The year 2021, much like its predecessor 2020, gave us little reason to pause for positive reflection. Unless of course you are the type of person who enjoys spending quality time alone getting to “know oneself”— no judgment here. American novelist Patricia Highsmith once said, “My imagination functions much better when I don’t have to speak to people.” Roman poet Lucretius was quoted as saying “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I am glad 2021 is over. There— I said it!
There was however one bright spot for me in an otherwise unmemorable year. That shining moment came in the form of a reboot of an old television series simply entitled, “4400” (pronounced “forty-four hundred”). The original series in 2004 was called The 4400.
The new “4400,” developed by Ariana Jackson is about a group of people who disappear without a trace over the last 100 years and then suddenly reappear, with no memory of how or what happened to them, and they have not gotten a day older. What also separates this series from the first one is the fact that the cast of this one is predominantly Black.
One of the main characters on the show is a housewife from 1958 named Claudette. Before being snatched up, she was an organizer in the Civil Rights Movement and, upon her return in 2021, now is endowed with superpowers.
Jaye Ladymore, the actress who plays Claudette is simply amazing. The Georgia native captures the essence of Claudette with her own acting style that is reminiscent of a Southern Belle with a Northern swag. Whenever her character graces the television screen, you immediately perk up and pay attention because you know she is going to do or say something pivotal to the plot of the series, and she does not disappoint.
Ladymore says that playing a character like Claudette is easy because she is familiar with that type of individual because of her upbringing in Northern Georgia, and also because her background in theater, she has had to play characters from the forties, fifties and late sixties.
“Claudette was in there already it was just a matter of bringing her out!” Ladymore said.
She says she caught the acting bug in the fifth grade when she played a lion in a play called “Daniel and The Lion’s Den” and she cannot imagine herself doing anything else.
Except for a few summer classes, she really didn’t start studying acting until college. She says that getting the role of Claudette came quite suddenly and was virtually unexpected. She was at home during the latter half of quarantine when received a request to audition from her agent. She sent in a taped audition, which she prepared in her parent’s basement. She got a virtual callback with some of the producers and other folks who had already been cast. Within about two weeks she had the part.
The role of Claudette is a virtual cornucopia of the social issues affecting many people today and it’s a sense of responsibility that Ladymore takes very seriously.
“She may be a fictional character, but she’s based on a lot of women throughout history, and so I certainly always go into it knowing that— that there is that element, and I want to make sure that I do that element justice. There is a responsibility that I represent her story well [that] I represent the kind of person she is and the kind of history that she comes from. Because people don’t know about this history— because it is American history and I strongly believe that you can’t really know where you’re going unless you know where you’re coming from,” said Ladymore. “If we don’t know what happened then, how can we expect to make it any better in the future? So, I believe that it’s important for Claudette to exist in this story just because she represents a lot of real women that have fought for the same things in American history.”
Well this modern day scribe humbly says, “Mission accomplished!” But you can find out for yourselves. Watch Ms. Jaye Ladymore as the meritorious “Claudette” on Monday evenings on the CW Network.