AFRO: Michael, do you think women should ‘think like a man’?

ME: I don’t think it’s about ‘thinking like a man.’ I don’t think women need to change. When you hear ‘think like a man,’ it sounds like we’re saying ‘stop being a woman.’ But why would I say that, I love women, I want you to be you, I want you to be a woman. What I think we do in the film is give insight as Steve did in his book into how men think and how certain decisions are made. I don’t think a woman can think like a man, because she’s not a man.

AFRO: Steve, you said men cut deals, and women should learn how to cut a deal. Is this really necessary?

SH: The title of the book is Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man. I can’t tell you how to be a lady, but ‘think like a man’ in terms of knowing how a man is coming at you, and then act accordingly. That’s really the secret here. If you always act like a lady, you always have the edge. What I give you is the tools to think like a man so that you can make some adjustments.

AFRO: I love your work (SH), but I thought the end of your movie was too predictable. I didn’t consider the end of your movie very real, because everybody was happy. Did you?

SH: There are 4 happy couples in the world (in the movie). There are happy people out there. There is a way to get it (happiness). I thought it was very real in that some conclusions were made on both sides: both of the people wanted the same thing.

AFRO: What made you choose Dominic (Michael Ealy) to be the main male character of the movie? Does he represent the corrected person in you?

SH: He (Dominic) represents a lot of men who are dreamers, who sometimes doctored the resume a bit to get the original girl, we’ve all had it. He’s (Ealy) the perfect guy for the role.

AFRO: How do you expect all women to relate to this movie? What is this movie really about?

SH: As together as you (women) are, you can relate to one of those women on that screen at one point in time in your life. Every woman is Meagan Good. Every woman meets the Romany Malco who just wants to hit it and move on. Every woman tries to determine if her goods are going to be passed out now or if she’s going to make him work for it a little bit. And every guy has to have that moment that Romany Malco has, when he walked away from the door and says that Good is crazy. To lose her is what this movie is about. Every single living man will eventually arrive at all the points of all of them (male characters). Kevin Hart took his ass back home. Michael Ealy gave this woman a second chance that played him for Morris Chestnut. Romany Malco discovered he really wanted to be loved and Meagan Good was the chick that was worth giving up being a player for. Terrence J. gave up being a Mama’s boy because there was a woman with this little boy who made him feel more like a man than being a man with his Mama. Now who do you know that ain’t one of them? And every woman has had a guy that’s non-committal. So everybody was in the movie, including you.

AFRO: With that being said, are you (SH) trying to heal a nation of women, what are you trying to do?
SH: I just tried to empower women. I wrote the book intended for my daughters. This is a father (saying) what I would say to my daughters. I wouldn’t tell my daughters half-truths, I wanted them to know the whole truth. I don’t want my daughters half-hurt by some dude by not knowing. I gave all that I could to empower my daughters. I had no idea, that 3 million women later, would buy the book.

AFRO: Does the movie really fulfill the purpose of why you wrote the book?
SH: Yes. The book had a very positive ending in all cases. I try to share with women that they are far more powerful; to stop giving away your power, that you (women) control the relationship. Here’s the deal: a man can’t hold your hand unless you let him. We can’t get kiss you unless you open your mouth. We can’t lay you down to bed unless you pull back the covers. See, you (women) control all of that.

AFRO: You are really speaking to women that have been used and abused.
SH: No, I’m talking to women that are trying to get it right. I’m talking to women who are in relationships. This ain’t about used and abused, this is just about understanding the mindset of men. See, men aren’t bad guys. If you just understood the rules we play by, it would aid you greatly. But you (women) keep thinking that we’re doing it (relationships) by the same rules you are doing it by, and we’re not.

AFRO: If moviegoers did not read your book, will that affect their understanding of the movie?
SH: You need to get the book, so that you can see what the deal is. I’m not saying that you need the book, but you will see the translation from the book to the movie. The book was purely meant to empower.

AFRO: Mr. Ealy, I have such respect for your work because of your sincerity, your genuineness, the heart and the release of emotion you are putting forth on screen. Do you see yourself winning an Oscar?
ME: I think if that’s what you feel about my work, we’ll see what the future holds. I stopped working for awards years ago. That will send you into a dark depression.

AFRO: Even in the movie Takers, you (ME) were so serious. What drove your passion?
ME: The stakes were high (for character Jake Attica), I lost everything, I made some bad decisions.

AFRO: I see your career track (ME) as an opportunity to enlighten, similar to Denzel Washington’s path. What is the depth of you? How far does this go?
ME: Time will tell. This was probably the 1st leading man role that I have taken on since I started 10 years ago. I feel like this is just a first step. We’ll see how it goes. When Denzel was coming up, the business itself was different, an antiquated model. We don’t have that business model anymore. They aren’t just throwing money out there like that. I have to be Michael Ealy, and we must see where that takes me. I’m going to be me. But I appreciate the connection, because I have followed his (Washington’s) work religiously. I’m a huge fan. That’s a hot compliment, I appreciate that.
SH: He’s (ME) the real deal.

AFRO: You (SH) appear to be a transformed man. Who are you now?
SH: 10 years ago this conversation would have been totally different. I’m better now. I needed that transformation. I was hurting. I really have a scope of my life and what I am. For me, (hosting TBN’s Praise the Lord) was like an anvil, a refrigerator off my back. Every appearance they (TBN) ever asked me to do has been comedic, nobody ever asked me about my soul. Donnie McClurkin actually asked me some stuff that nobody has ever asked me before.

AFRO: Is this the last we’ll see from you on the silver screen about Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man?
SH: We are going to do a sequel.

AFRO: Will you work with Rainforest Films again?
SH: Nah, it’s just me and God, (laughing). I’m just messing around, I would like to! 


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