We all watched Boris Kodjoe and Nicole Ari Parker fall in love on Showtime’s “Soul Food” fifteen years ago. The duo had electric chemistry then, and all these years later they are still going strong, having just celebrated ten years of marriage. With numerous projects under their belt, including Parker’s 2012 Broadway debut in “A Street Car Named Desire” and her role on TNT’s “Murder in the First,” as well as Kodjoe’s recent roles on Fox’s “The Last Man on Earth” and BET’s “Real Husband’s of Hollywood,” it appears that this couple is just getting started.
Today, July 6th, their new talk show “The Boris & Nicole Show,” debuts on Fox (check your local listings for exact times).
Kodjoe and Parker recently chatted with Shadow and Act about their new endeavor, their home life, and what they would be doing if they weren’t actors.
Aramide Tinubu: First of all I’d like to commend you both on your extraordinary careers. It’s been a pleasure to watch you on the big and small screens, even when I was too young to be watching you on ‘Soul Food.’ Also, congratulations on your ten year wedding anniversary, that’s an amazing accomplishment.
Boris Kodjoe: Thank you.
Aramide Tinubu: The Boris & Nicole Show is really groundbreaking. There has never been a national talk show hosted by a couple; especially not a Black couple. How important is it for our society to see this very particular perspective?
Boris Kodjoe: I think we’ve never really talked about it in that sense, because when you’re part of something like this, the true nature or the potential of what it means doesn’t become apparent until years later. Just like with Soul Food, so we can’t really worry about it at this point. We’re really enjoying the process; we’re super excited about doing it. The idea has been floating around for five years, and we’ve finally decided to bring it to Fox and they were really excited about it. So, we’re really enjoying the journey. We’re really having a great time together and we can’t wait to connect with people.
Aramide Tinubu: Recently on The Wendy Williams show, you both spoke about how talk shows are missing a male opinion since they are typically geared towards women. Do you think women are selling themselves short in terms of relationships, family and careers when they only seek the opinion of other women? Will The Boris & Nicole Show seek out a robust male audience?
Boris Kodjoe: I think that the male opinion is part of the equation. It’s always great to hear it from the horse’s mouth rather than theorizing about it. So, I definitely bring that to the table and there’s going to be a lot of discussions and arguments, because women and men in the beginning rarely agree until they find a common ground. Our goal is to get to a conclusion every time, but also represent those two individual perspectives as truthfully and honestly as we can.
Aramide Tinubu: Marriage is such a significant undertaking in life and it’s a lot of work especially when you are in the public eye. Social media has allowed us an even more intimate look into people’s lives and relationships. How has this proved challenging for your relationship? With the advent of social media how did you decide which aspects of your personal life you would share with the world?
Nicole Ari Parker: Well, I think it starts with the kids and I think there are some boundaries there that we have to respect and remember. They are in school, they have friends, and they really inform a lot of our decisions. And then from there I just post stuff that I think is funny, or that I want to share but I don’t think too much about it. I don’t think people are too interested in my naked selfie in my bathroom while I’m shaving my legs. It wouldn’t even occur to me to even post something that silly.
Aramide Tinubu: (Laughing) I think we are definitely in a society of over-sharing at this point. Going off of that, there has been a great deal of concern about the paparazzi following the children of the famous and well known. I read that when you are spending time with your children you focus your energy on them, and you are adamant about not engaging with and taking pictures with your fans. What are other things that you do to shelter your children from the limelight? Has it been very difficult to do?
Nicole Ari Parker: Well, people still come up to us and people are very respectful most of the time. It’s sometimes a little hard if we’re in Disneyland with the kids, and we’re just trying to have a family day or something. But for the most part it’s been manageable and it’s been fine. I think that what has been more important to me is my home life. And, we keep our home life really simple. We don’t bring a whole lot of drama into the house. We try not to be on our phones, we’re doing this interview while the kids are at summer camp. When we’re home we want to be present. If that’s all I can do, then I feel like that’s making a big difference because my daughter is one day going to stop asking me to read her a story at night, and I don’t want to miss that moment while I have it.
Aramide Tinubu: Oh for sure. Well, The Boris & Nicole Show will not be the first time you’ve worked together on-screen. You met while working on Soul Food, and you also have done Brown Sugar, Second Time Around, and Real Husbands of Hollywood together. Out of all of these different projects, what is your fondest memory of being onscreen together?
Boris Kodjoe: That’s a good question. You know what, one thing that we have that is amazing is that we really like each other, and we like to be around each other. We have a great time together and I think that bond, that basis of our relationship was built while doing Soul Food. So, we know how to be around each other in a professional setting, we know how to respect the work and we know how to respect each other in that environment and that’s always come in handy when we’ve worked together. So, all the BS goes out the window, the weird neurotic feelings never really occur because we know we have each other’s backs and that’s a great feeling to have. Every single time we’ve worked together is a great time. We always have a great time whether it’s Real Husbands or Second Time Around. We’ve never had a moment where we were like this was a bad decision, we’ve always had a great time and I think the talk show is going to be just like that.
Aramide Tinubu: That’s wonderful. Well, who is your ideal audience for The Boris & Nicole Show? Do you want to be speaking namely to your peers, successful career-minded individuals with families or will you also be shifting your gaze towards older millennials, those of us who might just be beginning careers or starting our families?
Nicole Ari Parker: That’s a great question! I think the thing that we bring is the mix of perspectives. So I think our audience should reflect that. I think age wise we can hit twenty-five to sixty-five because people kind of new us as kids from Soul Food, and then the next generation are all kind of where we are age wise in terms of being established in their lives and having a partner and having children. And then, there are people we can also learn from who have ten years and twenty years on us. So those are the kind of people that not only are we going to have in the audience, but also the same people that we want to hear from. You know if we’re taking about spanking, should you spank children and we’re talking about Adrian Peterson, I want to hear from the parents, the school and I want to hear from somebody like the pastor of the church that teaches the word of the Bible that says you should spank your children. I want all the perspectives, and then the social worker who says, “Absolutely not.” So, the audience and the guests are going to reflect that multiperspective.
Aramide Tinubu: Fantastic! Just to wrap things up with a fun question, I wanted to know what would you be doing If you weren’t acting or in the public eye.
Boris Kodoje: I’d be a doctor. I was always interested in medicine and I was actually a pre-med major.
Aramide Tinubu: Oh wow, that’s a super intense major.
Boris Kodjoe: Or a teacher.
Nicole Ari Parker: Yeah I was going to say I’d be a teacher.
Aramide Tinubu: Would you teach high school, grammar school, or college?
Nicole Ari Parker: I would be a high school English teacher or drama teacher.
Aramide Tinubu: That’s amazing; teaching is definitely a hard job, a very hard job.
Nicole Ari Parker: Or an archeologist!
Aramide Tinubu: (Laughing) That’s cool! That’s a totally different direction from a schoolteacher. Thank you both so much for taking the time to chat with Shadow and Act and congratulations on the show I will definitely be tuning in on July 6th.
Boris Kodjoe: Awesome, thank you so much for your time. We appreciate it.
The Boris & Nicole Show premieres today, July 6th on FOX.