Rosie Perez seems to be going somewhere. Yesterday I shared the above link on my facebook profile. It is a non-stop smorgasbord of clips of Mrs. Perez days on as a dancer on Soul Train. Although dancing weighed heavy in my home as a part a cultural rite of passage, (one where all the kids in my families either shied away from impromptu living room performances or stepped into the lime-light of adult applauds, we all watched Soul Train. With a feverous addiction we could hear our favorite singers, see legendary R&B acts and take part in the admiration of then-current style and dance. To my surprise it would not take long to realize that Don Cornelius, who reigned emperor over what became one of the longest running television variety programs in history, created a rites of passage platform for dancers like Perez. She might have left SOUL TRAIN after flaying that same emperor/conductor with a chicken wing (see her interview with Windy Williams) still she would go on to choreograph dance routines for music videos. That craft as a choreographer would swing her on until she landed another televised spot on IN LIVING COLOR. This was the show that introduced the such luminaries as Jim Carey and Jamie Foxx. But Perez star was to shine off stage. She served as the choreographer for the newly created a dance team called THE FLY GIRLS. This is where Jennifer Lopez got her start as one of the dancers.
To trance the history of the remarkable woman is to revisit and abreast of the latest moves then and now. I knew I loved some of her performances in movies and felt she was worth a spin here on Movie Pilot. To my surprise, I became intrigued to learn more about her as I clicked and read, clicked and listened to her talk show and radio show appearances. The woman is more than beautiful to look at. She offers us a human story wherein ugly moments exist yet fail to over shadow the beauty that comes with a determined success. She speaks with a forthright and courage. Interviewee seem on guard not to disrespect her.
A rags to riches story is often how one approaches a person of color. That approach fits Perez in part but then again she also fits squarely into the annuals of the success that comes from the roots of HIP HOP. The life of a love child is not always pretty and hers came with some bumps and bruises. Perez suffered from the trauma of being born from an illicit affair, abandoned by her now deceased mother, raised in a convent and became a ward of the state of New York. She now brandishes her difficulties as badges of courage. A mixture of that Puerto Rican ancestry and a take no prisoner demeanor has caused many to misread her. Often the first to admit that it took years to acknowledge her temper and explosive tendencies were apart of a previous undisclosed dysfunction, namely PTSD, she has managed to two stepped her way into entertainment and managed to flesh out her demons while doing so.
A first-rate survivor who arrived on the cinematic stage in her debut appearance in Spike Lee's 1989 DO THE RIGHT THING, she would come to consider Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes “ the best she has worked with” in the off beat sports comedy, the 1992 WHITE MEN CANT JUMP. Perez received a academy nomination for her part in WMCJ.
One of my personal favorites was her role as the wifre of John Leguizamo in 2007 THE TAKE. Perez never seems to take on roles too far fetched for her. She always seems to fit the part.
Indeed many may take umbrage at this as she did not seem to fit the part as co-host on NBC / THE VIEW. Her 2014 arrival was hardly set in stone before her 2015 departure. During and since that time Perez published an autobiography titled Handbook for an Unpredictable Life: How I Survived Sister Renata and My Crazy Mother, and Still Came Out Smiling... and despite a history backlash about her strong accent, she is also the reader of the audio CD of this book. Perez said that she didn't initially set out to write an autobiography, but rather a book that analyses the causes and effects of child abuse.] She said it wasn't until about 6 months after the book was published and she heard responses from others that she found the experience cathartic
Cathartic is what she is. If you can stomach the violence, take a look at one of Perez's scene stealing moments in Ridley Scott's 2013 THE COUNSELOR. Perez's role as an inmate mother (Ruth) of another character serves as a linchpin to the whole story. In less than 2 mins, she seals the doom that of Michael Fassbinder's nameless character. You don't see her again in the movie, yet you can recall her performance instantly.
I found reading about Rosie Perez a cathartic experience. I am glad I gave her a spin How bout you?