EXCLUSIVE | “The Upshaws” star Page Kennedy on the love for Michael Jackson and why BLM still has a “long way” to go

Given the turmoil the world is going through, television shows often offer viewers a brief moment of calm. Thanks to them, things don’t seem bad and people can relax, at least for a moment. What could be nicer than sitting back and relaxing than watching a series that is sure to get you separated. If you’re looking for something new to check out, ‘The Upshaws’ should definitely be on your list.

The story is about “A black working class family in Indiana seeks better lives and happy homes while juggling everyday struggles,” and they will leave you with a smile. MEAWW caught up with Page Kennedy, who plays on the series ‘Duck’. Here are the excerpts:


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“The Upshaws” focuses on a family struggling to make their life better. How do you see the show?

My take on the show is that it’s a fun comedy that takes a look at a Midwestern family. It’s not a typical garden variety family, but one that has more difficulty based on the family’s patriarch, his inappropriateness, and trying to improve himself. But that’s a process, and we can go through that process with it, and there is too much exhilaration.

In the series you share the frame with the legends Wanda Sykes and Mike Epps. How was your experience working with them?

They’re funny both on and off the screen. They are stand up comedians and they are brilliant at what they do. So her wit and timing are ubiquitous, even in her real and personal life. Oddly enough, Wanda is introverted even in real life. She’s a bit quiet, but when she makes a joke off-camera it’s funny.

Mike Epps as Bennie Upshaw and Page Kennedy as Duck, featured in ‘The Upshaws’ on Netflix (@ pagekennedy / Instagram)

They have worked extensively in movies and TV shows and have a style of their own. Who inspired you to act and why?

Michael Jackson. Michael Jackson inspired me to get into conversation in general. As a kid, I was a Michael Jackson fan all my life. I adore him, I love him. He made a movie called “The Wiz” in which he played the scarecrow. After seeing that, I said, “Okay, that’s what I want to do when I grow up. I want people to feel the way you made me feel. “

Platforms like Netflix and Hulu are helping people work across borders today. How does that work for you as an actor? For you, what are the pros and cons of releasing movies on these platforms?

I think it’s great. When you’re on network TV or even cable TV, to some extent you are in a box, so to speak. If you’re not in the US or watching CBS, you might not even know someone is on a particular show. However, with the advent of Netflix and the global platform, more people from all over the world will have access to you and be able to watch your show. I think streaming services and Netflix have been very useful to us.

One downside might be that there is so much content that you could get lost in the sauce because people can fry up with the excess weight of material available to them. However, if your show is one of the most popular shows, you can be at the forefront once you turn on Netflix’s suggestions and trends. And so many more people get the chance to see your show.

Is there a behind-the-scenes reminder of ‘The Upshaws’ that you would like to share with our readers? Something that will stay with you forever?

On band days, Mike comes in and brings his boombox radio and he plays all the old school jams like my parents used to hear and everyone can dance. He really gets us in the mood to prepare for the show. And so it’s always fun when he does it on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

A lot has changed since 2020. First, it was the gripping BLM movement and, more recently, the verdict of Derek Chauvin. Would you call it a victory or do you think that we as humans could do a lot more?

I think we still have a long way to go. I feel like we’ve made great strides trying to correct irreparable acts, but we still have a long way to go. Fortunately, we have the kind of people who fight for justice and within which more people, not of color, are starting to be bastions of the Black Lives Matter movement. This is where real change happens because they have the loudest voice.

What is Page Kennedy doing next? What kind of movies and TV series are there?

I just put out an important album that kind of goes with the Black Lives Matter movement. It is called “Page” and it records the black emergency as we currently know it in America. It comments on it, puts up a mirror. And it is very supportive of black men and women. It’s something everyone should hear, it’s on all streaming platforms. And yes, I have a few things ahead of me. I’m writing a book and I’ll be doing another film soon.

You can watch the trailer for ‘The Upshaws’ here.

“The Upshaws” premieres on Netflix on May 12, 2021.

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