love the show. It’s a comedy, well I say a dramedy and it’s a generational TV show. It’s about this character that I play, her name is Maddy and she’s trying to break this cycle of what she feels is a generational curse of teenage pregnancy. Maddy mother who’s played by Wendy Raquel Robinson had her at 16, Maddy had her daughter at 16 and now Maddie’s daughter is turning 16 and she is just super careful. She does not want her to follow in her footsteps although, Maddy has done very well for herself. She’s an attorney, she has her own practice and is a very educated woman who beat the odds but she just wants her daughter to live a better life than she did and not put herself in a situation where she feels she can’t fulfill her dreams because she has the responsibility of raising a kid. But funny thing is at Chante, who plays Maddy’s daughter, birthday party Maddy and her baby daddy reconnect after a few drinks and end up pregnant. She so busy trying to block that, that she has put herself in a situation but it’s a fun show. Wendy Raquel Robinson, she’s hilarious in this show and she’s a Glamma. It’s something new and fresh. I haven’t seen a show like this with this story line, I know that a lot of people talk about teenage pregnancy in a way and I feel like this show doesn’t judge that. It doesn’t promote it but it doesn’t judge the women that you know, ended up pregnant at a very young age.
You have a very underrated sense of humor. Tell us about the craziness and silliness that is LeToya Luckett. It’s just natural for you to be in comedy right?
It’s crazy because a lot of people have seen me in dramas and Things Like That or in “Single Ladies” with Felicia, she was funny in her own right. She was cold and mean and all these things but I added the comedy so people wouldn’t hate me. As far as my personality, my friends and family know I’m crazy! I love to have fun, I’m bubbly. People say I’m funny but I don’t know that I’m funny, I don’t try to be funny and tell jokes and stuff like that but I always got something slick to say. (She laughs) Yeah, I guess I am funny at times maybe depending on the day.
What’s the process like or is it added pressure trying to deliver with a comedic timing for those types of shows?
I had never really done a comedy before, I mean thank God when we started I just jumped into this character. I had an idea of who I wanted and how I wanted to portray Maddy but as soon as the cameras started rolling this burst of energy just came over me and I found her, I found her quick and she just so happened to be kind of funny. But it is a lot of pressure because you have to be very specific you know in hitting those beats and it looks a lot easier than it really is. So, shout out to all the comedians out there who have been doing it for years cause that ain’t easy.
Everything within your arts is about timing.
Timing is everything in life too. I trust God’s timing. I’m a very spiritual person and a lot of times we want things on our time and we come up with our own plans of what we want to do with our lives but God be like “Haha your funny that’s cute anyways this is what you’re going to do” and I’ve learned to just sit back… Well let me be truthful! I am learning how to trust God’s timing because sometimes I can get antsy, sometimes I can be like ok I want it now daddy! And it’s not the right time and it’s crazy that when it does happen when it’s supposed to happen it happens perfectly. So, I have learned to just sit back and be like look you do it because you know what’s best for me.
You sit back but you still work incredibly hard.
Oh you got to work! You have to give him something to work with! I am not at all saying just sit back and let life happen. What I am saying is because I am such a hard worker, you know getting roles, getting an album done, I’m like have to get this done or I want this to happen and you can get so busy in planning and preparing. I mean it’s good to be prepared but you get so caught up in what you want to happen right now for you when that might not be your thing and that might not be what’s for you. I have learned to trust that what is for you can’t nobody take away; you can’t even mess it up because it’s for you. So yea, I go hard for it period, but what’s gone be mine is gone be mine. I finally just woke up and realized that it’s just what it is and that’s how it’s gone be.
Do you deal with people not necessarily always wanting to hear what you have to say in expressing your vision as a female artist? Have you ever experienced that?
