Last weekend, singer/actor/author and all-around entertainment dynamo Tyrese Gibson released the documentary film based on his life, A Black Rose That Grew Through Concrete, on his personal website tyreseonline.com. I scratch my head in ponderment (yes that is a word y’all, look it up) just thinking about how the 34-year-old, Watts born-and-bred phenom found the time to make a documentary with everything else that he has going on in his life.
In addition to this doc, he’s promoting a new book (Manology with Rev Run), working his independently released album (Open Invitation, which has spawned the chart-topping singles “Stay” and “Best of Me”), and getting ready to walk the red carpet for Fast & Furious 6 and Black Nativity (with Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett and Jennifer Hudson). Even with all of those commitments, and all the success, Tyrese is focused on inspiring and motivating the masses. A Black Rose That Grew Through Concrete —the title for which was inspired by the late Tupac Shakur‘s 2000 album The Rose That Grew from Concrete— is a mere part of Gibson’s grand plan to do just that. And to get his very own VH1 Behind the Music episode. And he just might, because after all, they don’t call him the “Vision Implementer” for nothing.
VH1 TUNER: Tell us about your documentary and your reason for making it.
It’s not a fully blown-out life story, I think I’m going to save that—I specifically was talking about VH1. And I’m not even just saying it because I’m on the phone with you guys. We’ve been asking for awhile now to do a VH1 Behind the Music, because that’s my favorite show. And for whatever reason y’all are booked always like a year and a half in advance or whatever, so I’m like I’m just gonna go head and do a lightweight version of the TV show, I’m not gonna go all the way but I am gonna touch on the right things and really paint this picture and make people understand that me being where I am in my life and my career didn’t come easy. The main thing for me is everybody being more privy and understanding.
I’m black, and I’m definitely not a white rose, I’m not a pink rose—I’m a black rose, that grew through concrete. And that’s how I feel. It’s a metaphor for really starting from the bottom and working your ass off to break through the concrete and getting to the top. This is what inspired me to do [the documentary]. A lot of people have created who they think you are in their minds, but they don’t know your story, they don’t know you “on that level.” We went all the way in, and it’s like man, we’re about to hopefully inspire the world. At this point in my life I feel like I don’t wake up every day trying to figure out how can I be more famous. That’s not my goal here. At this point, I never claimed to be the biggest star in the world, I just been out here grinding for years doing my thing. And that’s the truth. And so if you love me, if you’re inspired by me, if you’re motivated, at this point it’s about giving hope to the hopeless.
And how did you know this was the time to put such a project out into the world?
I feel like the timing couldn’t be any better. I just think right now everybody’s selling something, and then most people just don’t give a F, you know? And so it’s kind of like, you have to figure out a way to make people care about your journey, care about your challenges, your struggles, the things that you’ve been through. And then the outcome is you do smell the roses. The outcome is through it all, you’ve worked your ass off, you’ve grinded, nobody gave you anything, you didn’t jeopardize your spirituality or your sexuality in order to get to the next level, you kept it real. You just went and did it the right way. I just want people to be able to connect to that. It’s about giving hope to the hopeless. It’s about motivating the unmotivated. It’s about inspiring the uninspired. It’s about saying get off the f*&kin’ pitty potty, stop feeling sorry for yourself, and let’s go get it. Take your pain, take your conflicts, take your domestic physical, emotional and spiritual abuse and make a decision to do something. Become a giant within. Get to the next level. We’re in America, goddammit. Stop complaining and take advantage of our America. There is no such thing as being broke in America when you’re in America. There are people who would cut off their left arm to come to America to take advantage of all of the things that we take for granted.