Manage episode 215887488 series 2357287
Emmy-winning actress Lynn Whitfield talks about fighting for better roles in Hollywood, how she learned to be a better mother, coming to terms with aging, and finding grace through faith and family. Lynn discusses growing up in a close-knit community in her hometown of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and not really experiencing racism until high school. When she did, she says, it taught her to stand up for herself with the strength and conviction she'd learned from her mother. Lynn also shares how, as a teen, she found herself struggling to be perfect while dealing with her parents' divorce. After graduating from Howard University, Lynn headed to New York, where the entertainment business quickly taught her humility, and she realized how difficult it was to book decent acting jobs in a fiercely competitive industry. After relocating to Los Angeles and paying her dues, Lynn finally started landing bigger roles, including the legendary entertainer Josephine Baker in "The Josephine Baker Story," for which she earned an Emmy. The TV movie led to her having her daughter, Grace, whom she had after falling in love with and marrying the project's director, Brian Gibson. However, her marriage to Gibson didn't last because, she says, she didn't have a spiritual base. That's when she returned to faith, which she credits with giving her the guidance and strength to raise her daughter alone after Gibson tragically died. Today, she stars as Lady Mae in OWN's hit series "Greenleaf," a role she was initially hesitant to take but now relishes. Despite all her accomplishments, Lynn says she is constantly readjusting, always striving to find her inner truth.