It's hard not to perk up every time "Good Times" superstar Ja'Net Dubois enters the scene, whether as Willona saying "Hey Flo!" or in one of her countless other roles. Dubois is a pop culture vortex, having played Janet Jackson's mom on the show (now on TVLand and on DVD), appearing in "Roots: the Next Generations," "Love of Life," as Tootie's Grandma in "The Facts of Life," "Kojak," "I'm Gonna Get You, Sucka," and in "Charlie's Angel's Full Throttle." The list of her credits is endless and fun to read, and I was thrilled to give her a call in the 818 to talk about wassup with Willona!
HELLO JA'NET. I WAS SO PSYCHED TO SEE YOU ON THE TV LAND AWARDS!
That was a fabulous night! I hadn't seen Sid Caesar and so many of my old friends who taught me long ago that comedy is the way to get over handicaps. They are in my heart. Seeing John Amos and Ber'Nadette and Ralph and Norman Lear under one roof was wonderful. Revisiting your past on TV every night is wonderful. I appreciate the time and I appreciate Willona and to get the award after that time is amazing. I was excited
FOR A POOR GHETTO LADY, WILLONA'S CLOTHES WERE REALLY FLY!
Rita Ridge was our designer -- and let me tell you that I had a lot of style in the 70s and I did an arrangement on the outfits she made me. I set the stage for a sharp black woman to walk through the door with style, class, humor and looks. And I did it. I think I was a help to Rita. I could be creative and expressive and bring ME to the clothes, and Norman let me be impromptu and bring me to Willona. My job as Willona was to make it right, fast and funny. It was a wonderful thing that happened. It changed the scene for the type of black woman being shown. The wigs, the hats, my everything was a dream come true. I used to teach acting in NYC and I taught the kids how to present themselves, show them the best. Every dream I had came to fruition through "Good Times," so those kids could watch me on TV and see me applying all I taught them.