Meagan Good and Laz Alonso’s acting careers have crossed sets a time or two before landing leading roles in NBC’s new Monday night drama “Deception.” Both actors starred in 2007’s Stomp The Yard as well as 2011’s Jumping The Broom, but beyond the script, Good and Alonso also share an affection and appreciation for the life and work of the late R&B icon Aaliyah. Speaking exclusively with HipHopDX, both “Deception” stars shared their thoughts on what has made Aaliyah’s legacy sustain since her tragic passing in 2001.
Good, who has stated her desire to play the role of the late R&B icon in a potential biopic, credits Aaliyah for “paving the way” for a number of women in the entertainment industry. “What I hold closest to my heart is the way that she carried herself,” she says. “To me, I feel like the way that she was perceived—especially by Black folks—is that she was our Princess Diana. She was so classy.”
“There’s a way to be sexy...without giving you all of that,” she continues. “I’m not judging anybody else. Even her at 22 [years old] got that. Me at 22 [years old], I was still trying to figure it out. Her at 22, she possessed that wisdom and she just got it.”
“She danced delicately within so many different genres,” adds Alonso.
“When she was associated with Roc-A-Fella [Records] and Dame Dash, she was also heavily loved and revered by Ruff Ryders and DMX. But she still never lost that ladyness. She never lost that dainty womanliness about her. She didn’t have to be rough. She could throw on a ski cap but still have on a half-cut shirt and her stomach out and wearing Jordans and still be a lady.
“I think Aaliyah kind of wrote the book on how to be cool but still elegant and sexy without throwing it all out there in a real ratchet and raunchy way,” he concludes. “I think girls could still learn from Aaliyah even now.”
In 2002, Alonso appeared in the video for Aaliyah’s single “I Miss You” which was filmed the year after her passing. While he quickly states that posthumous releases by The Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur “were wack,” he remains cautiously optimistic about the chances a Drake-produced posthumous Aaliyah release will meet the standards of her previous work.
“The posthumous B.I.G. and 'Pac records just didn’t have it,” he says. “I think it would be interesting to see Drake collaborate with Missy Elliot and Timbaland and see if the three of them could do a tribute album to Aaliyah considering they worked with her when she was alive. Drake is such a talented writer and artist. He’s a big fan of hers as well. I think there’s something that can be done there.”
Alonso also says he enjoyed Drake’s collaboration with Aaliyah, “Enough Said,” which was released in 2012. “I can’t front, the last song that Drake put out with him and Aaliyah sounded good,” he says. “It was a good track. I liked it. But at the same time, I don’t know if that can sustain throughout the course of an entire album. It’s yet to be seen.”
Earlier in the day Good and Alonso were joined by “Deception” co-stars Ella Rae Peck, Katherine LaNasa and Wes Brown during a “Meet The Cast” event held in the Apple Store in Manhattan’s SoHo district. The drama follows the story of police officer “Joanna Locasto” (Good) as she goes undercover to investigate the death of childhood friend and heiress to the Bowers’ Pharmaceutical empire, “Vivian Bowers.”
“Joanna was a friend of the family,” Good explained to the audience. “Her mother was the live-in housekeeper when she was between the ages of four and 17. My character left the household when she was 17 and moved to San Francisco. While she was there, her best friend [Vivian] ends up being murdered. At this point in time, I’m now a cop and basically get recruited by “Will [Moreno]” (Alonso) and have to go back into the family that raised her and find out who is responsible for her death.”
“My character was partners with [Good’s] character in San Francisco...and suspects that maybe there was some foul play,” said Alonso.
“Once she’s undercover and in the family, she does discover that it was a murder. It wasn’t just an accidental overdose. I think that’s what kind of starts the whole deception. We start finding out that every character has skeletons in the closet. Week-to-week we hate one character and fall in love with another. It changes every week. The one you didn’t like you love, and vice versa. I think that’s what makes this show so magical: Every week you’re just trying to guess who it is and it changes.”
When asked by the event moderator where she was when she learned that she landed the lead role in “Deception,” Good shared that she was leaving the hair salon when she received the call from her agents. “When they told me, I literally just started crying,” she says. “I sat in my car and cried for 30-minutes like a nerd, by myself.”