Nicole Ari Parker Speaks on Mental Health with the Premiere of A Snowy Day in Oakland
Updated: 6 days ago
By: Rashida Ashley
Tables were turned as a Snowy Day in Oakland premiered this week. Directed by Kim Bass, the show focuses on the experiences of mental health within the black community. As LaTrice (Nicole Ari Parker) steps into her power after breaking things off with her boyfriend and business partner, she decides to uproot and move her home and practice as a therapist to a predominately African American neighborhood. LaTrice balances her new move with the often uneasy viewpoints on therapy of those in her neighborhood, such as Davis (Deon Cole), Jeanette (Loretta Devine), and Theona (Kimberly Elise).
Nicole Ari Parker speaks on mental health stigmas, entrepreneurship, camaraderie, and respect of the cast members in the show.
What present mental health stigmas does the show address in the black community?
Well, the movie is about a lot of different things. Trust is a big issue. We're so isolated in our own worlds as a people. We have our own culture and our own language. Inside of that, we have our own internal emotional self-care system. It's a gentle way of encouraging us as a people to start opening up and sharing and not protecting our private space so much and realizing how collectively we are usually going through the same things and that we're self-sufficient. That is how we've survived that. It's a long road to saying it's okay to ask for help and reach out for it. So, you know, the movie is so precious and so sweet and so warm that Director Kim Bass made sure that she created an environment that said that it's okay.
What aspects of mental health does LaTrice work with for herself as the story progresses?
Inside of that story, there's also heartbreak. The boyfriend is shady. So she's on her own journey of rebuilding her trust in humanity, and love. So it's a story within a story.
What does it mean to be an entrepreneur for LaTrice? What was her set mission, and how does she balance it while interacting with her community at present?
Part of the story is just all of the small details of a woman branching out to private practice. Finding property, you know, ownership, all of those small, subliminal details about taking risks financially, personally, and professionally. And I think Kim really seamlessly put all that in there to go into a neighborhood and be like, I'm going to make the call. I'm going to lease this building. You know. It takes a lot of courage to do that, as a woman of her own character I love that Latrice did that.
Then you have all these other aspects of on the same block, you know, Kimberly Elise's character and Deon Cole's character. They had their shop. There's a lot of entrepreneurship happening. I think is a wonderful commentary on being courageous enough to follow your passion. You know, and not be afraid to own your shop.
What aspect of mental health do you find most interesting in the film and why?
All of the characters I kind of relate to. That's part of the subconscious kind of narrative that Ken was talking about. These are all parts of her. You know, I am my mother and father. I am my cousins. I am my ancestors.
So you have all these different characters at different ages in different stages in their life, that are all pieces of all of us. You know, dealing with loss, dealing with insecurity, dealing with aging, dealing with trust, dealing with old wounds. These are all separate characters in the movie. These are things that exist inside of each of us. So I just related to that part.
You know, you go to therapy over an immediate issue, but you will always touch on all the things that got you to this point. That's, I think, the beginning of the healing process.
What does it mean to be an entrepreneur for you?
It's a lot of prayer. It's a lot of belief in your product. I always think that having an aspect of service in your entrepreneurial endeavors is very important because you will always win. It's not going to be easy, but when you are trying to serve others I think that you have a better shot at success. If it's with a hair product or a skin product, or fitness product, or a book. I think that if you have that element of service, you'll go a long way.
What does this story and playing this role mean to you and those you love?
I think it just feels good to be with so many legends in the film. Loretta Devine and Marla Gibbs that was just a blessing for me. And then to be with my, you know, my peers, Kimberly Elise and I have done a couple of movies together. We always laugh and connect and talk about the craft. It was a lovely, lovely experience. We shot this movie a while ago. To have this new traction is really, really exciting for all of us.