Antonique Smith currently stars in Marvel’s Luke Cage as detective Nandi Tyler. The actress recently had a conversation with Sheen about climate change, future music, and her many blessings.

You indicated this week has been both crazy and amazing. Please expound.  

I’m in season 2 of Marvel’s Luke Cage and that premiered June 22. It is exciting to be a part of the Marvel and Netflix Family together. At the beginning of the year, I wrote my goals down and I wrote join the Marvel Family and join the Netflix Family and within six months of writing that I joined both families together. This is just crazy and amazing. Two days later a campaign that we shot, The Strong Black Lead Campaign, with Netflix premiered two days after Luke Cage came out. This whole week has been amazing cause that campaign is historic. We recreated A Great Day in Harlem photo and It’s A Great Day in Hollywood but it is about focusing on black creators and just putting it ‘Strong Black Lead’ like that’s a statement and it’s a new day. Those things happened two days from each other- the premiere of my new season and then that campaign comes out two days later.

I understand you are an advocate for climate justice and human rights. Tell us about this.

People of color are the people who are predominantly dying from pollution. We are the sacrifice zone and it’s where billion dollar companies don’t mind dropping pollution because they don’t care that it is us that they’re killing. It is okay if we get cancer, asthma, and heart disease and they do not care because they would rather make money than save lives. Climate change is being caused by the pollution that is killing people right now. Human life and our existence are so important.

The role that you are most famous for is Faith Evans in the movie, Notorious. How did you prepare for the role and discuss the impact it has had on your career?

We shot in New York and I was able to communicate with Faith. She lived in Los Angeles so I did not see her a lot while we were shooting but I got a chance to talk to her as much as I wanted. She gave me the memoirs to her book before it came out. I was really privy to all the details about anything I wanted to know. Even the thing with Tupac she said nothing ever happened. I believe her account of the story and that’s what we rolled with. She said that one thing that was really important to her and wanted it to be known was that she and Biggie genuinely loved each other. She said that people assumed she got with him because she was trying to get on. She was a well-known songwriter and was making her own money. All of the assumptions people had over the years were wrong. It was an honor to fix that narrative and bring the truth out. It got so much love and people all over the world know me from the movie and it changed my life.

When can we expect to hear new music from you?

Now is when I am about to really get back into the studio. I have a hard time juggling and I think it is because I am independent and I do not have those big budgets. I am in actress mode and now that that’s come out, I think it’s definitely time to go ahead and get back into the studio and get some new music. Everybody has been asking me about my album cause I put out my EP, “Love Is Everything.” I definitely need to finish my album.  

What is the one thing people would be surprised to know about you?

They would be surprised to know that I am kind of a big kid. I love amusement parks. My favorite thing on the planet is to go to Six Flags, Disney World, or any big amusement park. I love laser tag and video games- any of that good, clean young fun is my favorite thing. I don’t think people would think that about me.

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