By// Miya Williams
The Game may have lost two characters at the end of season five, but season six brings new faces and new energy to a show that fans cannot get enough of. JET spoke to Wendy Raquel Robinson, who plays Tasha Mack on the series, about the change in her character’s personality during season five and what we can all look forward to in season six.
Is there a premiere date set for season six?
We’re shooting season six as we speak. As of now it’s February, I don’t know the exact date.
Where does season six pick up with Tasha Mack’s storyline?
Well, it’s quite interesting. Actually you know what, this is some of the most fun I’ve had, honestly in maybe about three or four seasons. It’s picking up where we left off with Pookie (Rockmond Dunbar) and I. And then a wonderful gentleman steps back into my life and turns my world upside down! I’m definitely in a love triangle. I can’t choose and the choice has to be made for me because I’m holding on to both of them as long as I can. So it’s funny, it’s racy, it’s passionate, it’s really good; I’m having a great, great time. We’re already up to episode 12, we have 20. It’s been going great so far.
Melanie and Derwin are not returning. Can you tell me anything about the new cast members and how they are going to be integrated?
It’s very clever how they chose to do it. We pick up in season six and we’re in the midst of a draft, the NFL draft. There is a trade that happens and…. it’s like the game and the real world: people get traded and people get drafted. It just correlates in that particular way with Jay Ellis who is doing a great job. He’s a hotshot from Stanford so he’s very Ivy League educated, very smart, so he brings another savvy to it.
Lauren London plays a former child star who is pretentious in her own way because that child star money runs out very fast. So she’s still trying to live up to it. She’s in our world because we are the wives, the mothers, the girlfriends of these professional athletes and she and Malik have been friends forever. So, it’s just a wonderful blend that’s happening, that’s not too forced. They come in bringing totally different energy than both Melanie and Derwin. It’s refreshing. Of course we’re nervous. It’s a whole new show, a new post, new energy. I do like that my storyline is grounded in something that has already been there. Jason and Chardonnay (Coby Bell and Brandy), they’re back again, which is already established. So there’s familiarity and there’s also energy that’s being brought in and I think it will be refreshing. Every now and then you got to shake things up. It’s different but it’s a good different. Change is good.
Is there going to be any change in your character’s personality? Any changes in your relationship with Malik?
Wow, you know what’s interesting? I have yet to have a scene with Malik. We’re all kind of doing our own thing and our worlds cross on the football field. But he’s still my heart, we’re still cool, we talk on the phone, in terms of the show and everything, but we have yet to have on-camera scenes right now. Yea, I told you I’m in a triangle. Tasha is just doing Tasha right now and it’s been fun. We’ll always be cool but I’m not managing him so I’m really not in his world like that. When we pick back up, the season is starting so it’s a lot of football stuff, it’s a lot of guy stuff, and then, of course, there’s the girl stuff with the Sunbeams and all of that. So it’s nicely balanced, but very separate.
What can fans expect from this season? Are there any interesting elements to look out for?
Yea. Where do I start? Well with the two new characters that come in, they bring a different dynamic. Ciara is actually on, she plays Kiera’s (Lauren London’s) best friend. So that’s cute, that’s fine. All I can do is talk about me. Call me selfish, but call me maybe [laughs]! For me, it’s like “Wow, I get the best of both worlds,” so I’ve just been thinking about my thing. I’m the new Sunbeam president—I take over with that, so that’s interesting, you’ll see how that goes.
I want to say it’s really morphing. It’s still The Game, it’s still dealing with the same things: being on the field, being at the house, being the drama and being the comedy. But I do want to say the ingredients have been seasoned a little bit more. It’s interesting; I’m praying that the fans will love it and be on board and enjoy the ride as much as we’re having fun shooting it.
Were you surprised with Tasha’s storyline in season five?
You know when I first got it I was reluctant a little bit with the whole prostitute storyline, I was like “Wow, really?” I had to stop and think, “I do know a lot of high profile divas who are single and can’t get a date and how do you do that? You can’t just go on blackpepolemeet.com, you know, so what do we do?” I do know even some gentlemen who have hired escorts. So I had to put myself in the place of not judging my character, but going with the flow and the possibilities of the “what if?” Once I did that, I had a ball, but when I first read it I was like “Really? What is my pastor going to say? Cause this is so out there.” But once I surrendered to the process and accepted it in truth, as this could happen, I had a ball with it.
