Skip to main content

King Richard or Biggie Willie?|…when your job makes space for you, Literally. *work-life-balance*


WS just keeps saving the day.

Recent Hollywood articles and interviews feature Aunjanue Ellis’ profession that it was the Award Winning Actor Will Smith who helped bump up her pay up for the co-star role of “Oracene” in Warner Brother’s Major motion picture film “King Richard”. There is no surprise here, in fact Will went out on a limb a number of his cast mates ensuring that they had proper pay, accommodation and support when camera’s weren’t rolling.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK — MARCH 15: Will Smith and Aunjanue Ellis attend the National Board of Review annual awards gala at Cipriani 42nd Street on March 15, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/FilmMagic )

Constantly ~ WS leaned into cast and crew to ensure that the work environment was a stressfree zone, “…a place of Joy” where people were free to be themselves, dive head first into their artistry and behind all the masks and PPE maintain a smile.

How do I know this? I spent the majority of the Global Pandemic as one of those people… behind a mask and camera, helping to bring this production to Audiences around world. What an experience.

Yes, Financial Wellness — is a key component to this story, less we forget how far we’ve come even for women to be able to petition for fair treatment, equal opportunity and pay. It is a fact — be in Hollywood, a corporate tech firm or a small business that labor is more gratitfying when it takes place in an environment and amongst leadership that is supportive, thatelevates and celebrates it’s team/staff rather than hand them off to clout or exposure also referred to as “perks and benefits” as an incentive for their hard work. But, you see there is so much more to bringing the Whole person into view— that actually (no pun intended) sells the picture.

What I appreciated most about working with Will, was not only the tone that he set — on set; Will’s geniuine care, love and outreach for all who were involved in the film kept us going even with mishaps, shutdowns, push backs and the gabbit of things that rose to threaten the completition of such a heartfelt story. His willingness to create space a-safe-haven for all made us be more present, feel heard, included and valued as part of this experience. As a Creative myself, I appreciated his intense search to understand his character Richard more and more using it as reflection for his own life as a Father, Paternal Figure and Leader for his Team — Westbrook.

For me, coming from the Theater. I am accustomed to “going Dark”. It’s means preparationis time before the show is about to begin and often times it means maximizing on that time to strip away yourself to put on the magic for live audiences. I would do this several times a week during my run of CATS on Broadway in Chicago. But quickly learned that if I didn’t really invest my time the necessary self-work to ensure that I was refreshed, renewed and ready to hit the stage that next go around, I was in trouble.

It’s the same with Work Breaks.

Truth be told, set life can be monotonous even with all of excitement & celebrity Buzz etc. Several takes of the same shot, angles, changes, add- ons, wardrobe changes, weather, lighting. You name it. Even Will’s charisma couldn’t hold us for that long. At some point during long shoot days, you tapped out just in the same way that you might feel after long hours working virtually on Zoom.

It’s easy to get carried away with unhealthy habits or distractions like excessive snacking, after hours binge eating at the Taco or Ramen Truck, taking a nap during lunchhour after that extra layer of Chocolate Cake that you didn’t need. And so on… Your world, on set is comprised mainly of metal trailers, bench chairs and equiptment — with you at a standstill, focused.


That’s why when I discovered the Wellness Trailer propped between the actors and grassy mat with a tent over in Westbrook land— I was over the Moon! It had to have been Will. He valued Health and Wellness immensely as part of his own journey being Richard, and challenged his team at Westbrook to take on a healthy regimen and diet during that time for a more clear mind and toned body. Who can argue with that? Your boss seeking your best health interest? Nice.

Inside… a trailer transformed, there was a small gym with weights, mats for exercise and stretch, (I lived my best life there doing GYROKINESIS®) a TV for movies and video games, a ping pong table and bean bags for relaxing. Not your average break room.

Simple. Thoughtful. Intentional.

