Lee Daniels’ On Grandmother’s Advice, Being More Humble & Prince
During his recent SXSW keynote speech Lee Daniels talks getting one of his bigger breaks by Prince; the advice his grandmother gave him about growing up and being referred to as a child by Oprah. Check out a few excerpts.
Oprah Winfrey criticizing him (Daniels) for complaining about how low his initial ratings were for ‘STAR’:
Oprah said, ‘You petulant child…’ She said, ‘You still have solid numbers.’
Being in the Trump era:
We’re in difficult times. This man is where he is — he’s a reflection of who we are. He is our karma. I’m trying to explain this to my son. It’s hard to be a dad and hard to be a black dad.
Trump providing inspiration for his work:
I think some of the best art, literature, writing will come out of this. [After the election] I couldn’t sleep, but I wrote some of the best work I have ever done. I was in pain.
What his grandmother told him growing up:
You’re a faggot and black and life isn’t going to be easy.
On feeling blessed that he didn’t get HIV:
It’s a miracle I don’t have HIV. I can’t figure it out.
Getting one of his big breaks working asa P.A. on Prince’s Purple Rain:
Warner Bros. would fire me, but then Prince would hire me back. I had no filter. They were suits. I’d say, ‘No motherfucker…’ I had no idea because I hadn’t worked with anyone [in Hollywood] before.
On his childhood:
I was too pussy to sell drugs. I know what it’s like to watch friends dodge bullets, literally.
On knowing early on that he was gay:
I learned that I like men, but I knew if I expressed that difference early on, it would get me killed.
The AIDS epidemic in the 1980s:
everyone around me was dying again.
Being more grounded now:
I’m more humble now. I know there are ups and downs. I know there are far better directors out there. I’m a vessel and I’m here to pass it on to people far better than me.