Grace Gibson is a singer, songwriter, filmmaker, producer, and actress, also known as the "River Queen." And tonight, she'll be headlining her own set for the Jazz Fest after-dark show. The show will take place at the Ace Hotel's Lobby Bar at 10:20 p.m.
What some may not know is that her heritage stems from one of Hollywood's most treasured and critically acclaimed actresses, Lynn Whitfield. Her late father, Brain Gibson, was a Hollywood director whose credits included "The Josephine Baker Story'' and the Tina Turner biopic, "What's Love Got To Do With It," starring Angela Bassett and Laurence Fishburne.
In an exclusive for Where Y'at, the 30 year old gave insight on her ties to Hollywood and her latest projects in the metro area.
Having lived in New Orleans on-and-off for seven years, the Los Angeles born entertainer was raised in Manhattan. With family in Baton Rouge, New Orleans will forever have a place in her heart. "I'm not one of those people who is like, I'm from New Orleans. I'm one of those people who wants [New Orleans] to claim me," she said.
To say Gibson doesn't have that itch for stardom would be an understatement. However, what makes her different is how she cultivates her own success outside of the Hollywood lanes of Los Angeles or the bustling streets of New York
The songwriter says that while she doesn't claim the "actor" role, she's simply "someone who acts."
"When your mother is one of the best actors of all time, yeah, I'm not stupid. I'm not going to gravitate to it. I'm not going to set myself up for failure," the producer said. "And I also don't believe in writing on the coattails of the people that came before you. I believe in making a path for yourself and maybe like going a little left when everyone's going right."
With credits like Black Nativity, based on the Langston Hughes' 1961 play and the late 2 Pac's biopic, All Eyez On Me,' Gibson's gratitude for each experience is explained as if she's a first timer.
"My first day on set, I had a scene with Forrest Whitaker, and I was so nervous. And I just told him I was like, I am shaking. I cannot believe it. And he was like, 'You're going to do great. Don't worry about it. You're ready?'"
She holds a world record for having the most screen time portraying Grammy-winning songstress Faith Evans on television and the big screen.
However, her roots are humble and grounded in her artistry with no needed gimmicks to display her talents.
She spoke on her transition to New Orleans and how she wanted to really "study" the scene and culture. "I took my money from [Black Nativity] and said to myself, I'm going to immerse myself here and get to know who I need to know and become a part of this."
Gibson added, "I've had a lot of support from the people in this city from getting open information and really applying it while creating a space for what 'success' means to me."
That application led the actress to the theatrical walls of the Le Petit Theater where she performed alongside other actresses in The House That Will Not Stand. The play ran from March 4 and ended on March 20.
The play gave a real "housewives'' theme with mistresses, wives, and adultrey during the French Colonial era with Black women as the focal piece. Gibson, who played Agnes, says that it was an interesting character to take on. "You know [the play] was such a good experience and taking on that story of Black women trying to navigate life with what's given to them is and will always be a relatable narrative," she explained.
When asked about how she feels creating a great and entertaining experience for the audience, Gibson said, "You know, each experience is different and you really don't know what to expect but this city's culture thrives off originality and soul. Therefore, I'm ready for it and to pull from the energy of this rich culture."
"I'll be there! So proud," Whitfield wrote under her daughter's now deleted Instagram post. The event will be Gibson's first-ever Jazz Fest experience.