We’re super-pleased to welcome the one and only Olivia Charmaine Morris to Vents Magazine! Before we get started, how has your 2021 been treating you so far, Olivia?
From having a different president in office to vaccines being rolled out and proving successful, 2021 has been quite a relief compared to 2020. It’s been an amazing year so far, though it’s moving rather quickly, wouldn’t you agree?
Congratulations on the upcoming May 18 premiere of IGTV’s Season 3 of The Tea! Can you believe that you’re already on to another season of The Tea?
No, I can’t! It’s been so fun doing the show and watching the community grow.
For those not in the know, can you explain the premise behind The Tea?
The Tea is a weekly IGTV series that invites celebrity guests to relax, unwind, and participate in one-on-one, in-depth, powerful conversations in a mindful and reflective way. We talk about current events, their career journeys, wellness, and more.
What’s the difference between your efforts on The Tea and the efforts behind other similarly themed shows?
On the show, I’m committed to showcasing the voices of emerging womxn and allies. I spell “women” with an “x” to be inclusive of trans and non-binary folx. In my mind, emerging womxn inherently sit at the intersection of otherness, and they actively work towards redefining traditional roles and stereotypes. Many of the guests I bring on the show are artists and/or activists that use their platforms to stir social change.
Do you find it difficult to stand out and get noticed with The Tea, or has that come pretty easily?
I had actually never gone live before the first episode of The Tea, and I’m still getting the hang of building a social following. That said, the audience is growing organically, and I love how engaged everyone seems to be.
Over the course of three seasons of The Tea, are there any particular guests that have really stood out for you?
I’ve really loved each and every guest we’ve had on the show, but a couple of guests that have stood out include actress Lexi Underwood, who, when speaking of her career in Hollywood, wisely shared that “rejection is re-direction,” and Snowfall’s Amin Joseph, who was totally hilarious and crushed it at Snowfall trivia during our Season 2 finale.
Can you give readers some spoilers as far as what they can expect with the new season of The Tea?
We’re still in the process of confirming some guests, but I can guarantee that they’ll be even bigger personalities than in our first two seasons!
What has it been like for you in having IGTV as the home for your show?
I love Instagram! Drinking tea works well in tandem with intimate conversations between old and new friends, and Instagram Live is the perfect platform to maintain that intimacy while also being able to interact with the viewing audience.
You’re a true media mogul that is also so very down-to-earth and relatable. How do you balance the two?
I’m very self-aware and know that balance is the key to life. As much as I value my hard-earned role in the entertainment industry, I appreciate self-care, friendship, and inclusion even more.
You’re a regular on the panel discussion route; you speak on a regular basis about things that truly matter to people in this day and age, such as diversity, women in the industry, inclusivity, and creativity. Why are all of these such important subjects for you?
I know that curating mass media is a huge responsibility and one that I don’t take lightly. Because I’m black, queer, and a woman, I have a unique insight into the hardships that minorities face in this business and beyond. I truly believe that no voice is too small, and everyone not only deserves a seat at the table but opportunities to make meaningful contributions.
Aside from The Tea, what do you have coming up in the future?
I’m the Founder and CEO of Black Monarch Entertainment, a full-service production company, and we have a full slate of TV shows and feature films that we’re currently developing and pitching. One project I’m really excited about is Dreyana Grooms, a film we’re shooting this summer about the real-life journey of a girl from the Southside of Chicago and her time incarcerated for a crime she didn’t commit.
What was the genesis of The Tea? What made you so passionate about it?
Drinking tea has been a regular part of my self-care routine since I was in high school, and I love the ritual of sharing conversation over a hot cup. Like most of us during the height of the pandemic, I felt isolated and was looking for a consistent way to check in with friends and folx I admire.
Has the worldwide pandemic altered at all how you normally run your show?
I actually started the show during and in part because of the pandemic. One day I hope to have a traditional talk show on television.
Final – SILLY! – Question: Which five guests – alive or dead – do you invite for a dinner bash?
I would invite the following ladies over for a soirée: Maya Angelou, Lucille Ball, Nina Simone, Michelle Obama, and Whoopi Goldberg.