It’s not every day that someone can wake up and say they have worked with the very talented and influential Film Director and Actor, Tyler Perry. Meet Singer-Songwriter and Actress, Dasha Chadwick who did exactly just that. Dasha called it crossing off an item on her “Bucket List”. To live a life to the fullest and living a life of self-purpose can be one of the most rewarding fulfillments in this world. Everything that Dasha embodies is what every person dreams of doing in their lives and what better way to it is going in with a bang and featured on Oprah’s OWN Network.
In talking with Dasha, it has sparked up a real controversial topic in today’s entertainment industry and that is, how hard can it actually be for a woman of color be fully accepted and taken seriously in this game? Dasha goes in and talks about her struggles as an African-American woman in the entertainment world and how she almost gave up more than once. Dasha’s story is very influential and a road map for all other artists and actresses who chooses to follow.
To learn more about Dasha and her journey to success read interview below.
What is Dasha most known for in the entertainment industry?
I am known most for my roles on THAT Guy from Black N Sexy TV and Tyler Perry’s The Haves and the Have Nots.
What have been some of your biggest achievements in your career thus far?
I’ve been working professionally as a singer for almost 10 years now and acting for 3. It seems simple but believe it or not, in this city, people come and go every day.
How did you land the role of Darlene in Tyler Perry’s Television Series “The Have and Have Nots? How did you feel about the opportunity to work with Tyler and be on Oprah’s OWN Network?
I got the role as Darlene the good old fashion way. I went in and did an audition with Kim Coleman in Los Angeles. It was taped and sent to Mark and Tyler for review. Two weeks later, I was on a plane to Atlanta for a in-person audition , and the next day I was on set. Honestly, working with Tyler Perry was something that people in my life and family have always told me I was going to do or should do. It was actually on my bucket list. No matter what anyone says, because everyone always seems to have an opinion, I respect him with the upmost respect, because you cannot make up the kind of life he’s lived and obstacles he has overcome. To see where he is today is insane. I mean, the man was homeless and slept in his car and now he has his own studio! On set he is a consummate professional and I learned so much just from watching him. It was an honor to be involved, even if it was for just one season. And let’s not even get started with Oprah… she’s like my play auntie in my head. LOL. So to be attached to a show that’s on her network was definitely a dream.
Tell us a little about your upcoming music album “The Howard Roark Project” and when should we expect the big release?
The Howard Roark Project will be dropping on October 4th. It is my first full length project, as I have released mix-tapes, singles and EPs in the past. This album is my rebellion, if you will, to what the industry has tried to make me be. I have met many Executives, A&Rs and everyone had some opinion about how small I should be, how blonde I should be, who I should date, etc. but nobody really knew anything or talked about about music other than me needing to sound like “fill in the blank”. Everyone wanted me to be a copycat of somebody else. The Howard Roark Project is the exact opposite; it is me, it is original, it’s nothing like anybody else.
Which one do you love more, Singing or Acting and why?
Music is my first love. It’s what I’ve been doing since I was 5 and I have been writing songs since I was 12. I’ve always been involved in the acting through school, even in college I directed some productions, but music has always been my first love.
It’s to my understanding that you are also a blogger and radio host? Tell us more about that?
Yes, I started a blog a few years ago called Diary of a Starving Artist which chronicles my life lessons, industry lessons, and dating experiences here in Los Angeles. That blog has now been transformed into The Divah Diaries, which will be a live show hosted on the Bidchat Network on Tuesdays at 7 p.m. I still write in my blog but it is now called The Divah Diaries. As for the radio show, I had a radio show called Cypher Lounge Radio. My co-host, Hasahan Phenomenon who now co- produces TDD, and I manage to hustle and grind and create relationships in the business while building a listenership upwards of 78,000 people in 5 years. We have been on hiatus from the radio show but it is definitely something that I am looking to do again.
What has been your biggest struggle in breaking into the entertainment business?
I’d say my biggest struggle has been being taken seriously. The industry is very male influenced and operated and a lot of men think that because you are a woman that you are going to compromise your integrity and morals or your identity for that matter. I have had offers, for large sums of money, connections, etc. but I’ve never been the type of person who could live with myself after making such deals. So that has been a problem LOL. I also would say that the industry has become so watered down that people do not respect talent as much as they respect trends these days. I’ve been in some labels and talked with people in high positions who knew nothing about music. They were just friends of friends that got pulled in from some area of life to work in the industry because it seemed cool. It’s hard for someone who doesn’t really know about this life to understand and respect what I do.
