If you’ve plugged into Wu-Tang American Saga series over the past two seasons, then you’re familiar with the onscreen love affair between cast members Zolee Griggs and Siddiq Saunderson who plays Shurri, a mashup of RZA’s sisters, and Ghostface Killa. The characters’ storyline takes us from their secret entanglement, which began in the first season, to a fully-blossomed romance that results in the couple becoming young parents. Through their television relationship, it is clear Griggs and Saunderson have chemistry. This dynamic duo brought that harmonious interaction, displayed on the Hulu network show, to a conversation with MADAMENOIRE.
I wanted to thank y’all for bringing such a beautiful dynamic to Wu-Tang saga because Wu-Tang: An American Saga. I think the impression is that, hip-hop is all about the dudes, you know, big male energy. I’ve been a Wu-Tang fan since inception. It was wonderful to kind of get this female perspective. I want to know about the dynamic onset and working together. How did that work together? How did y’all work together? I mean, because I feel like y’all go together in real life.
Zolee: We kind of do, like, yeah, we kind of do you already have your first. Siddiq is a really easy person to become friends with to work with professional fun, like, we have a great relationship and bond outside of the show, I am thankful that the show brought us together, because we will be locked in forever, like I have a great love for this person. So casting did an amazing job because it translates to screen beautifully. So
MN: Love it. Working with Zolee,
Siddiq: I mean, working with Zolee is difficult.
S: Nah. I’m joking. No, but I remember, you know, doing the chemistry read, which was my final, you know, final fight to get the role. Zolee had already been cast. I just remember going in and meeting her and our chemistry was kind of just there from the beginning. Now we’re in season three, and we have you know, gone from everything from our first dates, you know, when we didn’t have money on the show to making a baby. Raising babies in scenes. I feel like what Zolee said, our chemistry and our relationship outside of, you know, the workplace just made it so much easier for us to come together and tell a very important aspect of the story and show showcase this, you know, Black love and Black trust and Black family that overcome a lot of obstacles, but really hold it down for you know, our people in our communities.
MN: Absolutely. Because those stories were definitely something that we can identify right sneaking around with the homies, sister, you know, teenage love, right, and making it work and something Black love just period evolve in and that’s something that I feel like society doesn’t get to see particularly in this particular demographic, you know, the hip hop community and y’all just did that so beautifully. I want to know, also, you both are playing people who exist in the world, right? In the real world. These are not fictitious people. I think sometimes, and I’m no actress or actor, but I think sometimes when it may be easier to imagine a character. How easy or difficult was it for either one of you to embody a real person. You know, Shurrie, who I know is like, not the right name, but definitely the character.
S: I mean, for me, I realized, I lean more into the fact that it is a blessing that I’m playing somebody as opposed to it being like this pressure, this like, curse, like everything got to be perfect. Like I really worked for these past three seasons not to mimic Ghostface. But to capture his essence as a person. Straight that, as opposed to, you know, stressing myself out every moment of is these goes or is this not. I just had to kind of trust myself and trust what was going on with my peers and make that happen. Then there’s also this wealth of knowledge, this wealth of resources that I’m able to tap into, in order to kind of draw the outline of who this person is, and then also bring aspects of myself that, connect me to goals.
That was the reason why I was cast in this role in the first place you feel me, so just trusting that I think made the process easier. By season three, I was like, you know, not everything in our show is completely, you know, factual and accurate. I am really just honored that what was on the page, and honored my experiences as I was one filming them and living through them, in these imaginary circumstances, but also like treating them as if they had really happened. Then things just start to kind of grow onto each other. Like I said, that first date that happened, and you know, we were acting but like that happened however, many years ago. Now we’re doing our son’s birthday party, you know, like, it’s just like, these things have happened. And so, they’re building on top of that.
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MN: Absolutely, but I also think it speaks to yet both of us acting prowess, right? Because I felt like these were true stories. Or, you know, I know part of it is fictionalized. But I felt like everything was solid. So, Zolee how was that?
Z: I think I’m so grateful that (unclear 5:14) and his friends and family were able to you know, welcome all of us with open arms because I am playing his actual family members actually is an actual sister of his right along with Sophia and a bunch of other siblings that he has. I think the easiest part about it is I am somebody’s sister, I am a little sister, sometimes I am a big sister sometimes, I understand what it’s like to be a family member to be a girlfriend to be you know. All these different relationships that you have. So, I understand the circumstances that those relationships go through. It was it’s easy like city said to just live life and let the circumstances unfold and let you know you just take it on as it goes.
MN: The magic unfold.
Z: Yeah, just letting it unfold. Like and like you said, you know, reading the scripts every week would be so much fun to see like, okay, now what do we get to? What do we get to play with? How do we express this person, this character without making it so like,”Oh, I’m sorry, I don’t want to mess it up.” Because I’m trying to you know, perfect this person that already exists, but it’s fun.
MN: Siddiq bought the edge and Zolee bought the softness to the to these roles for season one and season two. What can you tell us about season 3? What does this this dynamic service consist of?
S: I think maturity. Yeah, I think like, that was the main thing for me this season is realizing how much how far these characters have come. Specifically, when me and Shurrie there are a while, I don’t want to give too much away. They’re instances in which trust and, you know, trust is tested and kind of having a mature mindset, you know about certain things in order to be like, Look, what we got is what we got. So, it doesn’t matter kind of where things may flow in where things may go naturally. Being so secure in what we have, is like a really dope aspect of our story and a really dope place for us to kind of land and finish this story. I think so.
Z: I would say being humble. That was the theme of season three, I would say because it’s like the rags to riches story as well. I’m not gonna spoil too much but we’re seeing a story arc from where the guys came from where the girls came from, like everybody you know, and where we end up now on a mature level. Like Siddiq said, even more financially mature and so you just get to see people get humbled in different ways family members getting humbled like all different circumstances and plus, I am still Linda Diggs’ daughter and so everybody will always get humbled when it’s time.
MN: I know that’s right. Listen, I showed up for your storyline, I promise you Valentine’s Day is coming up. It is how do you two independently or together? I don’t know. How do you celebrate Valentine’s Day? How do you celebrate love?
Z: That’s a great question. I know personally, I’m going to love on myself like I want somebody else to love on me. So I’m gonna go look at massage hot tub, relax, self-reflect, you know make dinner for myself probably hanging out with some girlfriends or something. Just being appreciative of the fact that I can do that and the fact that I’ve come this far and the fact that I’m alive and I love myself. Thank you for that question because, I can’t wait!
S: I don’t know maybe I’ll go on a date. I don’t know, you know what I’m saying? I feel like, I don’t really subscribe too much to holidays and feeling like putting too much pressure.
MN: How do you celebrate love?
S: I celebrate love every day for real. Check on my family. I’m not dating anyone right now. But if I was, I’ll take them out on a nice date or something. But you know, also like Zolee said, like self-love is so important and so just doing the things that make me feel good. Then also spreading that love and that joy. That’s my plan and that’s my plan on February 14th, and kind of for the rest of the year. I know you put out love you’re gonna get love back. I put out with this show I get so much love from the audience, and the people that participate. So, it’s all about the love.
MN: Thank you all. Thank you all for showing up. And thank you all for this amazing historical show.
Both: Thank you.
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