by Editor In Chief Shawn Chavis
African American Christian/Gospel entertainment in the form of plays and film is a widely untapped market; one in which both Tyler Perry(actor, director, playwright, screenwriter, producer, author) and Bishop T.D. Jakes(pastor, writer, songwriter, playwright, filmmaker) have successfully been able to penetrate and bring to more mainstream audiences. There are many other talented producers out there who are producing Christian inspired work as well, such as Carolyn Alexander. A nurse by profession, Carolyn, along with her husband Bradley own BCB Records & Productions in Los Angeles where they write, direct, produce and compose their own theatrical and film productions. Bronze caught up with Carolyn to discuss the recent release of their first film for DVD titled “A Mother’s Love” starring Rolanda Watts and featuring Vanessa Williams.
BM: Please tell us how you got started in Christian/Gospel entertainment?
CA: My husband, Bradley Alexander has been in the entertainment industry for many years. He has played for many secular artists as well as toured on some notable Gospel stage plays as a musician. After many years of my husband using his talents and contributing to the success of other productions, I posed the question to him about mounting our own play. We had the musicians, my husband and our great producer friend, Contrella Patrick Henry new behind the scenes working of the play genre, now we just needed a script. So that’s where I came in. I took on the job of writing the script, never having written any more than a term paper in school. We mounted the show “Love Ain’t Supposed to Hurt”, taped in for DVD, just for our viewing. The audience loved it. There was a point leading up to intermission, a song I wrote entitled “Why Me” was being sang so awesomely by Bridgette Bentley, the audience went wild. People began standing to their feet and praising God so much that when editing the DVD we had to do a montage of scenes because the audience had blocked the cameras! After that show we received so many compliments and statements of how the show really ministered to them my husband stated, “you know you might have something here”, and there you have the birth of BCB Records and Productions. We went from being an independent Gospel record label (BCB Records) to our current company.
BM: You have this amazing production company, BCB Records and Productions. Please tell us a little about the work you do there.
CA: BCB Records and Productions is truly a family run business. My husband and I are co-owners. On the business side Brad usually does a lot of the talking to businesses and stores, as I am still learning all the ins and outs of the business. I do more of the researching, making initial contacts, creating marketing material. With the actual productions themselves, we are the Executive Producers and Producers on all of our projects. I am the writer and lyricist of all of our stage productions and my husband does all of the music composition and scoring.
BM: How do you and your husband maintain a healthy work-life balance together?
CA: It truly is a labor of love. We both maintain work outside of this business as well as co-parent our children. I say co-parent because to me it takes two and one entity is no more important than the other. We will be married for 21 years this August. That is an accomplishment in itself! I feel we maintain a mutual love and respect for each other, and a genuine love for God. We make time to spend together as a family with our 2 teen-aged children. We also make time to spend together as husband and wife. When one of us starts getting off track, the other will pull the reign and bring the other back on track.
BM: Carolyn, I had the pleasure of viewing your first feature film entitled A Mother’s Love starring Rolanda Watts and featuring Vanessa Williams. The entire cast did an outstanding job. How did this project come about? What do you think its impact will be within communities?
CA: “A Mother’s Love” is truly dear to my heart. In my productions I write about life situations that I have either experienced or have affected my life in one form or another. When I first wrote “A Mother’s Love” it was written as a stage play. My husband read it and thought it would make a good movie. “A Mother’s Love” is based on some of my experiences dealing with a sister on drugs and how it affected our family. My mother worked two jobs the majority of her life until she retired. In the past she was accused by one of my siblings of her not being there for us as we grew up. This statement hurt my mother so that all these years later she stills mention that. She said to me “maybe if I had been home more your sisters would not have turned out this way.” That broke my heart. My mother worked very hard to keep a roof over our heads and provide a decent life for us. I love my father, rest his soul, but he was an alcoholic and my mother did not have the support of her husband as she should; therefore her working was a necessity, not a choice. This movie is not a direct portrayal of my life, but it incorporates some of the issues and emotions I felt growing up and dealing with drug abuse in my family. It also deals with a mother trying to balance work and family, which I as a working mother struggle with constantly. I pray that my life experiences can be uses to help minister others. I am hoping that when people watch this movie they feel a sense of love and compassion for those in their family that may be struggling with an addiction of some kind. I pray they get a sense of hope for their family member, or maybe even themselves. God and family should be the priorities in life, because when everything else is gone, you will always have a family and GOD. Another think I hope they take away from the movie is the fact that Love is a powerful thing; especially a Mother’s love; which is only second to God’s love, which I myself am reminded of almost every day!
BM: If you had one important business tip to share for other women, what would it be and why?
CA: Be open to moving in a different direction. Sometimes we have one thing in mind but life may take us in a different direction. Don’t fight it. Pray about it and roll with it. I never imagined I would be writing plays and movies with my husband. We invest in real estate and I thought that was going to be our side business and I would work as a Registered nurse until retirement. I love helping people, that’s why I became a nurse. I never thougt life would take me in this direction of being a playwright as well as a screenwriter and helping people in that manner. So I would say follow your heart and do what you love to do, but keep an open mind in case God has a different plan for your life, which can only be better than what we have planned.
BM: Please tell us about any other upcoming projects you have.
CA: We currently have 4 projects on DVD. Our Gospel stage plays are “Love Ain’t Suppose to Hurt” starring awesome actor and singer extraordinaire, Anthony “Tony” Grant from Tyler Perry’s “Why Did I Get Married” and “The Marriage Counselor”; “Love Ain’t Suppose to Hurt II- The Wedding” starring Tommy Ford from the hit TV series “Martin”, and singing sensation Marcus Nelson, from the Grammy nominated group Az-Yet. We also have a live stage Gospel comedy show entitled “Laugh ‘Til It Hutz” as well as our new movie “A Mother’s Love.” We currently are in pre-production on a new movie “The First Lady” (proposed title). We feel that there is not nearly enough family-friendly, faith-based entertainment available today. We vowed to make family-friendly entertainment that has a message that ministers in some way and is enjoyable to watch! We feel if you say something is Christian, Gospel, or Faith-Based then it should be held to a different standard, and you should not see and hear the same things you see in a regular movie. I think we have done that. We have brought clean, enjoyable entertainment that has something for everyone. Stay tuned BCB Records and Productions have much more in store. Stop by our website www.bcbgospelstageplays.com and view the trailers of our projects and join our mailing list so that we can keep you informed.