As a black African American woman how hard has it been for you to be taken seriously in the music and film industry? What are some of the obstacles that you have to get jump through?
Girl… Honestly I feel like that has been my biggest obstacle. You’d be surprised at how many times someone will hear my album or single and say “too bad she’s black”. In the past, I’ve been asked to dye my hair blonde, I’ve been told that I need to be more like Mya, I’ve had executives tell me to my face that another for fair skinned black woman is more acceptable. So yes, my color has always been a problem. For them but not for me. Black women don’t necessarily get the cream of the crop most of the time in regards to images in media and forced representations of beauty but that is changing. We are often perceived in a light that is not true to our spirit and our abilities and some people take that and run with it. As far as in film/TV, I feel like there aren’t a lot of roles for women of color on major platforms. And the times, when there is a role for someone who is the sidekick of the lead white girl, they often don’t want her to have a certain appeal. And that’s not to take away from anybody that is looking work in these roles. More power to them. But there is a philosophy and science behind why certain women of color are placed on certain shows with certain lead characters. Now, that’s not to say that I don’t feel like there are times when I get looked over by my own people. There is such a thing as being overly Afrocentric in media. So in those instances, I feel like, because I’m not that black chick that’s willing to go all natural, rocking a dashiki, etc. then it’s hard for me to book roles on the shows that are actually pushing predominantly black casts.
Who are your inspirations in life to keep you motivated to succeed?
Honestly, besides the fact that I would be miserable if I lived my life any other way, I would say my mother. My mother is the best mother ever. She is strong, selfless and is my biggest supporter. She has sacrificed a lot for me and continues to, and there’s nothing I want more than to be able to give her back everything she’s given me plus more.
Tell us about a time where you wanted to give up and felt like you had nothing left to give. What kept you going and what was the outcome?
Girl… well this has happened to me 3 times since being in LA. LOL. I guess I will tell you about the second time I almost gave up and left. I was so frustrated with my life here in LA that I was ready to go back home to the Bay Area. It’s hard to sacrifice having a personal life, you know the house, the kids, the husband, as a means to get your career going. I was crying in my car in the parking lot of a supermarket. I had just gotten off the phone with one of my best friends. She told me that I owed it to myself to keep going and that I was meant to be where I was. She also reminded me that there was no way that my mother was going to let me move back as well. So I’m sitting in the car crying and I just start praying. I prayed to God that if I was truly supposed to stay in LA and continue fighting that he had 6 months to show me something worth me staying. It was July and I decided that if nothing happened by December then I would move back home. That year in October I booked THAT Guy in the following month I booked Tyler Perry. So to make a long story short what keeps me here is my faith in God.
For all of the young women out there who want to pursue their singing and acting careers what are the most important things for them to know before going all in?
I would say that it is so important that they know truly who they are and what they are willing to do to get what they want. If you want to be a hoe to get where you’re going that’s your call. Just know that it’s something that you have to deal with and you have to be able to sleep at night. But if you know that you want to get where you want to get the right way, you have to prepare your spirit and your mind to overcome all the adversity and all the people who are going to try to test your boundaries and limits. You have to have your faith game on fleek because it will be tried more than you can imagine. Once you’ve got that together, I would say you need to start trusting your own abilities and having fun with your craft while being dedicated to it just like you would be to romantic partner.
What current Music do you have out for your fans to listen to?
Well my single “Loving You” is available now on all platforms including SoundCloud. You can also find my previous singles and EPs on iTunes and all other outlets. We are currently giving away The Howard Roark Project via free download through SmashMouthRadio.FM . But that will only be for a limited time.
Are you currently working on any new films or being featured in other Tyler Perry Shows?
Right now my focus is working on The Divah Diaries which is launching on the Bidchat Network on September 20th at 7 p.m. PST . It’s my first time completely creating, producing and hosting my own show, so it takes a lot of my energy right now. But I am auditioning regularly so you never know, I could be talking about more than one series soon. As for Tyler Perry, I haven’t had any calls as of lately but I’m always down for TPS.
How can your supporters find you on social media and continue to give love to everything you are currently doing and working on?
You can find me on social media @TheDivineDivah . That works for Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
Watch Dasha in action on Tyler Perry’s Have and Have Nots below!