In the latest issue of ESSENCE, YBF chicks Tika Sumpter, Naturi Naughton and Rutina Wesley pay homage to 70's glamour and style. See the pics inside and hear what Naturi had to say about her role on "The Playboy Club" and if she'd ever pose nude...
With a photoshoot that's a throwback to Blaxploitation style and glamour, "True Blood" star Rutina Wesley, "Gossip Girl" Tika Sumpter, and "The Playboy Club" star Naturi Naughton went "Black & Proud" for "ESSENCE."
The ladies blended minks, afros and hot accessories, and the trio rocked designs from Tracy Reese, Gucci, Michael Kors and Tom Ford.
And outside the pages of "ESSENCE", Naturi Naughton is making a name for herself on the controversial NBC series "The Playboy Club" where she plays the first African American "bunny" hired to work at the private club. She recently talked to BlackVoices about her role.
Can you talk about your role as Brenda in "The Playboy Club"?
My character, by the name of Brenda, she's one of the first black bunnies at the club in Chicago. It's 1961, she's very ambitious, she's a very strong, opinionated young woman. And I think she's a fun, spirited girl, too. She has a good time. She doesn't let some of the negative energy affect her, but she's also very smart and she knows what's happening in the world. And she's not willing to let that stop her from dealing with the Civil Rights and so many things that affect her as being an African American in the '60s. She's very strong and willing to go for her dreams.
What attracted you to the role?
When I first read the script, "The Playboy Club" was so intriguing because it was about the first Playboy Club that opened. It was nostalgic, it was going back to the fun times in the '60s. The hair, the makeup and the bunny suit, of course -- I was really attracted to the bunny suit. I mean, it looks amazing. I was like, 'Oh, I'd love to be able to rock that.' Little did I know how tight it would be and how hard it is to wear that for hours on end. But also, with my role, she was different than just a regular girl of the '60s. I think that she had something special. Brenda, she's a go-getter and she feels like she can change the world. I was attracted to her sassiness, her confidence and sexiness. All of that is attractive and I couldn't wait to play this role, so I really was excited when I got the part.
Who would you consider to be your favorite playmate of all-time?
I don't know all of them, but actually my character was based on some of the truths of what was happening in the '60s. The first black centerfold, which is what my character is aspiring to be, was a lady by the name of Jennifer Jackson in 1965. I saw her in the magazine and she was a beautiful pinup, a beautiful black woman who was classy and just looked sexy but elegant. I would definitely give her props, especially for breaking down the barriers so that a black woman can be seen in that way. So I think she's one that stands out in my mind right now.
What is your reaction to fans asking if you would ever pose for Playboy?
As far as me doing Playboy, I don't want to confuse the lines for fans. I'm playing a Playboy bunny -- that's different from being in Playboy as Naturi Naughton. I'm a character. But I'm not saying that I wouldn't do a fun thing with the magazine if it was something respectful and tasteful. I mean hey, you never know. And at the end of the day, if it was done in a very tasteful way that I feel comfortable -- and it would have to be in character. But I definitely try to make sure that people distinguish me as Naturi Naughton from the character and being a role, just like when I played Lil Kim. It doesn't mean that I am going to do everything that my character does as Lil Kim. I love embracing my sexuality, and being sexy and looking good. Every girl wants to feel gorgeous and that's wonderful, but I definitely would always want to maintain my values and just respecting myself.
Read more over at HuffPost/BlackVoices
Also...watch Naturi talk about her role while on the set of "The Playboy Club":
Photo via ESSENCE