Working with Carl Payne [Walter ‘Cockroach’ Bradley, the prostitute], we go back to college together, we both went to Howard, so he’s a good friend of mine so I felt safe and all of that. And then me and Pookie (Rockmond Dunbar) crossing the line, going from being hoomies to exploring the possibilities, it just made so much sense to me. He’s the guy that sometimes he’s right in your face so you just don’t see it cause he’s there all the time and he’s everything you ever wanted, but we tend to look past that. But I loved our relationship. I think it was really grounded in truth because we had the history—we just played so well together. Our characters just really, really clicked. So it was fun, but it was a vulnerable season for Tasha. I’m used to being hard ass, great jokes, always got a comeback. But I did appreciate being able to be vulnerable. I think that’s where she was. We saw a very raw side to her, which gave her dimensions for me and also made her more interesting to play, so I had fun. I had a different kind of fun.
Then, of course, it’s hard because Melanie and I were not speaking for at least the first 12 episodes. So that was hard because she is my go-to girl, she’s my punching bag. When we had the fight it was intense and then when we made up it just put everything back the way it was supposed to be. It was a fun season. It was a lot of ups and downs for my character, but I really, really had a ball. Every season I’m having fun.
How did you respond to the fans’ reaction to your character in season five?
I didn’t really. Because I have thin skin I try not to get caught up into the reviews. I value what the fans say because basically they are kind of steering the ship of the show. But because it is out of my control and I trust the writing and I trust the process, I try not to read all of that stuff because I get in my head and then I’m judging my character and then it would just turn into a mess. So I surrender to the process, but I think a lot of fans enjoyed it. They were a little confused initially, because [they were thinking] “Where is Tasha’s backbone? Now she’s all lovey- dovey.” But there were some sisters that were my age, 40 plus, who got it. So because we have such a wide demographic, there is such a very diverse reaction. I think the older sisters really got it. Sometimes you have to let your guard down, to get what you want or what you need. A lot of the younger sisters were saying, “You can’t give in.” And I’m like, “Honey, I’m tired of fighting!” So yea, it was very diverse.
Are you currently working on anything else?
I always mention my non-profit because actually we’re doing a production this weekend for Footloose in Los Angeles. We’re celebrating our 15th year at Amazing Grace Conservatory. We’ve been producing and doing a lot of multi-media things. We’re a performing arts school but beyond that we give them life skills and everything else. We’ve been developing our own reality show as well as different talk show type of things. Teens and young people are really getting involved with the anti-bullying campaign. I’ve been really busy with that just trying to take it to the next level. In terms of film and all of that, no, I haven’t been able to jump on that. I’ve just been creating my own possibilities right there in LA when I’m home. So there I am now.
So it’s the holiday season, do you have a favorite way to celebrate Christmas?
I’m a big family girl; I turn into a baby. I’m really looking forward to going back home to LA. Just being with my family means so much to me. I have a small family, but a big, extended family. We all get together Christmas Eve and spend the night and Christmas Day we watch the kids open up their presents and we all sit around and catch up. It’s kind of a bummer, because I’m here till the 22nd in Atlanta. So that gives me two days to get ready—I probably won’t even get a tree this year. But I go to my sister’s house and she has a big home, so we just all get together and huddle up like we did when we were 10 and 11 years old, so I’m really looking forward to it. I know it’s corny, but I love it.
My grandmother actually, she passed on Christmas, so for years it was a really, really hard time for my family. All of my high school years, Christmas would come and it would always bring that up. But now we’ve gotten to a place of celebration and of family, so getting back to what the holidays is really about. So it’s not commercialized at all, it’s just really celebratory.
Is there anything you would like to add?
I’m just so thankful for the support, the publication as well as the fans. I just pray everybody will stick with us. It’s a game on and off the field and off the TV. It’s a game so I’m just really proud to be on this journey and I hope it continues.
The Game: The Fifth Season is now available on DVD. See how to enter for a chance to win here.