GG Townson – None Of Your Business

Words + Interview By Tyrone Davis

Over the years, actress GG Townson has been making a name for herself in the entertainment business, appearing in several online sketches and TV sitcoms, including “Everybody Hates Chris”, “Corey in the House” and Bounce TV’s “In The Cut”. Most recently, GG will be starring as Cheryl ‘Salt’ James of the legendary Hip-Hop group Salt-N-Pepa alongside actress Laila Odom. GG and I discussed her experience filming “Salt-N-Pepa”, her role in “Welcome Matt” alongside Tahj Mowry, the current state of social media and being an independent creative as well as methods she uses to become better at her craft. “Salt-N-Pepa” premieres January 23, 2021 at 8pm ET on Lifetime.

How does it feel to finally be close to the release Lifetime’s TV Mini-Series, “Salt-N-Pepa”?
I’m very excited and anxious. We put a lot of hard work and heart into this project. I want the viewers to receive the messages and enjoy the story we are telling.

Did you feel any pressure starring as Cheryl ‘Salt’ James? Also, did you get the opportunity to meet her?
Yes, there was a lot of pressure playing Cheryl. In the audition process, she had to sign off. Contrary to what social media may think from the beginning, Cheryl was an open book. She would sit with me and break down each scene and tell me the real stories behind each scene. She would be on set, giving me notes and telling me different things. I appreciated having her there and having her in my corner through this entire process.

What methods did you use to become her? Is there anything in particular you had to do?
I wouldn’t say there was anything, in particular, I had to do to prepare more or less but just listen to her stories and understand her point of view so that I knew how to react in certain scenes or for certain lines.

What was the chemistry like with you and co-star Laila Odom, who plays Pepa in the series?
The chemistry with Laila was awesome. We knew each other prior so when we both got the role, it was great. I couldn’t have imagined going through this experience with someone else.

You two obviously had to perform those classic records. How did you prepare for those performances and did they work out the way you intended once the cameras were rolling?
We did a lot of rehearsals, from dance rehearsals to performance rehearsals. Yes! I would say they turned out the way we intended. However, I haven’t seen any of the footage from those iconic moments so the first time I will see them is when you guys are seeing them as well.

What is your favorite Salt-N-Pepa record and why?
My favorite Salt-N-Pepa record would have to be None of Your Business. Today many people, especially on social media, feel entitled to know the business of other people. The song is a friendly reminder that what is going on in a person’s life is none of your business.

Is there anything significant you learned about Salt or Pepa as individuals or as a group that you didn’t know prior to working on the project?
Yes, there are quite a few things that I learned. I can’t reveal what those things are. However, I can guarantee that you all will learn things about them as individuals and as a group as well once the biopic airs.

Break down this series for us. Will this story cover the group from childhood, the origin and history of the group itself, etc.?
The timeline will start when Sandy and Cheryl met. The early forming of the group and major events that happened at the height of their career into the early 2000‘s.

Salt-N-Pepa was the first female rap group to win a Grammy. How do you feel about the wave of female Hip- Hop artists that are killing it right now?
I think the wave of female Hip-Hop artists is great because I love seeing women win. However, I wouldn’t be mad if some of them chose to share more of a positive image in some of their songs. The babies are listening at the end of the day and the example you set is everything for the younger generation.

I learned something new this week. I am very familiar with “Medley: Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In (The Flesh Failures)” but I never knew the name of the group who sang it. In what way is The Fifth Dimension connected to you?
My grandfather, Ron Townson, was one of the founding members of the fifth dimension singing group.

Being from a family with an entertainer who has already had success, how did that trickle down into you and your goals?
When I was younger, I wasn’t aware of who my grandfather was publicly. Therefore his success wasn’t prominent when I was spending time with him. As far as I was concerned, it was just me with my grandfather. When I became interested in acting, he introduced me to my first agent, who was his agent, but beyond that, he was just my grandfather. I know more about him as an entertainer and what they went through as an African-American group singing the style of music they performed and all the politics that are involved in the music industry now versus when I was younger.

“Welcome Matt” looks interesting. Tell us about this film and your role as Lisa.
The Welcome Matt film starring Tahj Mowry is about Tahj’s character who suffers from agoraphobia, which is a fear of going outside due to trauma and loss. I’m Lisa, his therapist, trying to help him overcome his fear, and in doing so we find out that Lisa needs therapy herself. They help each other in their individual journeys.

Is there anything you have learned from any of the veteran actors you have worked with that you have held on to?
I wouldn’t say veteran actors specifically because I learned great things from new actors as well. But one thing that’s consistent with both the new and veteran actors is the notion that you’re not going to please everybody. As an actor, people will have opinions about the choices you make on the screen, but at the end of the day, who is the actor? Who got hired for the job? Who was trusted by the director and the studio to bring this story to life? So, do you and keep booking!

Cornell Ross is hilarious. Break down your history with him.
I met Cornell through other content creators while we were doing sketches on Instagram. Over the years, we’ve become friends and we’ve discovered that we work well together so we do sketches every now and then.

Social media has provided a platform for creatives to be seen and heard without the help of major film companies. What are some of the differences in creating that way vs. working with a big film production?
I think one of the main differences is creative control for creating on social media platforms versus showing up and doing exactly what you are told. Another difference for me is the number of resources and reach as an independent creator versus working with a studio.

How do you feel about “cancel culture”? Does it affect the way you operate online?
I honestly think that the cancel culture is ridiculous and I can’t wait until it is over. People seem to forget that it’s okay to disagree with something or someone and move on with their lives. No, it doesn’t affect the way I operate on social media much at all. I stay in my lane, out of the drama and mostly watch cooking videos and funny reels.

How has the book, “The Power of the Actor: The Chubbuck Technique” aided in your growth as an actor and individual?
The different techniques and ways she breaks down character development, becoming a character down to mannerisms in little ticks to the specific character, the breaking down a script and creating your moment before. I think this book is beneficial for every new actor to read because getting in her class might not be easily attainable for a new actor, but the book sure is.

What are your “Top 5” sitcoms of all time?
1) The Cosby Show

2) Fresh Prince

3) Martin

4) Sex in the City

5) Friends

If you could give aspiring entertainers 3 pieces of advice, what would they be?
1) You are enough.

2) Trust your gut.

3) Don’t wait for perfection. Do it. Go after it. Get it done.

How can people connect with you on social media?
My social media handle is @GG_Smilez across all platforms. I don’t have a TikTok account.

Any last words?
Make sure you tune in to Lifetime on January 23rd at 8pm ET for the premiere of Salt-N-Pepa!


Photos By Birdie Thompson

Makeup: Anton Khachaturian w/ Mac Cosmetics

Hairstylist: Jae Angela

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Twenty4Seven Magazine Twenty4Seven Magazine is a monthly digital and quarterly print publication founded in 2009. Though we cover a little bit of everything, our primary focus is urban entertainment and lifestyle.

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