Interview with Kenyetta Lethridge

What motivated you to take up educating young people and empowering women through your career?

Over the past few years I have paid very close attention to not only the glorification of pimps and prostitutes in music, films, and television, but I have also noticed the news stories that have come out about the topic. Art imitating life? Life imitating art? I don’t know, maybe a little bit of both. I felt the need to give a voice to those who are often looked over, and expose the realities of what’s really going on behind the “hype”.

Neglect is a strong theme in ‘Innocent Flesh’ that audiences empathise with, despite the characters’ circumstances that may be looked down on. Were you specifically after this reaction during the writing process?

While writing I wanted the audience to see that love is the central theme. Love is a basic human need. What would you do for love? What happens when our children don’t get the love they need? Where do we go to seek love? These are the questions I want the audience to walk away asking. I want them to go home and love their children, so no one else can.

Between acting, writing, directing, producing and teaching you juggle many roles in your career – what would you tell young people who admire you and would like to follow in your footsteps?

First, I’m honoured that anyone would admire and want to follow in my footsteps. Nike uses the slogan “ Just Do It”. I live by this. I just do things. I don’t think about doing something, or aspire to be or do something. Just do it.

Who are some of the artists that influenced or inspired you?

There are so many. There are so many that aren’t household names. I guess I can say that I am inspired by anyone who doesn’t follow the traditional way of creating. Those who think outside of the box inspire me. I am influenced by those who are willing to have people criticize their brilliance because it’s not accepted by the masses.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

Never give up on your dreams. The day you decide to give up is the day your dream will manifest itself.