Aria Brooks – Truly Me
Words + Interview By Tyrone Davis
The TV network, Nickelodeon has been entertaining children and cultivating young talent for decades. Representing the latest generation of talent, Aria Brooks is currently a cast member of Nickelodeon’s reboot of “All That”, a comedy sketch show that I was a big fan of growing up. Aria has also appeared in 2019’s “Harriet” with Cynthia Erivo and creates music as well. She and discuss “All That”, working with veteran actor, Kel Mitchell, her upcoming music project and more. Enjoy!
I grew up a huge Nickelodeon fan and a few of my favorite shows on the network were “All That” and “Kenan & Kel”. How does it feel to have become a member of the reboot?
It feels pretty unreal that I’m continuing a legacy. It was a really successful show back in the 90’s. I am glad to be a part of it.
What has it been like working with Kel Mitchell, who is both in the reboot and an original cast member?
He is so nice and fun to work with. He brings great energy to every sketch he does so it is easy to build off of him. He knows what we are going through so he helps us whenever he can. He is a great teacher for us.
Is there anything that you have learned from Kel?
He is really focused when it comes to his work. He makes sure he gets every note the director gives him and he is not afraid to ask questions. This stands out to me because there can be a lot happening at once so you have to listen and focus.
What has been the funniest moment on set so far?
It is really funny when we mess up during filming. Even though we rehearse the lines and block a whole lot, we still flub a few times. It’s funny when we fumble with props or mix up lines. We just laugh it off and try again.
Who are some of the characters you play on the show, which do you think is most popular and why?
Out of the characters that have aired, Eureekah the Slightly Off Psychic is my most popular. She is a psychic that gets everything wrong. She is my first recurring character.
Name your “Top 5” Nickelodeon shows of all time.
My top 5 Nickelodeon shows are Sam & Cat, Victorious, The Thundermans, Henry Danger and SpongeBob SquarePants
Tell us about your Black History Month posts on Instagram. Did you accomplish what you set out to do?
I decided I wanted to post daily and highlight a different person or event in black history. I didn’t wanna focus on the negative, I wanted to show the positive and how amazing we are. I wanted to educate and empower and I think I did. I think I taught things that aren’t in textbooks.
You had a lot of great information in those posts. Which ones were most important to you and why?
The most important one to me was the one I did about Zozibini Tunzi. She is the first black Miss Universe to win from South Africa and the first woman to win with naturally textured hair. What makes it even more meaningful is that she is not what society considers “perfect”. She doesn’t have this long flowing hair with fair skin, yet she is just as beautiful. That was empowering to me.
What did you think about the Oscar winning animated short, “Hair Love”?
It left a lasting impression on me. The day I saw it, I had just complained about how I hated my hair because it was hard to manage. A few minutes after I saw the short film, both my mom and I were nearly in tears. It made us appreciate our coils even through the struggles.
Being from Atlanta, has the culture of black people thriving in all facets influenced you at all?
It is definitely influential seeing so many black people succeeding in their fields. I look up to them and hope to achieve the same success one day.
How influential have your parents been in your life and in what ways do they shine brightest?
They have been so supportive throughout this journey by sacrificing so much for me. They have helped make me a better actor and overall person. They are both music educators so they shine through their passion for teaching kids.
I was young when I saw “Roots” for the first time but my mother made sure I saw those types of projects growing up. Seeing those films early helped shape me into who I am today. Explain your experience working on 2019’s “Harriet”?
It was so great and an overall amazing experience. I knew a little bit about Harriet Tubman before I filmed but I learned so much about who she truly is through this process. Being able to stand in a real cotton field and seeing some of the things our ancestors had to go through made me a lot more appreciative of what we have today. It also gave me a strong sense of pride for my culture and how strong we are.
Tell us about your character, Anger in the film.
She is Harriet’s niece and initially, she just follows along with whatever her master says. She does not cause trouble. When Harriet came to save her, she was relieved. I felt like she gained confidence when she was rescued.
What was your most intense scene in the film and explain what was going on in your mind in that moment?
The rescue scene was the most intense. I had to hold a gun. It was kind of heavy so my hand was shaking. I was trying hard to stay focused while holding it.
I’m going to throw a few names out there. Say whatever comes to mind.
A. Zendaya – Shake it up
B. Cynthia Erivo – Harriet
C. Sammy Approved – Hair goals
What do you love most about your sisters?
We have similar interests surprisingly. We all love performing. We make up songs and dances around the house. I got them addicted to TikTok too. I also love that they are my biggest fans. They know all the words to my songs, even the ones that haven’t been released yet. They know all my lines in my All That sketches and scream EVERY time they see me on TV. It makes me so proud.
You also create music and have written and produced two records. Tell us about them.
The first one is called Truly Me. It is about being true to who you are regardless of what others want you to be. The second, Time Off is about taking a break and treating yourself.
A. Instagram or TikTok – TikTok!!!
B. Books or Movies – Movies
C. Out on the town or In the house (on your off days) – Out on the town
What is one fact about yourself that most don’t know?
Most people don’t know that I only drink water, by choice. I’ve been drinking just water since I was like six and I haven’t had soda ever in my life.
Lastly, what is next for Aria Brooks?
There is nothing set in stone yet but I would like to release an album this year. I write songs a lot and I would love to release them this year.
Follow Aria Brooks on Instagram @itsariabrooks.
Photo By: Byron Brown Photography