As I set out to tell the story of Tony & Leo, a modern urban couple who decide to adopt a baby, I also had several goals in mind. There are a dozen things I wanted to try and say through this movie. There is a reason why people are compelled to tell their stories – aside from the fact that it is your job as an artist.
One specific goal that I had in mind was showing the world of Tony & Leo as the real world. My world is filled with people of all shapes and sizes, ages and color. And while media has gotten better – thanks to pressure from interest groups – if you don’t frequent Telemundo or BET, it’s still a very White world. I chose to set this story in Washington DC because Gay marriage is legal there, as well as Gay adoption. But mostly I chose the District of Columbia because the very rich are only blocks away from the very poor. DC is the most chocolate city per capita in the nation – yes even beating out Atlanta and Baltimore when considered in terms of population per square mile.
And that is why every Friday, when we introduce a new cast member, it tickles me beyond belief. I love the rainbow of characters that is our film. I made a concerted effort as I wrote this story to try and represent as many cultures and ethnic groups as possible, treating characters as flawed people, and not so much the obligatory Asian dude, or the Black guy. The characters of BETTER HALF represent the world, and the array of opinions, personalities and environments within which we must co-exist.
And hopefully, if we do it right, we’ll prove that we can be simultaneously different from one another yet respectful of those differences. Co-existence: is can be done!