Last night the gorgeous Tatyana Ali appeared at The Atlanta Film Festival to screen her episode of Pastport, a nuvoTV series that takes celebrities of Latino descent and follows them on their cultural, personall and emotional journey back to the countries where their families originated. In this episode, Ali, whose mother is from Panama and father is from Trinidad, visited Panama. Tatyana Ali spoke with David Magazine about the episode and whether or not she’ll record another album.
What inspired this project with nuvoTV?
I’m a very private person so I had reservations about this project. I’ve never done reality before but they [nuvoTV] approached me. Many people don’t know that my mother is Panamanian as I often play African-American characters. I wasn’t sure I wanted to do the project because it would drag up parts of my family’s past that they don’t always talk about.
How has this project changed you?
This project was really a spiritual journey for all members of my family. I’m so glad I got to do it with my sister. I feel like I can be all of myself for the very first time. It’s beautiful to claim everything you are- I’m black, I’m Latina.
It’s also helped me realize where my entrepreneurial spirit comes from. My grandfather was an electrical contractor for the Panama Canal and my uncle owns his own business. My sister and I have always wanted to do things on our own and do things our way, so to know this spirit was familial was affirming.
You grew up in the spotlight, if you could write a letter to 13- year- old Tatyana what would you say?
I actually did this for Black Girls Rock. But I would say don’t worry about what other people think. The more you shine and the more unique you are, the more people look at you sideways. Don’t sweat the haters.
We still have our copy of Kiss the Sky, any chance there is another album in the works?
In the episode I actually meet with Los Rabanes, an international superstar Reggaeton group, in an effort to do something with them. We wrote and performed a track that we are talking about releasing but the music business is really funny right now. I’m passionate about music but I would like to find a role where I could maybe act and sing.
So we need to get you on NBC’s Smash?
Check your local listings for nuvoTV and check out Tatyana Ali’s episode of Pastport or watch the video in full here.
Photos Courtesy of Corian Ellisor.