Inside The Black Box Sits Down With Debbie Allen and Rob Morgan

Inside The Black Box Rob Morgan. Image courtesy Crackle/FOX SOUL
Inside The Black Box Rob Morgan. Image courtesy Crackle/FOX SOUL /

Debbie Allen of Fame and Grey’s Anatomy and Rob Morgan of Stranger Things and Don’t Look Up sat down with Inside The Black Box to discuss the racial and gender divide in the entertainment industry and rising to fame.

At the helm of the interview were hosts Joe Mortan, an actor known on Scandal, and Tracey Moore.

Debbie Allen spoke with Joe Mortan and Tracey Moore about being a dancer and choreographer and how being an understudy helped jumpstart her career.

During Debbie Allen’s discussion with Joe Mortan and Tracey Moore, she discussed her transition from acting to directing,

"“Directing was actually a natural progression coming out of choreography because on Fame there were so many directors who had no idea how to shoot, I would do all of those dance numbers for them–uncredited as a director, but I was learning, I didn’t care about that… on my very first show, on the second day, we wrapped at three o’clock and that was unheard of…”"

She also talked about working in a male-dominated industry,

"“I was born on the racial divide, hard times, trying to be yourself in a world where they want to put you in a box…it’s been a very male-dominated field for sure, but things are changing. When I took on Grey’s Anatomy–this was before ‘Me Too’ or any of that–I made it my own mission that fifty perfect of the directors that I would hire would be women. And I did that. And I also brought diversity–there had never been a black man that had directed Grey’s Anatomy…for me, I come from a big family, so I know what is is to have a village and to have support. And I know what it is to not have support because I came in–nobody in the room looked like me, nobody thought like me. So, I was bringing something to the table, which is good, but I also needed to bring people with me.”"

When Joe Mortan and Tracey Moore later spoke to Rob Morgan, he spent time talking about his career journey,

"“I feel like I’m just getting started to be honest… they say, ‘overnight success,’ but they don’t see the struggle, they don’t see the lonely nights, they don’t see you bypassing all the hangouts… because you want to be there learning character, you want to be there learning lines… when I realized this was something that I wanted to do, I said to myself ‘man, you’ve got to have a survival job’…I went to the temp agency and I got a real legit job at a banking firm…while I was there, getting paid by them, I was studying lines. And I think that was the springboard that helped me so much, because when I was going into my auditions, my bills were already paid. i was good…I walked in like, ‘ya’ll need me, what’s up?’… now, there’s 999 million movies made every day, but there’s only one Rob Morgan.”"

But success and fame do not come without adjustments, and Rob Morgan can admit that it did affect him,

"“One thing I’ve learned is there’s no shame in asking for what you truly desire…and you’ve got to love and embrace rejection in this business. If you can’t love and embrace rejection, you’re in the wrong business. And then you develop the skin to be comfortable to ask for what you desire. It’s not insulting and disrespectful to ask for what you desire. Be mindful of that, that’s real important…I don’t know if it (fame) changed me. I try to stay me…I’m in it, but I’m not of it. I was cool before Hollywood.”"

For more, you can catch Inside The Black Box every Tuesday at 5:00 PM PT / 8:00 PM ET on FOX SOUL.