Interviewed and written by Tocarra Eldridge
More than only a talented and gifted actress, Valenzia Algarin is also a charming, funny, hilarious and a down-to-earth individual. Transforming her life from the stage to the film industry, the amazing actress has appeared in stage shows such as The Piano Lesson and Laundry & Bourbon, just to name a couple. Some of her television credits include “True Blood” “SouthLand” “Cold Case” and “Love That Girl.” Today she has returned in the Second season of the Adult Swim’s “Black Jesus” with an occurring role as Detective Dianne.
Valenzia Algarin is also a spoken word artist and music artist. As a role model she continues to make a positive change in young people’s lives with her youth foundation It All Starts With A Dream, where she travels around the country to empower and inspire our youth.
I had the privilege to talk to Valenzia Algarin, who is such a wonderful person filled with joy and laughter. Here is what she has to share with the readers.
Tocarra Eldridge: What do you like most about the role of Detective Dianne in the 2nd season of the Adult Swim comedy series “Black Jesus”?
Valenzia Algarin: I loved that they added more color to her, because prior to the new season she was a little bit uptight; she was more detective. Nobody really liked her. She was crazy. This season she really let her guards down. Jesus started to make her think. He was playing with her a lot. She was dancing; she had some cocktails. This is just a new side of her; a girl who likes to have fun….not just her job! That’s what I really loved about the new season.
Tocarra: What has your experience been like working with such a talented cast and the creator of “Black Jesus”, Aaron McGruder?
Valenzia: Aaron McGruder!! (Laughs) Aaron is crazy! (Laugh) He is a crazy genius. That’s what I love to say. First off, my cast is amazing. You have John Witherspoon, Charlie Murphy and Gerald Johnson, just to name a few. It’s just the top of the line best comedian/actors – people I grew up watching. Just with that this show has allowed me to work with such icons in the industry; they’ve all become my mentors. I’m learning as I grow in more of the comedy world. Corey Holcomb is like the king of Improv! (Laughs) He’s so funny! It’s just been so much fun! It’s a scripted show, but the director allows us to have fun. Aaron is just brilliant! I couldn’t have asked for a better boss. He has given me so much advice. The first advice was, “don’t read the social media, stay away from that because you’re going to get your feelings hurt.” Because there is a lot of controversy for this show, he’s like “just don’t read it.” But of course I did anyway. (Laughs) I love to interact with fans! Luckily and happily we’ve converted a lot of those people who were naysayers and who were against us, and now they’re “Black Jesus” fans, and I’m happy about that.
Tocarra: You are also a poet and music artist. Did you always have an interest in music or was it something that you wanted to pursue during your acting career?
Valenzia: It was weird. I’m like a lot younger than my three older brothers. They were in the industry doing music, directing plays and so on. Since I was so little they would teach me the raps, and I’d be like 4 years old on stage with them rapping. I think that’s what kind of intrigued my interest for this industry. They were the ones who sort of guided me in the beginning and then I went into theatre. I have a lot to say. I’m very passionate, so I use spoken word poetry to release what I have to say. I’ve worked with and collaborated with a lot of artists, and that’s something that I’m continuing to do because that’s still kind of new to me. I do a lot of voiceover stuff like animation, commercials, etc. It all kind of flows together. Put me in front of a mic and I will let loose. I don’t always know what’s going to come out, because I am a loose cannon! (Laughs) It’s fun! It’s been a great journey.
Tocarra: You were once anticipating on becoming a big Olympic track star; however, due to a knee injury those plans were derailed. What are some of the other talents and gifts that Valenzia Algarin has that her fans may know about?
Valenzia: I can bend all the way backwards. (Laughs) Well, I think it’s so funny when I hear the word talent, because I think that everyone is talented. I’m writing a book. I love to write. I’m an advocate for the youth; I go out and speak. I’m a motivational speaker. I can really bowl. I can play pool. I am really a big athlete so I’m that girl that gets down. You may see me in heels, but I am a tomboy. When I get on the court, I love to play with the guys. I am such a basketball player. Track has always been my thing. So, put it in front of me and I’ll do it. Basically, if you tell me I can’t do something, I’m going to do it. Even if I fail badly, I’m still going to try. Oh yea, I can cook too; I’ve been cooking since I was 5 years old.
Tocarra: You also have your own foundation called It All Starts With A Dream where you inspire the youth. Would you like to talk about this initiative a little bit?
Valenzia: I started that foundation in 2012. It started off really small. I was still learning on how this worked. I just knew that I wanted to share my light and my energy for the youth. I wanted them to know that they are worth everything, and that they should never stop dreaming. It’s basically a platform to empower the youth. I go and speak at a lot of schools and the boys and girls clubs. We just ran a marathon to raise money for disabled kids. I want to be that positive role model, and be a part of that positive change for anybody’s life. You don’t have to be a kid to dream. You can be 60 and dream; it doesn’t matter, as long as you don’t stop dreaming. I feel like when you stop dreaming you stop living. I’m excited. I’m hoping to get to the point where I can give out scholarships. That’s what I’m working on right now.
Tocarra: Would you like to share any advice for young women and men who are looking to accomplish and live out their dreams and goals, however having a challenge doing so?
Valenzia: Absolutely! A few things. Basically, what I want to say is that you have the remote control to your life. If you don’t like what’s happening now, you can change the channel. Always look out of the box. Never stay within normal; always be the one jumping out of that box. Just be very open minded, allow things to come to you. See the signs, because it’s a lot of signs that come to us that we tend to miss that are actually opportunities. So if you see one go for it! Go towards your fears. Never run away from your fears. Never allow someone to write your story and tell you how to run your life or how to experience your journey as you reach your goals and follow your dreams. Whatever it is you went thru is going to be completely different from what the next person is going thru. Everyone has a different journey and purpose. Just follow your own and believe in yourself… that’s the main thing. Also, know you are enough.
Tocarra: Great advice Valenzia! Our readers will definitely receive an abundance of knowledge from your life tips. Thanks for giving such heartfelt advice.
Valenzia: Oh, thank you!
Tocarra: Can we expect any more exciting up-coming projects from you in the future?
Valenzia: Yes! (Laughs) I start shooting soon for a new movie called “Mangled Angles”. It’s based on a true story; I do play a detective in this movie as well. But, it’s very different. It’s a drama, a bit of a Sci-Fi. She basically follows a man who is a woman killer. He feels that he is doing women justice by killing them and turning them into angles and getting them away from their demons. It’s actually a true story. This really happened. There was a man who actually did this; it was long ago. It’s an intense movie. Of course I am doing cartoons as well. There is one that I am going to be working on in 2016 called “The Adventures of Wally Fresh”. I’m writing my book as well. Hopefully “Black Jesus”, we should be working on season 3. I hear good things about it.
Tocarra: Would you like to add anything in closing?
Valenzia: Just that I love the fans! We all do, and thank you so much for this interview. Also, thank the fans for sticking by us. The first season was kind of crazy…getting people to know us and accept us. Then season 2 came and everybody was so excited. We just love that everyone stuck by us, because we couldn’t do it without you. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
Last modified: May 15, 2023