06-23-2018  7:00 am      •     
The Skanner Report
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4

NEWS BRIEFS

AG Rosenblum Seeks Info from Oregonians

Oregon Attorney General seeks information on children separated from families at border ...

Community Forum: How Does Law Enforcement Interact With Vulnerable Populations?

Forum will focus on public safety and examine mental health and addiction issues ...

King County Council Recognizes Juneteenth

The Metropolitan King County Council recognizes a true 'freedom day' in the United States ...

Unite Oregon Hosts ‘Mourn Pray Love, and Take Action’ June 20

Community is invited to gather at Terry Schrunk Plaza at 6 p.m. on World Refugee Day ...

MRG Foundation Announces Spring 2018 Grantees

Recipients include Oregon DACA Coalition, Kúkátónón Children’s African Dance Troupe, Komemma Cultural Protection Association ...

State Supreme Court won't hear Sweet Cakes by Melissa appeal

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The Oregon Supreme Court has declined to consider the case of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, the now-defunct bakery that refused to make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple in 2013 based on the bakers' religious objections.The Oregonian/OregonLive reported Friday the Supreme...

No longer behind a mask, Eugene umpire is being recognized

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — After 31 years behind the plate as an MLB umpire, Dale Scott knows how to recognize a strike.Throwing one is, uh, another matter.When the Los Angeles Dodgers asked Scott to throw a ceremonial first pitch earlier this month, he was honored of course, but also a little...

Evacuation orders lifted in wildfire near Vantage

VANTAGE, Wash. (AP) — Evacuation notices have been lifted for residents in about 30 homes as a wildfire burning in central Washington reaches 50 percent containment.The Yakima Herald-Republic reports fire crews were hoping to fully contain the fire near Vantage and the Columbia River by...

Central Washington suicide rate rises 23 percent

YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) — On June 7, 2016, Kori Haubrich thought she found a solution to the problems that had been gnawing at her for weeks.That Monday, the Sunnyside native sat outside her Bellingham apartment struggling to figure out what she would do after graduating from Western Washington...

OPINION

How Washington’s 'School Achievement Index' Became School Spending Index

New assessment categorizes schools not by quality of education, but level of funding officials believe they should receive ...

Black Mamas Are Dying. We Can Stop It.

Congresswoman Robin Kelly plans to improve access to culturally-competent care with the MOMMA Act ...

Hey, Elected Officials: No More Chicken Dinners...We Need Policy

Jeffrey Boney says many elected officials who visit the Black community only during the election season get a pass for doing nothing ...

Juneteenth: Freedom's Promise Still Denied

Juneteenth is a celebration of the de facto end of slavery, but the proliferation of incarceration keeps liberation unfulfilled ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Chaos on the border inflames GOP's split with Latinos

When more than 1,000 Latino officials __ a crop of up-and-coming representatives from a fast-growing demographic __ gathered in Phoenix last week, no one from the Trump administration was there to greet them.It marked the first time a presidential administration skipped the annual conference of the...

Racist tropes in Ramadan TV satires anger black Arabs

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — In an attempt to capitalize on what's become a ratings bonanza for Arabic satellite channels during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, two comedies struck the wrong chord with audiences when their lead actors appeared in blackface, a form of makeup that...

AP Source: J. Cole to perform at BET Awards

NEW YORK (AP) — J. Cole is set to perform at Sunday's BET Awards.A person familiar with the awards show, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person was not allowed to discuss the plans publicly, tells The Associated Press on Friday that the rapper will perform at the...

ENTERTAINMENT

So much TV, so little summer: Amy Adams, Kevin Hart, Dr. Pol

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The fall television season is months away but that's no reason to stare moodily at a blank screen. In this era of peak TV, there are so many outlets and shows clamoring for your summertime attention that it can be as daunting as choosing between a mojito and a frozen...

Honduran girl in symbolic photo not separated from mother

NEW YORK (AP) — A crying Honduran girl depicted in a widely-seen photograph that became a symbol for many of President Donald Trump's immigration policies was not actually separated from her mother, U.S. government officials said on Friday.Time magazine used an image of the girl, by Getty...

AP Source: J. Cole to perform at BET Awards

NEW YORK (AP) — J. Cole is set to perform at Sunday's BET Awards.A person familiar with the awards show, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person was not allowed to discuss the plans publicly, tells The Associated Press on Friday that the rapper will perform at the...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Beyond World Cup: Advocates call attention to Russian abuses

MOSCOW (AP) — Wrapped in national flags, jubilant fans dance at midnight in the streets of Moscow, smiling,...

Ex-S. Korean premier Kim Jong-pil, spy agency founder, dies

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Kim Jong-pil, the founder of South Korea's spy agency whose political skills...

AP FACT CHECK: Trump's skewed claims on immigration, economy

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is distorting the truth when it comes to the impact of his...