It’s unfortunate that sometimes a woman’s confidence can be viewed in the wrong light. People appreciate a confident man, they love a strong man and when it comes to a woman I don’t know if people just expect women not to speak up for themselves or be weak or just always be the follow behind but I’m proud that I’m in a generation of leaders. I’m proud that I’m surrounded by very strong women. My mother, my grandmother was a dean. Women that I can say that’s a role model, look what she went and did for herself. She didn’t wait on anybody and I find myself to be that kind of woman and of course when I go and speak to a high school or a group of young ladies, I remind them to don’t hide who you are and to say how you feel. Everybody might not get it or understand it but you’re a woman, you’re a human being and you have every right to be who you are and you have every right to have your own perspective. I think that for women period, it’s just been a constant fight with us. The thing that people have to realize is that we don’t back down, we don’t give up, we go for ours. We bring life into this world and I think it’s unfortunate to that a lot of women don’t realize their value so they allow that talk or people not understanding them. They allow that to change them and hide who they are and sometimes how they truly feel about things because they don’t want to be the stand out, they don’t want those problems. I don’t care.
Have you always been that way?
It took me a minute to get there. I think when you go through situations in life and when you come out of those storms you’re stronger and I’ve found myself to be different than I was 15 years ago. I have grown so much since then and I’ve been through a lot so I know I’m stronger. And I know that people are just people with opinions that a lot of times I don’t care to much about. I only serve one God and I’m only judged by one God. So at the end of the day that is what’s important to me. Was I true to myself? Did I serve the way I was supposed to serve my God? Did I help someone? If I am out there helping people to grow, then I don’t see what the problem is and if I am doing that through my music. I’ve had a lot of people say I was healed through that record and some of that stuff was hard for me to talk about. But I feel like everyone should voice their opinion or just be themselves especially when you have a creative platform like music or as an actor. That’s a blessing to have that platform and I think that you should be able to be who you are.
There is a very noticeable change in how open you are now, did something happen that made you be like I want the world to get some more of this sunshine?
I am a bit more vocal now than I was before and that probably came from life experiences. I think, on a personal level, watching my grandmother suffer from dementia, one of the strongest women in my life. Very educated, very well spoken, a go getter and to watch her eventually not be able to do anything for herself and not be able to speak and have a voice, to walk and talk. It made me realize that life on this earth is very short and while you’re here you have every right to be yourself. You have every right to be expressive and share and give in the way you feel necessary. A lot of times I felt like I was speaking for her. Even working out running, if I got tired I’m like my grandmother can’t run right now go! I’ve dealt with another woman who was like my second mom she suffered from cancer. I felt like I was speaking for these women in my life, being strong for them and it just made me look at life completely different. I feel like we don’t realize how blessed we are to still be on this earth and people have to realize that you’re here for a reason, you’re her for a purpose. You’re not an accident, you made it here. People have miscarriages every single day so that fact that you made it here says a lot. And I think as kids growing up when we’re in that unaware stage we don’t care about people’s opinion of us and all these different things we’re free. Then when people start coming back in and telling us what we are and what we can’t do, who we are and who will never be. We start to take all that in and allow that to change us and I think I just found my way back to freedom in the not caring as much about the way people felt about me and I think that’s what brought the sunshine. I think that freedom is what brought that sunshine back, just me being myself again. We have to get that confidence back about ourselves. I’m still working on it, don’t think it’s not process, don’t think it happened overnight.
That first step is the biggest move?
That first step in realizing hey, there’s no one else like me. There will never be another LeToya Luckett on this earth, so I’m going to take advantage of my time here. You get 24 hours in day what are you going to do with it, worry about how somebody feel about you or are you going to live? I think I just woke up and realized that one day.
What is one thing that is on the LeToya Luckett bucket list?
Oh my gosh. I want to be a mom. It’s crazy because when you’ve been in this industry for so long especially as a woman we spend so many years and if start off so young like I did at 12 years old you so you spend so much time telling yourself, my career, don’t be in relationship, you can’t have a baby right now and then you get a certain age and your like oh wait, I think I want to be settled down and be married and have a kid but wait let me do this project first or this movie and then you look up and you’re 40 and those child bearing years are over, not to say that women can’t have a baby at 40, thank God, but it becomes a lot more difficult. I don’t want to leave this earth without leaving a part of me.
How challenging is it for a female artist to find the right time to have children?
