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Da Brat in "Set It Off," 3 Things To Know
Da Brat made her mark as a rapper during the early 90s -- the first female rap act to go platinum -- but these days she’s much more.
Born Shawntae Harris in Illinois and now residing in Atlanta, she’s a co-host on the syndicated “Rickey Smiley Morning” show on Dish Nation and a mentor on “The Rap Game.” Da Brat is still making music, but you’ll also find her on stage these days in “Set It Off,” an adaptation of the 1996 crime thriller in which she plays Cleopatra “Cleo” Sims, a role originated on screen by Queen Latifah.
“Set It Off” has been touring the country since March, and it rolls into town this weekend for five shows at Detroit’s Music Hall Center...
• Da Brat says she was surprised when she was approached by producers of the “Set It Off” play, which was written and directed by Je’Caryous Johnson. “I’ve always wanted to do some acting, but I’ve never imagined myself doing theater,” she says by phone. “I absolutely love it. It’s fun. I get nervous, but hearing the crowd roar at the end is the best part ever.”
• “Set It Off” is one of Da Brat’s “favorite films of all time,” and she reveals that she was almost a part of it. “The agency I was with actually gave me the script to play the part of Tisean, ‘T.T.’ I didn’t get it, but (Kimberly Elise) was so great. But that makes me more grateful to be part of this production and have the part that maybe I was supposed to have all along.”
• Da Brat, 44, is still making music, primarily with longtime collaborator Jermaine Dupri and mostly uploading new songs to Soundcloud. “I miss how it was back in the day when there were record labels that handled your project as opposed to the independent way most people are doing it today,” she says. “It’s harder to just put a song out by yourself. Kids today put songs on Instagram and might do well and get a lot of followers and your famous instantly. It’s not worldwide famous, but that’s enough for them. I prefer the other way -- get signed to a label and the label covers everything and gets you out there. But it’s a different time now. We all have to adapt.”
If You Go
• “Set It Off”
• Friday through Sunday, April 20-22.
• Music Hall Center, 350 Madison Ave., Detroit.
• Tickets are $69.50 and $99.50.
• Call 313-887-8500 or visit musichall.org.
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