Lounge Area w/ Entertainment Corner + GYM

This gesture, all though completely up to the indvidual to take advantage of, is an incentive that more companies could model after whether it means creating a physical space or introducing nutrition or physical wellness program for staff to encourage their progress and motivation throughout the work day. This speak volumes especially during a time where retention is no longer contingent on how well a company is doing, but instead how it’s people are doing.

It’s refreshing to hear how Aunjanue’s experience has now become a positive wind chime for Will, after years of being slammed by the tabloids concerning his personal affairs, family dynamic and misread image as an A-Lister in Hollywood. It is true what she says, “The Fight is On!” but as Black Women, who just want to live their life and love the work that they do — the fight is so much more fulflling when have the support of our Men/Brothers/Fathers standing beside us.

It’s also important for people to understand the reason why WS has had so much success and popularity through the years. It’s because he is the Complete Artist — both in front of and behind the camera one who understands the humanity is reflective of one’s character from the inside-out not just what is projected to others, polished and performed or even produced.

…to the World, take note — there is more than one way to be inclusive.

Get with it. #worklifebalance #workplacewellness #creatingspace #inclusivity #mentalhealth #brand #workculture #inclusivity #diversity #nutrition #community #team #teameffort #teamplayer #goals

Fun Times. Great Memories. All Around.


Popular posts from this blog

Yes, Work, Get Your LIFE. Street/Dance Workshop Jacob's Pillow 2020 NYC

My Life at the Pillow..." ~by JR Glover Today was a Pillow Day. As an Alumni, I traveled North to help facilitate and support the Recruitment Tour amidst other beautiful dancing bodies. It's amazing to see how we have all grown through the years as Dancers, Creatives, Choreographers, Directors and lifelong students. Even more, it's inspiring to know that we are all keeping at it--pursuing Excellence and honing our craft day by day. What was meant to be a standby experience turned out to be a Full Dance Day for me. I give thanks to my peers who encouraged me to dance. It was a risk--knowing that I had not danced or taken a technique class proper in several months. However, due to the nature of GYROKINESIS as an instructor, I never lost body awareness, posture, alignment etc. So it was just a matter of tipping over the edge again to see where my body goes....and catching it again. It was a necessary challenge in fact, with the chronic pain of Trigeminal Neuralgia and C

Keeping Dance Alive, St. Croix Arts Community Outreach

 In 2017, I was at home in Washington DC bedridden and removed from everything that I knew.  My life as a Dancer as I knew it....was no longer. I could barely walk, performing menial tasks around the house was a burden for me. I often felt faint and dizzy. My nervous system had taken a hard hit from the brutal cold winter of Chicago. The winds  shook my bones and my days of job hunting, street performing in the Chicago O'Hare Airport for bills and just aimlessly walking in the snow drove my body into a state of shock. PH. D Chenzira Davis Kahina & Ms. Charlita Charlita Schuster,  great friends discussing a paining in the UVI Cultural Center After my last gig as a Broadway Dancer, there was nothing more for me in the Windy City. I'd returned home with question in my mind and heart as to how I would move forward. I was diagnoses with a rare chronic pain condition, Trigeminal Neuralgia. The International Association for Blacks in Dance had just revamped its organization, was g

Remote Work Saves the Day!

  People tend not to understand. Being an Artist means that you get no days off. It’s a 24/7 kind of job whether a Creative Commissioning Artist, a Teacher, Administrator, Advocate or Affiliate there is no way to clock in and clock out of Inspiration. It just hits you and you have to be ready. That’s why it ’ s helpful to just check out of life and into a hotel at times. Not to vacation, but to get a good night's rest, wake up and actually get things done. Maya Angelou, Pulitzer Prize Writer said that she couldn’t write in her home because she was surrounded by too beautiful of things. I get it. There are layers to inspiration in if you’re not in the right setting it can mess with your mental space too. Follow IG: @na.bee Travelista Blog or Getaway, not to Escape Reality — but to become it.” This is one of my many #beebodi quotes about wellness vacations, remote working travel excursions. Travel is a way of life and renders culture usually inspired by the surro