Thursday, May 26, 2022

B. Slade Continues to Strengthen His Rebrand in New Play, ‘Love Actually Live’

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*The Wallis Theater in Beverly Hills had record-breaking sales this week, primarily due to sales for “Love Actually Live,” currently being performed through December 31, that stars among others, Rumer Willis.  One of the other stars of the show is B. Slade, who is showing what hard work, belief and determination can get you.

In 2010, Tonex rebranded himself as B.Slade after being blacklisted by the gospel community because of an interview in which he admitted to being what can be called “sexually fluid” (an attraction to both sexes…minus the bisexual label).  After his disclosure, all endorsements, contracts and scheduled appearances were cancelled and B. Slade was like a man without an island.  His parents and both sets of grandparents had passed away and he was all alone and at rock bottom.  There was nowhere to go … but up.   That is when he decided to rebrand himself and begin his climb back up the ladder.

In a telephone interview with B. Slade, he discussed the effort it took to start over, his new play, whether or not he is done with gospel music and his future plans.

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Slade is enjoying being part of the “Love Actually Live” cast and shared he, “likes being a part of something that is so innovative and groundbreaking” and acknowledged the work involved to, “pull off bringing literally a movie to life.” He also admits they are still ironing out the kinks saying, “Even Disneyland on the first day they opened was a disaster.” He is grateful to the For the Record (FTR) Production Company for inviting him back to be a part of this particular play.  He previously worked with FTR in 2016 on the Martin Scorcese play, “American Crime Requiem,” for which he won a Best Lead Actor in a Musical award at the Ovation Awards and was excited to be invited back to play Peter, who was portrayed in the movie by British actor Chiwetal Ejiofor.  Although the movie and therefore the play is London based, B. Slade didn’t have to adopt a British accent, which kind of surprised me when he told me.  When asked how he prepared for the role, he admitted he did very little prep work.  Other than watching the original film, he just “trusted his director.” He landed the role of Peter shortly after having starting touring with Patti Labelle and admitted it was a difficult decision to interrupt his touring, but decided to move forward with the play.

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When asked how he restarted his entire career after being so rooted in gospel, B. Slade said …

“Literally starting all over again and encouraging people who would introduce me and people who didn’t know me as B. Slade initially.  I didn’t mind if someone didn’t know B. Slade.  It’s been eight years that I’ve been shaking hands, one person at a time, meeting the people, kissing the babies like a politician, you know.  I don’t mind starting over, but it was really that and Instagram.  I’ve changed the trajectory of my career and expanded its possibilities with my thumb and Instagram.  I didn’t have a label. I didn’t have a management.  I didn’t have an agency.”  B. Slade admitted it has not been easy, saying, “there have been many peaks and many valleys, but it’s those ups and downs that let you know that that EKG machine is registering life.  If you flatline and there is nothing bad or good happening in your life, you’re probably dead.”

Speaking of dead, he admits that was an option in 2010 when he attempted suicide, but now he is really proud of himself for not giving up.

Although walking away from a successful gospel career was not an easy task, B. Slade does not regret the decision to go down another road, saying,

“I was determined not to be compartmentalized into just one genre, because I’ve always wanted to be a well-rounded, multi-genre, multi-faceted artist.  I thought it was important that if I wanted to stay relevant and have longevity, that I needed to break out.”

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He also shared that some people told him it was career suicide, thought he was crazy or B. Slade was an alter-ego ala Beyonce and Sasha Fierce.  For B. Slade, it was not an alter ego, commenting:

“I was willing to start all over as if I had never had multi-platinum albums and sellers and things like that in the gospel genre.  I was willing to forego all of that just to have the freedom and artistic emancipation that I desired.”

“I have always wanted to reach all walks of life.  That doesn’t mean I wanted to neglect my gospel roots.  I still incorporate that when I’m authentically led to share that, but I didn’t want to be limited to that, because that would limit my movie choices and the roles I could take.  When I want to do modeling or photography; certain collaborations would have been more difficult had I only remained in the gospel genre, because that community in many regards, it can be very judgmental.”  So after all the mocking and laughing at the B. Slade’s transformation, “here we are” he exclaims and continued to say, “I just saw a clip of myself on Entertainment Tonight, opposite Rumer Willis.  Who would have thought that just by taking those chances that the universe would be like, ‘okay, you’re saying yes to this okay you keep working at it and these things will happen’ and it’s been brick by brick, a slow and steady climb.”

After “Love Actually Live” concludes on December 31, B. Slade will resume touring with Patti Labelle.  In 2020, he plans to begin headlining his own tours, while continuing to tour with Ms. Labelle.  Also, be on the lookout for B. Slade on the big screen, since he is looking to make his dramatic acting debut.  Although acting is his first love and singing his least favorite talent (surprised?  I was), B. Slade can do it all.  He can sing, dance, rap, act, produce and preach.  No wonder he couldn’t be kept down and was able to, as he put it, “take control of his career” B. Slade has lost a lot, but he has also gained a lot as he continues to climb.

For tickets to “Love Actually Live” and MORE info, click here:  http://thewallis.org/love.

marilyn smith
Marilyn Smith

Marilyn Smith is a Los Angeles based writer/reviewer.  Contact her via [email protected]

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