Actress, Writer & Producer Yuri Brown: Anything But "Cursed"

Sunday, 01 April 2012 18:50 Written by  Tiffani Alexander

Actress turned producer/writer Yuri Brown, presents “Cursed”––the first supernatural television drama centered on an African American family. The series follows angel incarnate, Crystal Jones, as she juggles single motherhood and her “job” as a killer of killers, with a desire to return to heaven or “ascend.”

Here, Yuri Brown (Deliver Us From Eva, Carmen, A Hip Hopera) talks about the series, why it was important for her to create it, and why there are so few science fiction creative pieces by––and starring––African Americans.


GlossMagazineOnline (GMO): Tell me a little bit about your background – were you a writer or actress first?

Yuri Brown: I’m from Philly, and yes––I’ve always been a writer. Since I was really young, my mom would say, ‘You’re going to be a writer.’ I’m very connected to the written word. I always enjoyed writing, but I had stopped because I wasn’t inspired. For a very long time, I had no desire to write anything because I wasn’t inspired. And then, I got inspired. I still consider myself to be an actress first because that’s more pleasurable to me. However, I’m so excited to be a writer too, because I feel like my whole being is coming to where it’s supposed to be. It’s nice to be able to tell a story.

GMO: You said you’re an actress first: Did you go to school for writing or was it something you kind of fell into?

Yuri: I was an English major in college, but I never wrote a screenplay. I’d written short stories. What happened, during my acting career, I’ve read so many scripts that writing [them] almost feels like second nature.

GMO: Although there are more now, with the popularity of Twilight, The Vampire Diaries, etc. -- there are not many African Americans writing and acting in the supernatural realm. What made you want to write and star in a supernatural drama?

Yuri: I think the story has a lot of depth. I met this guy who insisted that he knew a guy that was 6,000 years old and I just thought, ‘wow, that’s so interesting.’ And it would be really neat to play someone really, really old. There’s just a lot of depth for an actor: there’s a history and an emotional memory that is just very attractive. And I also think it’s something that black people could do very well––it has a soulful side. I don’t know why there’s not more.

GMO: Tell me a little about Cursed. Where did the idea for a storyline with a killer––who is also a dedicated single mother––come from?

Yuri: Originally I was going to do a vampire idea, but then I thought that’s not really the most positive character to play. I really didn’t want to play that kind of character and I didn't want to write a script with an evil character. Then I thought playing a sweet angel, that doesn’t give much direction either; there’s nothing exciting about that either. But playing an angel that wants to go back to heaven––that’s intriguing. It’s really in parallel to a lot of our lives. We’re always trying to do better at something. Ultimately we all want to ascend. That's the story that I'm going to tell: how someone tries to make up for the past and ascend, how they deal with their character and try to turn around, and even how someone deals with a relationship with God, the creator. So, after giving it some thought, I decided to tell the story of a fallen angel.

Also, during my writing process––I had written a Vampire piece like Cursed––one of the women that worked in the Starbucks close to me, was killed, she was a black girl. I had known her for two years; she was really beautiful, and we connected. I went to her funeral and it was so painful for me; she had two kids … it was a hard funeral … And I was thinking: there’s something angelic about the black woman. We suffer so much and we deserve to have that kind of story told. There’s something angelic about everything that we are able to go through and still ascend, to still be powerful. And there’s something angelic about the character of Crystal––something angelic and powerful.

GMO: Where will we be able to see Cursed?

Yuri: What’s exciting about it is the show is going to be on TV, on stations like KDOC in LA. KDOC is a station that’s been around for a long time and has all the reruns of like Law & Order. And so Cursed is going to be coming on late night, after Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns, once a week––that’s where it’s starting. So it’s going to be organic growth on stations like that in cities that have a strong black presence.

GMO: Why do you think it is important, as an African American woman, to tell your own story?

Yuri: I think it’s important because stories help people grow. You watch a movie or TV show; you learn something, sometimes about your very own life, and it helps you grow or it helps you to aspire to something. And when you never see yourself on TV, you don’t have the opportunity to have that experience. That’s one side of it. The other side is, if you’re an actress in LA, primarily you’re going out for auditions where the roles are on the peripheral of life: the waitress, the secretary, the gopher, the wife. That doesn’t make sense. We have such heartfelt stories: we’re the mom, working really hard, growing a business, etc. We just have great stories and I’m looking forward to putting out stories that I know I’m qualified to tell.

GMO: What advice do you have for up-and-coming writers and actresses that may feel like their story won’t be of interest to the mainstream – or who feel like there are limited roles out there for them?

Yuri: Everybody’s path is different. But, at a certain point in your career, you have to want to give more. As an actress I was doing plays and things that I really enjoyed, but at a certain point I thought, ‘Where am I in all of this? These roles don’t have anything to do with me and they are not going to.’ So there’s a part of me as an artist that just couldn’t take that anymore, that wasn’t OK with that. People get to that point and they should not be afraid of it.

GMO: Anything else you want our readers to know about Cursed?

Yuri: It’s a new show, with really great actors. I’m really proud of the talent in the show and I think that’s what makes it so unique. We have an NAACP award winner; we have people who have been in several series. I think it’s a different kind of show in that way, the talent is different.

I just want them to know, you can trust me to put my heart into this––and that I think that they will enjoy it.



View the Cursed trailer below, and see cast photos and other clips at

Follow Yuri on Twitter @YuriBrown


Tiffani Alexander

Tiffani Alexander

Publisher and Editor in Chief of (GMO), Tiffani Alexander came to Chicago in the fall of 2004 to pursue her Master's degree in Arts, Entertainment & Media Management at Columbia College Chicago. Tiffani earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from the University of
 Maryland, College Park. She has worked for both Cygnus Business Media and Maher Publishing before embarking on her dream to start her own magazine. In addition to publishing GMO bi-monthly, Tiffani freelances and works as an editor on a legal journal in Washington, DC.


Tiffani can be contacted at

Follow her on Twitter: @TiffaniGMO



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