Aisha HInds is the kick-azz bad gyal in Reggie Rock Bythewood’s (Biker Boyz, Daddy’s Girl, New York Undercover, Get on the Bus, Notorious) television film ‘Gun Hill’. Hinds is also unabashedly Caribbean (Grenadian descent). Hinds, no stranger to depicting strong female characters (NYPD Blue, HawthoRNe and Boston Legal), plays ‘Arlene Carter in ‘Gun Hill’ a new-aged, “gritty crime drama” shot on location in the Bronx, New York (Bythewood’s hometown). The film stars Larenz Tate.
Bythewood describes Hinds’ role in the movie as “cold blooded…she goes toe to toe with Larenz in Gun Hill”. In case you missed it, watch Aisha during the ENCORE PRESENTATION OF GUN HILL Saturday, July 12th. 8:00 p.m. (EST).
In the meantime, check out the fascinating details of how Aisha got her start in acting, her “calling” and her hilarious story about Caribbean pronunciation.
RCS: How did you get your start in acting?
Hinds: I was in an after school program in junior high school, Jackie Robinson I.S. 3 20 in Crown Heights Brooklyn, where I learned and performed tap dancing. During many of the rehearsals, I had a tendency to express more than the assigned choreography, and my tap instructor, Ms. Johnson, pulled me into her office and told me I needed an outlet that was a bit bigger than my tap shoes. (Laughing)
She pointed me in the direction of a performing arts high school, LaGuardia HS of Performing Arts, in Manhattan, where I auditioned for theater and was accepted. Without any prior knowledge of monologues, scene study, craft, I ignorantly, yet audaciously, followed the guidance given to me by Ms. J, and began my formal training there. My first “job” while in HS was working with an acting troupe called THE HEALTH WATCH PLAYERS, who rehearsed in Brooklyn, at a small office on the Junction, near the infamous Lord’s Bakery. We traveled to schools, prisons, churches, group homes, and convention centers to perform improvisations and scripted scenes about peer pressure, drugs, violence, sex, and AIDS awareness.
From the beginning, I understood the craft as a calling and a platform that was bigger than not only my tap shoes, but even myself.
I continued study at the University of Miami, and my first professional gig was playing the role of MISS MARIGOLD on the children’s television show, BLUES CLUES. She was Blues’ teacher. Full circle homage to Ms. Johnson I believe.
RCS: Did you have to audition for the role in Gun Hill? How did you get into character for this role?
Hinds: The role of Arlene Carter in Gun Hill was graciously offered to me by the amazingly talented Reggie Rock Bythewood. I have been following the Bythewood family from the time I was introduced to their work. I saw a film in NY at Urbanworld Festival titled DANCING IN SEPTEMBER. That was Reggie’s film. I fell in love with the point of view, the imagery, the storytelling, and the message. I began looking out for his subsequent projects, so when the phone call for Arlene came in, I jumped for joy at the opportunity to work with Reg. Unbeknownst to me, Reggie had been following MY work, and was a fan, which was completely flattering. He presented the script, and the role to me, citing it was an image of me that had yet to be captured on screen. He was absolutely correct, which made the project and this prospect that much more appealing. I quickly and gladly accepted the role.
RCS: What is something we would be surprised to know about you?
Hinds: I am NOT as intense as many of the roles I portray. I am the quintessential “no-nonsense” type on screen, however AISHA HINDS is quite a nut. Granted, I don’t tolerate nonsense, however, I am very light, loving, and laughing MOST of the hours in my day. Like now…(laughs). Also, pretty shocking is I still have my Christmas Tree up… #nojudgementplease
RCS: Talk about growing up with a Caribbean background? Did this impact your career and, if so, how?
Hinds: It humors me when people ask about my “accent” and where it’s from, while others are like they don’t hear an accent at all. Growing up in Brooklyn, EVERYONE is from the Caribbean. There is a constant musical score of accents going at all times if you walk through the East Flatbush area of Brooklyn where I lived. I have never known or wanted to know another way of life. My family is mostly Grenadian, and I used to visit annually with my father. He was a Pan Man, played Steel Drums every year for Carnival. The melody of our music and our speech has been pressed into the fabric of my being. At any moment, I can be caught singing my native tongue, consciously or unconsciously.
I vividly recall a role I played where I was a nurse in a hostage situation, and my dialogue was something like, “the hostages are getting miserable, what do we do?” I had NO idea that “miserable” was NOT pronounced “mizz-ah-reh-bull!” I kept pronouncing it as I had heard it all my life from my mother, father, grandmother, aunties, de whole family! Finally, on take three, the director comes over to ask me how I was pronouncing the word that was spelled m-i-s-e-r-a-b-l-e? I repeated, “mizz-ah-reh-bull!” He proceeded to offer an alternate option for the next few takes, which was the correct, non-Caribbean way of saying the word. I went home mortified, and called my parents immediately to scold them for my embarrassment.
What projects are you currently working on?
Hinds: I am on CBS’ Under the Dome, and also featured in the film If I Stay with Chloe Moretz from Kick Ass; and also Reggie Rock Bythewoods’ wife, Gina Prince-Bythewood’s new film Beyond the Lights. Amidst it all, I am reading, auditioning, and writing. I would love to write a piece for my dad one day called PAN MAN, and feature the beautiful world of the beloved Caribbean steel drums.
I hope Aisha will one day produce the “Pan Man’ movie! I, for one, will wait with baited breath. Remember to tune in tomorrow for the encore of ‘Gun Hill’ at 8PM EST on BET.
Stay connected with Aisha:
appleofhisai – Instagram
Aishahinds – twitter