What were you doing when you were 17?
Probably somewhere finishing up high school, working a crummy summer job and trying to stay out of trouble (or look for it). But if you’re Skye Townsend the daughter of Robert Townsend, famed actor, comedian and film director, you’re busy filming and starring in an awesome BET.com web series called “8 Days a Week.” But Skye didn’t use her dad’s name or contacts to get the role. Instead, she used Beyoncé.
Starting in 2009, Townsend, now 18 by the way, posted a video to YouTube of her dead-on impression of Queen (or King) B, playing out an epically hilarious rendition of the singer’s reaction to Kanye West interrupting Taylor Swift at the VMAs. The video has amassed more than 955,000 views, spawned a second video (the hilarious post-VMA announcement of Beyoncé’s pregnancy done this year), and definitely got her name and her great sense of humor out there. “It’s been really fun to see how people react to it. It’s been great and opened so, so many doors. I know the writer of “8 Days a Week” had seen my videos and that’s how the ball started rolling. YouTube is definitely the world of opportunities if it’s used the right way. I just hope Beyoncé got a laugh out of it.”
In addition to her parodies of Beyoncé as well as recent ones of Nicki Minaj, Townsend also has an amazing voice, showing up on features for rappers like Casey Veggies and covering (and KILLING) songs like “Rolling in the Deep” and “I Hope She Cheats on You.” And now Townsend is starring in the BET web series “8 Days a Week,” based on the book The Come Up by Lyah Beth LeFlore. It is a show about a small group of ambitious 20-somethings trying to live out their dreams in Hollywood. And while most of the characters are aspiring musicians, artists, designers, managers and the like, which would be a great fit for Townsend because of her real life aspirations, instead, her character of Jade Taylor is anything but a starlet to be.
“Jade is actually studying to be a psychologist, and she’s striving to be a humanitarian. Her character is so dope because they allow her to be beautiful, intelligent, eloquent and classy. And that’s a great thing to be as a black woman shown on TV because of the current negative images. I think people will like Jade cause she’s fighting for the right things. I kind of like the challenge. I’m proud of the character, maybe she can learn to sing in season two!”
No matter how positive Jade is, there’s always some attention-grabbing drama on a show like this. But aside from the drama played out on screen during the four to five-minute episodes (short, right?), Townsend wants people to know that the show is a positive representation of young black people trying to do big things. “We’re trying to do something positive without being preachy and shoving statistics down your throat. I think people should stay tuned and they ‘ll find the show to be inspiring.” And if that doesn’t push you to check it out, you’ll be happy to know that her famous pops is a huge fan of the show and its direction.
“My dad is ecstatic. He’s always checking his Google Alerts and he’s like, “I got a Google Alert for the next episode!” He’s my number one supporter. I was always watching him and watching him learn his lines back in the day and now he’s like, “Wow, my daughter’s an actor.”
While the show currently airs, the bubbly Townsend is hoping to show off those awesome pipes she has and hopes to sing and collaborate with other young, positive artists. But her major hope right now is that you’ll tune into the web series, leave comments with your thoughts on the show, and help play a part in getting the uber-cute series on BET’s actual channel and lineup. “We’ve just had so much fun filming it and we’re all like a family. I love the show, and I think the cast is absolutely amazing. I’m excited that we got to start on the web but I’m hoping bigger things can come from it.”
Check out the premiere of the seventh episode at BET.com as well as here at Madame Noire at 7 p.m. EST. Until then, see the first six episodes below:
Episode 1 – “The World is Mine”
Episode 2 – “Can’t Hold Me Down”
Episode 3 – “Touch the Sky”
Episode 4 – “On to the Next One”
Episode 5 – “Reality Check”
Episode 6 – “Don’t Call it a Comeback”