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Friday
Oct 31st

Interview: S. Epatha Merkerson

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By Sheletta Brundidge

When her people called me to say that she wanted to talk about high blood pressure, he marked the interview on our "doctor's appointment" calendar at home. I thought I was gonna be doing the interview solo at the KSTP studio this past week, but it turned out to be a duet! My husband doesn't miss an episode of Law and Order – and there is ONE reason for that. Lt. Anita Van Buren! He loves himself some S. Epatha Merkerson – can't go to sleep at night without watching at least some of her hit HBO movie Lackawanna Blues. If I really wanna tick him off, I'll hide the DVD so he can't find it.

When her people called me to say that she wanted to talk about high blood pressure, he marked the interview on our "doctor's appointment" calendar at home. I thought I was gonna be doing the interview solo at the KSTP studio this past week, but it turned out to be a duet!

SB: Good morning, S. Epatha Merkerson! I'm so excited to have you here.
S. EPATHA MERKERSON: Can you pronounce my name EE-pay-tha?

SB: My bad, girlfriend! We've been saying it wrong at my house all these years. Let me tell you, I was on the way to the studio all excited about chatting with you – I look in my rear view mirror and my husband pulls up behind me.
SEM: That's alright; he can get some information from me that might be good for him.

SB: What are we talking about?
SEM: Coricidin HBP! We have an issue in our community with high blood pressure. It's important during this cold and flu season that those of us – one out of four folks in this country have high blood pressure – that we reach for something good for our hearts and good for blood pressure. Coricidin HBP has worked for me, 'cause you know I have high blood pressure.

SB: We had no idea until we watched a commercial and my husband yelled out "Honey, that's Nanny, she has high blood pressure!"
SEM: What's your husband's name?

SB: Shawn
SEM: Hey Shawn, I'm so glad you joined her this morning. We're trying to make this real important for folks in our community because high blood pressure is a problem. In Minnesota it gets real cold and people are passing cold and flu germs. Coricidin HBP can be purchased over the counter. It's an easy remedy to get. But I'm also telling folks, make sure people read the label and consult physician. Make sure this holiday season, you stay healthy – if they have cold or flu symptoms – there is a remedy that won't raise their blood pressure.

SB: How did you come to be on Law and Order?
SEM: I had done an episode of Law and Order in the very first season when they decided to bring women on the show – they called and asked me if I wanted to do it. It's been a great job. Fourteen years, pinch me, I'm still dreaming and we're still rolling out episodes. The new season starts in January of next year.

SB: The HBO movie Lackawanna Blues was a hit – you shined in your role as Nanny, the lead character. What's next?
SEM: Let's hope for more movie projects. I just do whatever comes next. I have a Broadway show coming out called Come Back Little Sheba starting January 24 at The Biltmore Theatre in New York City. I'm just really trying to take care of myself, exercise, eat the right foods and have a good life.

SB: You are one of the few positive images of African American women out there. All our young Black girls see all day are video hoes and women in hoochie momma shorts on BET.
SEM: The most important thing to me is that I honor my family. The work that I do, I want my family to sit down and look at it. I am too old to be messing around with that kind of stuff – you live and learn &
 

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