Actor Lorraine Toussaint got a call from director Julie Taymor, who was working on a biopic, The Glorias: A Life on the Road. The forthcoming film is centered around the life of famed activist Gloria Steinem, and Taymor was clear that she wanted Toussaint to be involved.
“I want you to play Flo,” Taymor said to the award-winning actor. “And she said it in a way as if I should know who ‘Flo’ was,” Toussaint recalled. That began my journey into the discovery of the iconic Flo Kennedy.”
Florynce ‘Flo’ Kennedy was an attorney, activist and a black feminist—a pillar of the second wave of the feminist movement. “She was very clear that racism and sexism were intertwined, and you couldn’t remove one without the other,” Toussaint said of Kennedy.
She was one of the first black women to graduate from Columbia Law School. Kennedy is also responsible for founding the Feminist Party, which is perhaps best known for nominating Shirley Anita St. Hill Chisholm for president of the United States. Somehow, history glossed over Kennedy’s story.
“History has not documented the involvement of black women.” Which is, in-and-of itself, why The Root chose to produce “She Is____” to highlight our unsung sistren.
But Lorraine Toussaint’s work doesn’t stop there.
The actress-producer-writer-mother extraordinaire has all the things going on. She stars in The Village, which premiered on March 12, after This is Us. “The Village gives me an opportunity to maybe show more of my innate self than any of the roles I’ve played,” said Toussaint, who plays Patricia in The Village. “She’s big hearted. She’s a good girl. She’s the caregiver. She cooks. She’s kind of soulful—she’s right at the center of my house.”
Toussaint also has a forthcoming female superhero film of sorts: Fast Color will release in March 2019. “I seem to be luxuriating in the feminine,” said the actor.
“These are three women—a post-apocalyptic dystopian tale of three women [over] three generations who have unusual abilities and have been persecuted through the ages for these abilities, and so they have they have been in hiding for many generations,” Toussaint explains.
With this abundance of work, we can’t help but wonder: How does Toussaint choose her gigs? “I’m a little spoiled. So I like to pick work where I’m going to have fun, and fun means different things to different times,” she said. “I want work that is interesting to me.”
Watch actress Lorraine Toussaint tell the story of the rebellious lawyer, civil rights activist and black feminist, Flo Kennedy.