Will you be watching “Drumline: A New Beat”????
Alexandra Shipp Interview
Alexandra Shipp is enjoying a breakout year and capping it off with the lead role in “Drumline: A New Beat.” The singing/dancing entertainer who plays a drummer with a dream named Dani, recently sat down with BOSSIP to dish on the VH1 film and her time in the spotlight.
How does your character Dani pick up where Devin Miles left off in “Drumline”?
Well it’s a new beat so for Dani she comes into the school and is trying to be the first female section leader and is trying to break down all the ideas that people have about women when it comes to being in a marching band. She goes into this school trying to succeed at music and like Devin Miles she is a little bit cocky and thinks that she deserves it. Whereas you have to earn your keep on the line, so it’s a little bit like Devin Miles but it’s also a new story about Dani where she‘s trying to discover herself and learn how to be the best musician and female section leader that she can possibly be.
Will “Drumline: A New Beat” give viewers the same feeling of being at an HBCU as “Drumline”?
You do [feel like you’re at an HBCU] but this is definitely focusing on the drumline a little bit more. We’re at college but at the same time we’re in a marching band. So we wanted to make it a little bit more worldly so that everyone could be like all the girls who play the snare, all the girls who want to be in a marching band could get into it. We have some really great HBCU moments but we also have some really cool drumline moments, it’s about the camaraderie that you feel when you’re on the line with your friends. Everyone’s in sync, everyone’s feeling it.
Even though you already have a background in singing and dancing this is your first time acting in a band. What was the experience like?
It was such an intense experience. I danced before, I sang before, I thought I knew what I was getting myself into. I have such a respect for people who do this for a living because it’s not easy. It’s physically taxing on top of emotionally taxing; you’re standing in the sun and you’re like ‘I can’t move.’ I really found a love for drumming and a love for marching and a love for all of my band mates. I saw the movie and I think it really does translate. That’s the whole point of being on a drumline, is to be a part of this world, a part of this society where people love and support you but they’re also passionate about what they’re doing.
What do you have to say to “Drumline” fans who are on the fence about seeing this film?
This movie is definitely for the fans [of the original], but it’s also for the new fans as well. When I saw “Drumline” I had no idea that bands did that; I’m from the West Coast and so we don’t go as hard as they do on the East Coast especially when it comes to black colleges. I think the original fans will feel that but the new fans will be introduced into a whole new world of drumming.
What do you want people to learn from Dani?
I want girls to learn that it’s so okay to be a Tomboy, it’s so okay to go after what you want no matter what people say and what people think. I think that’s exactly what this movie’s about.
How is life for Alexandra Shipp right now?
Life is pretty good, I couldn’t be any more happy. Six months ago I didn’t know if I was going to be able to pay my rent so I’m just happy that my hard work is paying off.
Drumline: A New Beat airs TONIGHT 9/8c on VH1.