Last month, I landed my first assignment from Time Out Magazine, the weekly arts, travel, and culture magazine that started in England in 1968 and has since spread to many cities throughout the world. My mission was to interview rising star Lakeith Stanfield about his newest film role as telemarketing rock star Cassius “Cash” Green in Boots Riley’s off-the-wall film Sorry To Bother You. Cash is a reluctant success story, an African-American man who learns to channel his “white voice” to sell products for a company called WorryFree, whose ultimate goal is to create corporate slave labor with the incentive of lifetime room and board. Sounds enticing, right? But once Cash rises up the ranks (and break his co-workers’ picket lines), he begins to question his own values. Riley’s film, based on the 2012 album of the same name by his hip-hop group The Coup, is a wild black comedy that veers into strange sci-fi territory by its third act. It’s definitely one of the most original movies you will see this year and worth checking out.
I spoke with Stanfield in person for the story, and the resultant Q&A appeared in both the San Francisco and Los Angeles print editions in slighty different forms as well as an expanded online version. Not only is it nice to see my first byline in this esteemed publication, which I’ve been reading for years, but it’s rare to see your story edited into three slightly different pieces. The online version can be found here. The two print versions are below; San Francisco on the top and Los Angeles on the bottom.