The Latest: Malta tells aid boat with migrants to go away

BRUSSELS (AP) — The Latest on immigration issues in Europe (all times local):3:45 p.m.Malta's premier is...

Vatican convicts ex-diplomat of child porn distribution

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican tribunal on Saturday convicted a former Holy See diplomat and sentenced him...

The Latest: 1st confirmed death after Ethiopia rally blast

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — The Latest on rally for Ethiopia's reformist new prime minister (all times...

Kam Williams Special to The Skanner News

Born in Lagos, Toks Olagundoye was raised not only in Nigeria but also in Switzerland and England. The exotic Nigerian-Norwegian beauty moved to the United States to attend Smith College where she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts.

After jumpstarting her career in New York, the stunningly-attractive actress relocated to Los Angeles where within a short time she landed roles on such TV series as "NCIS," "Prime Suspect," "Switched at Birth," "CSI: NY," "Law & Order" and "Ugly Betty," to name a few. She currently stars in ABC's new hit comedy "The Neighbors" (which airs on Wednesdays at 8:30 p.m. ET/PT), playing "Jackie Joyner-Kersee," an alien from the planet Zabvron who has taken on human form to live in a gated community in New Jersey.

Toks' character is married to the community's Supreme Leader and serves as the Zabvronian equivalent of the First Lady. "Jackie" is baffled by Earth's strange customs but is more open than her stubborn husband who refuses to adapt. 

In addition to acting, Toks enjoys writing and producing films for the web and is the founder of Unlimited Ceiling, for which she's created web series like "Callbacks" and "AlphaSeries." In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, horseback riding, Pilates, archery and going to the gun range. Toks' secret talent is doing all sorts of accents from around the world.

Here, she talks about her life, career and work on The Neighbors.


Kam Williams: Hi, Toks, thanks for the interview.

Toks Olagundoye: Absolutely my pleasure! Thank YOU for the interview!

KW: What interested you in The Neighbors?

TO: Well, honestly, I love being an actor and a job is a job, and I'm always happy to have a job. So, initially, I would say: employment. But I am also a sci-fi lover and have been itching to be on a sitcom forever. So, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to audition and I really went for it!

KW: Tell me a little about the show's wacky premise?

TO: Sure, a community of aliens set up a colony of sorts on Earth in a New Jersey golfing community, taking on the guise of human form, and they do their best to fit in and not attract attention. Of course, they fail spectacularly. One of the alien couples in the community gets tired of waiting around to hear from their home planet and they vacate their house leaving it open for a nice, human Jersey family of five to purchase and move into. Let the hysterical comedy of errors ensues!

KW: How would you describe your character, Jackie?

TO: Quirky, cute, loving, kind, curious, proper, diligent, patient, inquisitive, genuine, lovely, tall,  green blooded… Okay, now I'm just throwing words at you. I shall cease and desist.

KW: So, you play an alien queen who's impersonating U.S. Olympian Jackie Joyner-Kersee. Which is more challenging, playing an alien or impersonating Jackie?

TO: Well, neither, because neither is the case. Jackie is the wife of the Zabvrobian supreme commander, so she is more of a matriarch than a queen. And the aliens are not impersonating the athletes they have named themselves after. They have taken on these names in the hope of becoming a part of the elite. In their minds, choosing the names of accomplished sports figures will help them fit in and excel. They don't realize it actually makes them all stick out like a box of sore thumbs. Yes, I realize that is not an official adage. Hey, it is now!

KW: Does the show have a message?

TO: In my humble opinion, as a foreigner, it does. And the message is this: the only way to come to a full acceptance and understanding of yourself is to embrace your own culture, quirks and differences while learning about those around you and exploring, incorporating and embracing their cultures, differences, quirks, etcetera. Okay, that's a lot of words. Basically, we are all different and we all have something to learn and it doesn't mean people need to change who you are but one should be open to new things and, above all, tolerance and understanding are essential for growth and happiness. That's still a lot of words. Let's try this: we are all different and that's okay. That's not incredibly poetic, but it's the message at its essence.

KW: You're half-Nigerian and half-Norwegian? Which do you identify with more? 

TO: Oh, I identify with them both very strongly. I identify myself as a Nigerian because that is where I was born and raised and where my family still lives. And, in my mind, that is the definition of where someone is from. But I was raised by a very Norwegian mother and spent a ton of time there every year until I was about 14 and am closest to my Norwegian relatives. So, it is very difficult to choose. Call me, Sophie. [ala Sophie's Choice] Well, don't, it's not my name and not really that traumatic of a choice, but you get my gist. 

KW: So, do you still have lots of friends and relatives in both places?

TO: I do.

KW: Do you speak Norwegian?

TO: I do. Not as well as I did in my childhood but I can get by in a conversation. 

KW: You studied theater at Smith prior to embarking on your professional career. Do you recommend that route to other aspiring actresses?

TO: Not necessarily. It was right for me, but other people do better going on to grad school and others yet are naturally inclined and do just fine without any formal training at all. Everyone is different. The only things I think are imperative are focus, determination and hard work.