I think you have to just do it. Your agents and managers will never think it’s a right time because you getting a job or them getting paid depends on the work you give them so they’re never going to tell you to take a few months off, have a kid, go out there and live your life. I think you just have to make up in your mind this is something that I want to do, I mean after I’m married and I’m close. Me and my fiancé are definitely going to start working on that! (She laughs) Hey, I’m 34 years old they just gone have to wait and I’ve seen a lot of women after they’ve had a kid become more successful. People love families, people love moms and I’ve seen women have the kid and become sexier than they were before. They just feel free all of a sudden and are like I’m gonna take it all off and show ‘em and look at my snap back! People are really into that so I’m glad I’m in the generation of that. But I definitely want to share, I want to teach, I want to love beyond myself. I want a piece of me out there running around and I want to watch that grow. I never thought I’d be like this ad it’s not like I’m putting pressure like I want a kid right now! Whenever it’s going to happen it will happen but it’s definitely something that people would be surprised to hear. People always ask me when I’m going to settle down or have a baby and that is something that I want but I’m not going to just settle for anything.
What is that about, this non ending cycle of never enough?
Bruh! Listen, if I could tell you. It wasn’t this hard before, well actually it was because it was just your family when you were home for Christmas and they were like girl when you gone step out there? You still ain’t got no man? But now with social media, these comments honey. “Why you ain’t never got a man or can we see him” Once you get the boyfriend then it’s “Can y’all take more pictures” or “Are you gone ever marry her?” It’s like you never know what people are going through. You don’t how long a woman has been trying to get married and you’re leaving comments like “Are you ever gone have a baby?” and I been trying for the last 10 years but of course that’s none of your business so I’m not going to tell you that or show myself at the fertility clinic unless I choose to. People I think have to be a little bit more sensitive especially when it comes to the kid thing. You just never know what a person is going through. I’ve said it before people love, love! They are infatuated and if they don’t have it themselves they want to watch other people have it and then it gives them hope so I get it but let people do things on their own time. I remember somebody wrote an article, God help me, a few years back and it was like what’s wrong with LeToya? Why can’t she ever find love? I was like is this what we’re reporting today? Ouch! And I was single at the time but what they didn’t know was that I had been in a relationship but I just didn’t tell anybody and we were just going through a break up so thanks for making me feel more single. Then there was the time that I was really single for a long time and I was wanting that for myself but I needed time to rebuild and figure out who I was so that I could come back stronger so when that relationship presented itself I would be ready and not damaged goods just trying to be in a relationship. But sometimes folks don’t want to allow you that time and they think something is wrong with you because you’re not in a relationship. Some people just don’t have to be in a relationship all the time, sometimes they can be figuring it out or waiting on the right one and I don’t like the practice of dating. I don’t know what that is but it’s the practice of breakups, you break up and now you’re practicing divorce. So, when you are getting married now it’s like oh no I can just break up with you because I’ve been breaking up with people my whole life so this is easy, instead of really committing to something. I was trying to lay low on the whole relationship thing for a minute because I wanted my time to be in a marriage that I would fight for it and stay committed and I’m going to do that.
Speaking of commitment, why should the viewers out there commit to making this show a part of their weekly ritual?
OK, so here is why you have to make “Here We Go Again” a part of your weekly ritual: it’s great, it’s funny, I’m in it … No, I’m playing. It’s just a fun show and I think that it takes a heavy subject and it lightens it a little bit and I think that’s what people want to see. There are things that happen in your everyday life that might seem really heavy that make you feel like dang my life is over, like what am I going to do from here or what’s going to happen and it just show that this can happen and you can still get out there and live your dreams. Yes, you had a baby at 16, we’re not promoting it and saying that it’s that it’s the greatest thing to do but you can still become a lawyer, you can still have your own practice. My mother turned out to be a very successful real estate agent. My daughter is doing great in school and she of course is doing the teenage stuff or whatever but I think it’s a show that’s going to lighten you up. When you come home from work and you just want to sit back and have a few laughs and watch people love what they do and create something specifically for you, I think that’s what this show does and it delivers that. It’s just fun. It’s everyday situations and I don’t care how old you are, I don’t care if you’re in your 50s, 60s, 30s, 40s or 16 to 18, I think everybody will be able to relate to this show.
Watch TV One’s “Here We Go Again” Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET.