D. Woods On Her New Series, Stuck With You, Making Music After Danity Kane And Whether Or Not She Agrees With Mase About Diddy
D. Woods is back, though if you ask her, and check her credits, she really didn’t go anywhere.
Though we were initially introduced to the 34-year-old through the hit MTV series Making the Band 3, and know her best as a member of Danity Kane, her newest role is in a different capacity — as an actress. She plays a character named Mora on the UMC series Stuck with You. The project, directed and written by Patricia Cuffie-Jones, follows a popular couple who come off as #relationshipgoals to the public but are unfulfilled in their relationship and looking for something different with other people. It stars Tammy Townsend (Love Is___), Timon Kyle Durrett (Queen Sugar) and AJ Johnson (Baby Boy).
Woods worked with show creator Cuffie-Jones a few years ago on a web series and said it was a good experience. So when she reached out to her again and said she had a role in mind for her on the show, the star was on board.
“I read it and I really liked the first episode’s script that let me read,” Woods told me over the phone. “She told me what character she had in mind for me and I was like, ‘This girl is funny!’ Ironically, we have a lot in common, even though I wouldn’t do some of the things that she did [laughs].”
Woods’s character of Mora is the assistant to the main character of Townsend’s Candace. She, like everyone else, idolizes that character’s marriage, and seeks out ways to find a love like it of her own by a certain timeline.
“She’s kind of like…naive [laughs],” she said. She’s got this hopeless romantic, naive look on life and love and relationships. Something is missing though because it ain’t really working out for her [laughs]. She has it all on paper the right way, but as far as really living it out and applying it to real-life situations and actual real-life men, it’s not working out for her.”
In her quest to find love, Mora has to kiss a few frogs and at times has to do so passionately on camera. Such on-screen behavior was new for Woods, who said that at times she would have to kiss total strangers back to back due to the fact that they were filming things out of order.
“I had to prepare my mother like, ‘Mommy, I’m going to be all over these boys [laughs].’ It is new for me because I haven’t really been in love scenes and stuff. It’s always been something I’ve been nervous about, especially when you’re just meeting your co-star,” she said.
“I had not worked with these gentlemen before, but everybody was real cool,” she added. “We would talk it out, read the scene and just kind of create regular banter to break the ice or whatever and then we would figure out what each other was comfortable with. I was just laughing because this was Hot Girl Summer versus the City Boys on social media and I was like, ‘I’m having me a Hot Girl Summer, only, in fiction and on set while I’m going home by myself [laughs].’ At least Mora was getting her life.”
Bringing a character like this to life has been fun for Woods. And while going from singing to acting and committing to that full-time, including with recent on-stage work in the revival of the off-Broadway production of For Colored Girls may be a surprise to those who know of her from her girl group days, the star said she’s been a thespian since she was a kid.
“My origins if you will in the arts is theater, so I started as early as five years old,” she said. “I was acting, doing regional theater, off-Broadway, musical theater. My degree is in theater from New York University so these are all things that are altogether in my wheelhouse, being trained as an actress, being trained as a dancer, being trained as a vocalist. The way I was introduced to the mainstream entertainment industry was through music and in that situation, we weren’t really allowed to express all of our capacities because that’s not what they were selling, but that was definitely something I was pressing for in appearances in projects like Stomp the Yard and other things. People thought, ‘Oh, she’s acting now!’ Well, actually, I was acting first.”
And while acting was her first love, she made it clear that she’s not done with music, and in fact, has been releasing new tunes solo for years.
“I do everything,” she said. “My label is called Woodgrain Entertainment. You can find all D. Woods music that I’ve been releasing independent since my departure from my group, since 2009, that I’ve been putting out consistently. It’s all out on all the different streaming and digital platforms. I became my own boss and took things in my own hands so I’m constantly releasing stuff.”
“I try to find ways to merge the different worlds together because it is hard for people to understand that you do multiple things,” she added. “They usually think, oh, you stopped doing this because we see you doing that, and it’s like, no, I’m a storyteller and whether that means I’m telling the story through music, dance or drama, this is the way it’s being told now.”
As for what she thinks of her former group Danity Kane reuniting and if she had been supporting from the trio of Dawn Richard, Aubrey O’Day and Shannon Bex from afar, when I asked her thoughts, she kept it very short and honest.
“We’re not in contact with one another.”
She did, however, have thoughts to share about her years being signed to Bad Boy with the girls. I asked her about that after bringing up the fact that former Bad Boy artist Mase called out Diddy for allegedly not really being for his own artists based on the contracts he makes has them sign, in the same way he says establishments like the Recording Academy aren’t for Black artists and musicians. It took a deep breath and a moment of quiet for her to share what came out to be a positive outlook on what she, herself, dealt with as a Bad Boy artist and the way Diddy may go about things now.
“I did hear about that and I will just say I was surprised but also happy to hear that [Diddy] would make that comment on such a visible and major platform. It means that people may have matured or turned a new leaf and maybe want to do better going forward,” she said.
“I was like, well, everyone can learn from their mistakes, or maybe he’s realized there’s a better way to do it,” she continued. “A lot of times, Black people put in positions like executives, things have been done to them, so maybe they felt like they needed to do the same things to people coming behind them. Some people view business as that’s the way it has to be done because that’s how it was done to them or that’s the only way they know it to be carried out. A lot of times though, people don’t respect someone if they’re generous or not cutthroat. But you don’t have to be that way. Sometimes you’re not brave enough at the time to reinvent the wheel or start a new trend so hopefully he is now.”
“It’s kind of like, the first marriage people mess up really bad and then the second marriage they do really good,” she added. “Well, I wish I was that second wife [laughs]. She’s going to benefit from all the things you learned by messing up with me.”
Overall, Woods has no bad or even strong feelings about how things played out in the past for her career. Instead, she’s focused on Stuck with You, a new music project coming out this year called My Favorite Color, and continuing to remind people that she is more than just a singer or an actress, but a renaissance woman.
“It is my mission to continue to create a platform for my full capacity as an artist,” she said. “Of course, some things have to be in the forefront, but that doesn’t mean that anything has ever stopped.”
And it sounds like it never will.
Stuck With You, a UMC original series and dramedy, premieres Thursday, February 13 on the streaming service.