Psychobabble: Deon Richmond
A Cosby Kid Searches for the Promised Land
Harlem native Deon Richmond first came to America’s attention playing Kenny, young Rudy Huxtable’s chauvinistic preteen Bud, on The Cosby Show almost thirty years ago. He has gone on to appear in Sister, Sister, Scream 3, and numerous other productions, and is presently in the process of crowdfunding his directorial motion picture debut, Oliver’s Twist.
This is the premiere of PSYCHOBABBLE, a pseudo-psychoanalysis with no scientific merit, done strictly for entertainment purposes.
JOHN LEE FISHER: Answer the following questions and tell me the first thought that pops into your head. You're walking through the forest, is it daytime or nighttime?
DEON RICHMOND: Daytime.
You come to an animal that’s stuck in a trap. What kind of animal is it and do you stop and help it or do you keep going?
DEON: Let’s say it’s like a fox. I’d help it.
A fox can seem like a fun animal. So maybe you think people are cool — you think people are fun and exciting — and you help them —
— and they end up hurting you.
Wooow, that’s crazy. Yeah, I think that I have had that happen to me a lot. I think I have (this) naivety about me where I think — you know — when I meet someone that I think is cool, I think they're fun, and everything like that and I can become friends with them. Then I find out in the long run — this happens all the time —
Aw, man, this person ain't no fuckin’ real friend or anything like that.
You come to a cup that you drink out of. It can be made out of any type of material. What type of material is it made out of?
Is it half empty or half full?
I’d say that it’s half empty?
What’s inside of it?
You said that the cup was made out of gold. So you're materialistic, you like the finer things in life, but then you said that it was filled with water. So you like the finer things in life, but you’re looking for some kind of purity in life and on that journey, I guess, that you've gotten sort of pessimistic — like maybe you feel like there is no purity or the combination or sort of wanting the finer things in life and finding purity in life has made you pessimistic.
Oh, wow, that’s interesting. Yes, I deal with both. Because I definitely — I love the finer things in life. Even though I don't have them, I still love them and want them. That’s the gold.
But I also know that you have to keep a realistic aspect to everything you do so…that’s why I said water,
because you need water to live.
You come to an object. It can be anything in the universe you want it to be. What is it?
A weapon. A gun.
So maybe you're looking for a way to fight or defend yourself better in life or you feel like you need to fight.
I think that it is something that in (this) environment I feel like I need to have some type of defense — some type of protection — and be ready, equipped to fight the next fight.
What type of environment, like professionally, personally?
I think it’s both. I think it’s a just metaphor for everything — just to be well prepared to fight. Mostly professionally, but it’s both.
How so professionally?
Professionally because it just feels like you have to be even more equipped than someone else if you're going to fight this fight because it’s so hard to get into this space.
What, being Black or just period?
Black. It’s hard in general, shit — but Black mostly.
You think that it’s harder these days or easier? There are more Black filmmakers.
Harder because we're not growing as an industry. So because of that we're moving backwards. Your choices now are minstrel shows or nothing.
How do you feel we're not growing? We've got Empire, Twelve Years a Slave.
Twelve Years A Slave is a great movie, but Empire is some more minstrel show shit. So I don't see that as growth for actors and actresses in our world.
I like Empire. Plus, there are more Black directors now. So what do you think about that?
There’s not more Black projects so it doesn't matter.
You come to a body of water. It can be any type of body of water. What type of body of water is it?
It is an ocean.
How do you get past it?
Ooh, shit, how do I get past it? I swim because I'm a super freak athlete. (Laughter).
You said that the body of water was an ocean so you have a very large sexual appetite and then you swim through it so I guess that you are a freak. You do your thing.
(Laughter). I guess, maybe my girlfriend can answer that a little better for me, but I thought of the ocean as endless. I thought of that as the possibilities of life are endless and what you can get to (is) endless. So that’s how I was kind of looking at it. The ocean is something that’s big and vast and major. So there’s a lot of space. And that’s another thing, I like space.
So connecting it to sex or whatever, what would you say?
Uuuh, so I guess that would be… that would be accurate. I guess that’s kind of accurate. I have a very large sexual appetite.
You come to a wall. How many feet tall is the wall?
The wall is a hundred feet tall.
Is it hard to get over or easy?
I think that it’s hard to overcome. It’s not easy.
Once you get over it, what do you see?
I see kingdom.
What kind of kingdom?
A beautiful African kingdom.
A hundred feet tall, that’s really high. Most people say like ten feet, twelve feet. So you feel like you've really — maybe you have — had a lot of trials and tribulations in your life.
Yeah, yeah, I feel like that because you get to twelve feet and you realize the wall’s actually going to be a hundred feet. Then you get to twelve feet and you realize, oh shit, it’s actually not twelve feet. It’s taller. That’s what it seems like happens when dealing with life. And, from the other side of it, it protects you from outsiders.
What do you mean, protects you from outsiders?
It’s something that once you do cross over that wall — it’s not easy for everyone to cross over that wall. So once you're in that kingdom — you know — you're pretty much protected.
So you're saying that to get to where you ultimately want to go, that it’s hard to get there. So the wall isn't so much that you’ve had a hard time in life. It’s just the fact that where you ultimately want to be, you have to climb a (really) high wall and once you get (over it) it protects you, but not so much protects you. In some ways it isolates you.
It isolates you. Absolutely. You feel like when you get there it’s going to be very lonely because it’s not a lot of people there.
But it’s the promised land. So how do you feel about that?
To me it’s the place where we all would want to go if we knew and that’s why it’s so exclusive because most people don't even know it exists.
So what do you mean, most people don’t know it exists?
If there was a such thing as a promised land I think that the way we are — especially in this country. I can't speak for every country, but in this country our subconscious controls us so we don’t know that that exists because we've never been told that it exists.
You said that it was day time when you were walking through the forest so there’s something that you're afraid of.
Afraid of not being able to see or find my path.
What do you think that your path is?
You don’t want to talk about Bill Cosby, do you?
Nah, I don’t talk to people much about that really. There’s nothing else I can say.
You can see and donate to Deon’s Oliver’s Twist project here.