In her new film “Thousand and One,” Teyana Taylor plays free-spirited Inez who kidnaps her six-year-old son Terry from the foster care system.
Teyana Taylor believes that mothers should be given a second chance to connect with their children after giving them up for adoption.
The topic is dear to the Harlem native, as the new film she’s starring in centers around a mother (played by Taylor) who kidnaps her six-year-old son from the foster care system. In a conversation with The Neighborhood Talk to promote A Thousand and One on Wednesday (March 29), Teyana adamantly spoke about why she wants the women who weren’t ready to become mothers to receive grace if and when they ever are.
“It’s never too late. The same way they say, ‘Oh I went back to college at 40.’ I feel like that’s how it should be all across the board,” she began. “It’s never too late to love. It’s never too late to give, it’s never too late to change, it’s never too late to show and give grace. And I think that that’s the most important thing is knowing that it’s never too late, and also knowing that a mother’s love is something that can’t be replaced or erased. So for me, it’s never too late for a mom to want to do better.
“Because the thing about it is, I feel like a lot of moms get blamed for putting their children up for adoption – not realizing that may be for the better. Because, ‘I don’t have it all the way together so I’d rather put you somewhere where I know you’ll be more stable than with me. And when I get my mind right, get myself together, I’m coming back for you.’ It’s the same way like when we lose something, we don’t say, ‘Well forget that then.’”
She continued: “We go and we get better and we practice more and we come back for that trophy. And that’s how it has to be with life! Not just in the tournament, not just in the game, not just who’s the best of the best of a contest. This is life! You gotta be willing to dust yourself off and try again. You gotta be willing to fall down and get back up.
“I look at everything as grace over grudges. It’s never too late and I respect any mom that is willing to say, ‘Okay, let me step back and let me get myself together and go back for what’s mine.’”
After making a splash at the Sundance Film Festival in January where it not only wowed critics but also took home the coveted Grand Jury Prize, A Thousand and One will hit theaters nationwide on Friday (March 31).
Though she’s no stranger to acting or cameras, A Thousand and One sees Teyana Taylor in her first lead role, delivering what Indiewire has called, “a commanding, breakaway performance.”
Yet in a recent interview, the film’s director A.V. Rockwell admitted she wasn’t sure about casting the semi-retired R&B singer in the movie. But ultimately, Taylor won her over with her authenticity.
“Within a short audition tape I got to see the breadth of what I was looking for in terms of not only what was critical in terms of performance,” Rockwell told Collider, “like just the actor being able to really give something honest to the scene, but also the authenticity that I was looking for and feeling like I could see through her performance that she knows this human being in real life or she is this human being in real life in the ways that I needed an actress to really connect to the material, because I think you don’t see a lot of that in Hollywood.”