KW: What would be your ideal movie role?

TO: Oh, my. That's a hard one. Anything Meryl Streep, Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Aniston or Charlize Theron would say "yes" to. I think I have covered all my bases there. I mean, I just have fun doing what I do. If it looks like a good time, I'm up for it! Seriously, have your people call my people.

KW: What film director would you like to work with?

TO: Oh, so many... The Coen Brothers, Martin Scorsese, Sam Mendes, Mike Leigh, Kathryn Bigelow, David Fincher, Cameron Crowe, Chris Nolan, Ridley Scott, Sam Raimi, Quentin Tarantino, Luc Besson, Penny Marshall, Ron Howard, Mike Nichols, Kenneth Branagh... Bring it!

KW: Is there any question no one ever asks you, that you wish someone would?

TO: Yes: "Would you like a few million dollars? Because I happen to have a few extra I can give you tax free." Ha! No, not really, I'm just glad that anyone wants to ask me anything at all.

KW: The Tasha Smith question: Are you ever afraid?

TO: Constantly, but it's a big driving force in my life. I'm more likely to try and tackle a fear than let it control me.

KW: The Columbus Short question: Are you happy?

TO: Absolutely. I am truly blessed.

KW: The Teri Emerson question: When was the last time you had a good laugh?

TO: About ten minutes ago in a cab in New York, leaving the home of one of my four best friends. Yes, four. They are all the best. Like I said, I am blessed. I refuse to pick one. You can't make me. All my friends are funny, witty, fun-loving people. As are my parents, and the people I work with. I get at least a couple of good laughs in every day.

KW: What is your guiltiest pleasure?

TO: Carbs. Sad but true.

KW: The bookworm Troy Johnson question: What was the last book you read?

TO: The final Hunger Games book, 'The Mockingjay.' Seriously, Suzanne Collins, I need another one.

KW: The music maven Heather Covington question: What was the last song you listened to? 

TO: I'm was just listening to Radiohead's 'Reckoner.'

KW: What is your favorite dish to cook?

TO: Whatever I know the person I am feeding will most enjoy.

KW: The Sanaa Lathan question: What excites you?

TO: Positivity.

KW: The Uduak Oduok question: Who is your favorite clothes designer?

TO: Oh, wow! All of these "pick one" questions.... Arrrgh! I mean, there is so much wonderful stuff and so many amazing people in this world. It is hard for me to pick my favorite one... I have always loved Chanel. I am big fan of Dolce and Gabbana. My newest favorite is AllSaints. I also love Proenza Schouler, and Rachel Zoe's line is phenomenal. Balenciaga is always amazing! L.A.M.B. is amazing, and you can't go wrong with Louis Vuitton. And there is an Italian designer, Patrizia Pepe, whom I really enjoy. So many beautiful clothes!

KW: Dante Lee, author of "Black Business Secrets," asks: What was the best business decision you ever made, and what was the worst?

TO: Best: moving to LA. Worst: going into business with a friend.

KW: The Michael Ealy question: If you could meet any historical figure, whom would you choose?

TO: Joan of Arc.

KW: When you look in the mirror, what do you see?

TO: A map to my life lit up by smiling eyes. I know: Eww! But true!

KW: If you could have one wish instantly granted, what would that be for?

TO: A cure for cancer.

KW: The Ling-Ju Yen question: What is your earliest childhood memory?

TO: Sitting in the living room of the apartment we lived in when I was about 2 or 3. We had a balcony which my mother had enclosed with chicken wire so we had birds flying amidst a forest of plants. I remember watching the birds through orange and white curtains.

KW: The Kerry Washington question: If you were an animal, what animal would you be?

TO: I am an animal.

KW: The Pastor Alex Kendrick question: When do you feel the most content?

TO: When I take the time to look positively at my life, assess my accomplishments and truly allow myself to congratulate myself.

KW: The Toure question: Who is the person who led you to become the person you are today?

TO: My mother! My mother! My mother!

KW: The Judyth Piazza question: What key quality do you believe all successful people share? 

TO: Determination.

KW: What advice do you have for anyone who wants to follow in your footsteps?

TO: Be sure of what you want, focus, work hard, be ready to pick yourself up, do not take rejection personally, be as prepared as you can, always be learning, and eliminate negative people from your life regardless of who they are.

KW: The Tavis Smiley question: How do you want to be remembered?

TO: However it is, I hope it makes the rememberer smile, possibly even giggle.

KW: Thanks again for the time, Toks, and best of luck with the show.

TO: I greatly appreciate that! Thank you, Kam, for giving me the opportunity to answer such great questions! As you can clearly tell, I had a good time with them!

 

Carpentry Professionals
Portland Community Policing
Calendar

Photo Gallery

Photos and slide shows of local events

Lents International Farmers Market
The Skanner Report

The Skanner Foundation Scholarships