Rain Pryor is an accomplished actress, author, comedienne, singer, playwright and activist. Oh, and she also happens to be the daughter of the late great comedian Richard Pryor. Celebrity Parents Magazine traveled to Baltimore, MD to speak exclusively with Rain about growing up black (and Jewish!), her family and her Pryor Experience.
We should get it out of the way now. Your daughter, Lotus Marie, is just gorgeous.
Thanks! She’s yummy. Brains and beauty, that’s my girl! Lotus was born on April Fool’s Day, which is so ironic! She definitely has her grandpa’s genes.
She’s funny; she has this weird sense of humor. T.V. is her crack. She only watches pre-school shows. I want her to learn. I want her to say, “Look Mommy, an octagon!” I’m sure she has other words planned for me, though!
How has the first year been?
It’s been good and also really hard. No one wants to talk about it. There’s a big denial. The truth is, you love it and some days you don’t. No one told me this, how having a child completely transforms your life.
What do you find hard?
I’m exhausted, sleep-wise. When I got the first six straight hours of sleep, I literally cried. It’s tremendous endurance. Then I look at her and think how lucky I am. I want her to marry a nice doctor!
Is that advice your mom gave you?
No, she doesn’t believe in marriage.
Was she married to your dad?
They were married for two years, but he blew it for her when he left when I was only six months-old. He was too busy starting to be famous.
Let’s talk about your dad.
He wasn’t Bill Cosby. He was like Ozzy Osbourne on a good day. You could be really close to him one minute and then not the next. It was drugs and narcissism.
Growing up, it wasn’t a typical celebrity childhood. Me, my brother and sister grew up riding in limousines. There were celebs who came over, but my dad wasn’t a Hollywood guy. We knew the hookers’ names more than anyone else’s!
As we got older, we all had jobs. We had to work. Life was pretty normal and then it wasn’t. When you entered my dad’s world, it was far from normal.
Your book, Jokes My Father Never Taught Me, candidly talks about your relationship with him.
Writing the book was a blur. I was writing it right before my dad died, and then I had a deadline three months before the first anniversary of his death. It’s only now that I can look back and say, “Oh, I wrote a book.” I don’t remember much of it; I got turned down by a lot of publishers because I refused to write the tell-all book. I wanted to write what I wanted to write.
What did your dad think of you writing the book?
He knew that I had gotten the book deal. I got tired of people telling our story. I said to him, “Dad, let me tell what it was like.” He was all about the truth. His belief was, if you’re going to go there, go there. That’s something he taught us. He also taught us to be honest and to be real. And we are. We have real lives. We worry about bills like everyone else.
So you’re Richard Pryor’s daughter but you’re also-
Starving! (laughs) Yes, he’s my dad by name and I can share in his legacy, but his name doesn’t mean I have “It”. It makes life easier in a way. People who come into our lives see that we are just like everyone else.
Let’s talk about your shows.
I have a show now, called Pryor Experience. It is jazz/blues cabaret with comedy thrown in. I love to sing. I’m also getting my bachelor’s degree so I can teach acting. And I’m working on three plays right now. One is called Colorism; it’s about three black women who are all different shades of black, talking about racism within our own community.
Do you find that to be true?
Yes, major. I had a manager who was very damaging to my self-esteem. She would tell me that I wasn’t black enough, and she said, “Just face it; you’re a white girl.” It stayed with me, and made me feel that I wasn’t enough. When I moved to Baltimore, all of a sudden I was embraced in this black sisterhood. It’s an interesting subject that we are still not over yet.
Are you over it?
I’m comfortable with who I am. I was never the Hollywood skinny bitch. I was the 219 lb. pregnant girl. I will never have the same pre-baby body, and I’m fine with it. I’m black and white, my fiancé is black, and my daughter is peachy with hazel eyes! I always said I wanted a Halle Berry/Angelina Jolie baby, and if she didn’t look like that, she was going back in! My girl has her daddy’s looks!
Speaking of your fiancé, how did you meet Yale?
We met at a bar, which is funny since I don’t drink. I think that night I did, though! We’ve been together 2 ½ years, and it’s still new and fresh. We’re supposed to be together. Right now, Yale is studying to be a nurse. He’s a straight A, Dean’s List student. We’re waiting until he’s done with school to get married. And I’m not in a rush. I’ve been married before. I think if you can handle having a child together, then you’ve earned the right to get married, not the other way around.
Between your show, writing your plays, teaching and being a mom, how do you find the balance?
I do everything, but slowly. Sometimes I feel like I’m not getting anywhere, but I know I am. I love my life. That’s why I’m not famous. I don’t love that crazy life that much. I love this (points at Lotus) this much.