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Take 5: Five Reasons Sean Combs Is Feeling It For ‘Raisin In the Son’

[IMG:L]His singular mantra to young people: “Hold onto your dreams.” Producer. Rapper. Mogul. Designer. Perfumer. Restauranteur. CEO. Marathoner. Actor. Sean Combs, international icon, clearly has the midas touch–shining a bright light on his many endeavors. It’s only fitting that he now lends his talents to a film, aptly entitled A Raisin in the Sun.

Its history is compelling and its legacy hearty. A Raisin in the Sun–a new film made for TV begat from a 2004 Broadway Tony-winning revival–has lived several incarnations before: the 1989 TV-movie, the 1961 award-winning film, and the original 1959 Pulitzer Prize-winning play by African American playwright Lorraine Hansberry. Hansberry’s drama was the first play mounted on Broadway by a black woman, and also marked the first play directed by a black director, Lloyd Richards.

Having won skeptical audiences over in his Raisin stage portrayal of Walter Lee, Combs continues to expand his own hearty professional legacy with an unquenchable thirst. As actor/producer, he now offers both older and younger audiences a new cinematic glimpse into a timeless classic about cyclical struggle and hardship that unleashes a vision of boundless hope.

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[IMG:R]On his love for Lorraine Hansberry‘s opus: 
Sean Combs: This play is more relatable to young people today because so many of them are living in these situations. First, it was an African American story, now you have white people living in trailer parks, Latinos living in impoverished areas, African Americans–there’s millions of people right now waiting for a check, a check for unemployment–a check for social security. To not be able to accomplish your dreams or feel like there are so many obstacles in your way–these are things that people are going through, and to see this family go through it is really relatable for today.

On how this story relates to his personal life–particularly as a father: 
I really related to it–ironically, people think that I can’t relate to losing $10,000–even in my real life, the story relates to me. My father was killed when I was three, so I grew up in a house with three people. When I was chasing the dream of being in the music industry, everyone thought I was crazy. They thought (his character in Raisin) was crazy to have a liquor store. The way I was feeling when I had my first son and I still hadn’t made it yet–seeing his conditions–the way that I wanted it for him. These are the things we’ve all gone through and we can all relate to the characters.

[IMG:R]On stepping into Sidney Poitier‘s and Danny Glover‘s shoes in the lead role of Walter Lee Younger:
SC: I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time–first, it was Monster’s Ball with Halle Berry–I’ve paid a lot of dues to get to this point. Every project I’ve taken on, I’ve gotten better. I’ve never done a leading role, and it really changed my life. You have to expose yourself–it’s the most work I’ve ever done. I’m very proud of it and I look forward to doing more things in the future.

On his secret to staying successful:
My belief in God and I have a great team of people behind me and around me. It helps me to focus on things–like when I did this movie, I was able to shut down everything. I turned off my Blackberry and I just focused on the movie. I have a team of people that run my various companies, so I’m able to go on tour or do artistic things that I like to do.

[IMG:L]On why he wants to expose Raisin In the Sun to a younger generation:
This is a timeless story–a story of hope and a story of love. These are the kind of stories we need in the world to balance things out. It will let them know: there are people who have gone through what you’re going through … Sometimes, things are not gonna work out, but never give up your dreams. And whether there’s good times or bad, when the chips are down, your family is going to be there. This is a love story and a story of hope. As long as young people focus on those things, they will have gotten what I want them to get.

A Raisin in the Sun costars: Phylicia Rashad, Audra McDonald, Sanaa Lathan, John Stamos

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It airs on ABC February 25th 8/7c.

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