Pia Fergus of Brooklyn Buzz talks to Bed-Stuy native and actor Kadeem Hardison about his new role on Disney Channel‘s K.C. Undercover, his love for his hometown Brooklyn, his new documentary entitled Where Brooklyn At?, and more!
Continue below for the interview!
Pia: What intrigued you about the role of K.C.’s dad in K.C. Undercover?
Kadeem: What intrigued me about the whole K.C. Undercover project was Zendaya, she’s the business, you know? Simple and plain. Theres a lack of diversity on television, and this was a chance to add some diversity to television. Props to Disney for being behind it and giving Zendaya a show and a place to showcase herself. Theres not a lot of black family love on TV so it was a no brainer for me actually. After I met her and caught her vibe I knew right then it would be a good situation.
P: What is it like being a part of a Disney Channel sitcom, and how is it working with the cast?
KH: Working with the cast is great! We laugh all the time, they’re young so they keep me young and teach me new dances. I’m old, so they laugh at me (laughs). I’m not old at all, but in terms of knowing what is current, I am old! I stopped listening to the radio 10, 15, maybe 18 years ago. Once the mp3’s and the iPod’s hit, and I could have my own radio in my pocket with my music on it that I wanted, I had no use for the radio or what was current or popular. So yeah, we laugh about that and it’s a constant joke fest on the set. Zendaya and I have T-shirt battles and sneaker battles, and every now and then we challenge each other like “bring out your t-shirt” or “bring out your shoes, show me what you got!”. Kamil is hilarious. Veronica, Kamil, Trinitee, we all have a great time.
P: What is your schedule like when filming episodes of the show?
KH: The schedule for filming is pretty close to what I remember from my days on A Different World. We have the table read on Mondays, and then Tuesdays we rehearse, Wednesdays we rehearse, and then Thursday and Friday we shoot. So we pretty much spend three days rehearsing and working it out, and Thursday and Friday they get the cameras and makeup and action! So its a week on, and we do that for three weeks and the fourth week we have a week off. So basically three weeks out of the month we work, and the fourth week we have off.
P: What are your intentions with playing this role and being a part of this show?
KH: My intentions are always the same when I get a job. It’s to be as honest and as real in the moment and in the situation that I can be. When I was doing A Different World, that show had such an impact on people, I never once considered what it could do or had any plans for what I wanted it to do. What ever was happening on that day (of shooting), that’s what was happening with me. That’s as far as I wanted it to go, I could not get too far ahead of anything, you know. I just stayed present and in the moment, and that usually leads to success.
P: When will the Where Brooklyn At? documentary be completed and where will it be premiered?
KH: I don’t know when it will be completed. We’re launching a KickStarter to try to help get funds to finish it, so that’s up to the people. Premiering could be anywhere. It’s a documentary, so they don’t get wide releases normally, but we’d love to take it to film festivals or if it went straight to television or DVD or online, anywhere people could see it is a good thing. In a dream world, I’d love to see it used in schools. If you want to know a little about Brooklyn, this would be a good thing to check out.
P: How do you feel about present day Brooklyn and the changes that are constantly happening to the neighborhoods?
KH: I’m shocked at how Brooklyn has changed. I grew up in a whole different Brooklyn, and some of the things I see now wouldn’t have been possible. I guess it’s evolution in a way, I’m not discouraged, it’s still Brooklyn, it’s just a little different.
P: What message do you hope to give the viewers of this documentary?
KH: We want to inspire folks to go out and be proud of where they’re from, and shout out where you’re from. You never know who else is from there, and again in a perfect world, it would inspire other documentaries like “Where Fresno, California At?” “Where Dallas, Texas At?”, you know? Where ever you’re from, be proud of it, thats the message. Be proud of where you’re from, and dig up all the information that you can find about it, and make sure you keep the culture alive.
P: What is another place in the world that shares your heart along with Brooklyn?
KH: Another place that really moves me in a similar way is Paris. I love Paris. I’ve been there a few times, and every time I go, it’s the BEST time. I plan to go back, and that’ll be the next best time. I mean, there’s nothing like where you’re from and those childhood memories of seeing this and seeing that, but another place I really like in a similar fashion is Paris. And Japan also. I’ve only been to Japan once, and I couldn’t get enough, but I enjoyed Japan.
P: Where can we keep up with the progress of Where Brooklyn At?