Exclusive: Actor Flex Alexander Speaks to UrbanBridgez.com

Flex Alexander was born and raised in the Bronx. For his first professional performance, he was paid $50 to break dance at a Bar Mitzvah. He eventually became a dancer and choreographer with the rap trio sensation Salt ‘N Pepa. Alexander became an assistant choreographer for the feature film New Jack City and continued to dance and choreograph for such recording stars as Queen Latifah, Toni Tony Tone, Heavy D and the Boys and Mary J. Blige, among others.

A man of many talents, Alexander spent his hiatus revisiting his days as a stand-up comedian, performing in Cleveland, Tampa, Miami and Addison.

On television, Alexander has guest starred in the recurring role of Darnell on UPN’s Girlfriends. He was also a series regular on Total Security, produced by Steven Bochco, and Where I Live, which marked his television debut. He is best known as the star of the UPN sitcom One on One with Kyla Pratt. Alexander is also notable for portraying Michael Jackson in the 2004 VH-1 telefilm Man in the Mirror: The Michael JacksonStory.

His additional television credits include guest starring roles on New York Undercover, Brooklyn South and UPN’s The Parkers, as well as the made-for-television movies Ice and Santa and Pete, co-starring James Earl Jones and Hume Cronyn. He also starred as Tyberious Walker on UPN’s comedy Homeboys in Outer Space. For the role, TV Guide referred to him as a shy charmer with the buff body of an athlete, in their 1996 Who’s Hot…Who’s Happening…Who’s Sexy issue.

Alexander’s feature film credits include Snakes on a Plane starring alongside Samuel L. Jackson, The Hills Have Eyes 2, Poor Boys Game, costarring with Danny Glover, City of Industry, opposite Harvey Keitel and The Sixth Man, co-starring Marlon Wayans and Kadeem Hardison. He also starred in Out Cold, produced by Lauren Shuler Donner (X-Men; Any Given Sunday) and the independent feature Gas, produced by Ralph Farquhar and Claude Brooks.

Flex has enjoyed a successful stand-up comedy career. He performed everywhere from the Uptown Comedy Club (a notoriously challenging club in Manhattan) to Stand Up New York, The Improv, Laugh Factory, Showtime at the Apollo, The Comic Strip and numerous comedy clubs and universities around the country, before turning his attention to acting.

In this exclusive interview with UrbanBridgez.com as apart of our Black Music Month ‘Interview Series,’ Actor Flex Alexander speaks to Aries about his up-coming projects, his impressive career, staying focused in an ever changing industry, his wife (singer Shanice) not getting her props and much more!
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UrbanBridgez.com: How do you think growing up in Bronx prepared you for a life in Hollywood?
Flex Alexander: I don’t know, I think it gives you a hustle. I hung out in Brooklyn, The Bronx and Harlem. I just think all together growing up in New York it gives you a nice hustling energy, kind of that never say die attitude you know. Even when you get knocked down, you just come back stronger!

UrbanBridgez.com: When did you discover you were a comedian?
Flex Alexander: My mom told me I was funny when I was little, but I don’t remember (laughs). What I do remember is my cousin and I, my cousin Grapevine who played Ace on ‘CUTS,’ the spin-off from ‘One on One.’ We use to actually do comedy shows to one another, like he would sit and watch me do stand-up and then I would sit and watch him. And we would talk about our aunts and cousins and stuff, but you know it’s like who knew! Then I saw Eddie Murphy’s ‘Delirious’ and I told my mom, that’s what I’m going to do right there.

UrbanBridgez.com: How have you been able to sustain a career in entertainment this long without going crazy and being able to stay focused?

Flex Alexander: God, it gets harder & harder as you get older not to go crazy man with these people (laughs). These people out here man woo! Just really constant prayer to be honest with you. Not to sound like I’m Superman, but yeah constant prayer and determination. Because it can rock you. Like recently I did a Pilot (Blue Bloods) with Tom Selleck, Donnie Wahlberg and Bridget Moyahan and it got picked up by CBS. There’s this group called Poll Tracks they came in and said they felt a woman should be his (Donnie Wahlberg) partner. It didn’t have anything to do with me or my skills but it’s what they want. So you go from you’re doing a show, to now you’re not. So those things and I have to admit, it rocked me for a minute. But I just felt you know what, I gotta get back up refocus and just work harder!

UrbanBridgez.com: What are your long term goals at this point in your career moving forward?
Flex Alexander: My long term goals, I really want to continue writing, I’ve been writing & I have a script right now being written. I can’t really say who right now, but it’s a Christmas Movie and it’s really funny. So I’m writing that, I have a couple of shows that I’m producing that I’m really trying to attach other producers to. Two reality shows but different kinds. My wife will tell you, I’m not a big fan of reality shows (laughs). But with these two, it’s more quality and it’s actually an idea my wife had. She has great ideas and she watches reality TV, she loves those shows! So she came to me and said what do you think about this and I said babe that’s brilliant! So I just called my people and put the plan in motion. I also put together a screenplay of my life and my experiences. From growing up to seeing my mom on drugs and my brother on drugs. And friends and things selling drugs, so I wrote a screenplay on that & I plan to do a book and also a one man show. I also really want my wife and me to travel and minister to young adults to different Churches across the country. Our long time goal is for us to put forth a ministry to give back to people. I come out and do comedy and give my testimony and my wife comes out and sings. Just something we can do together.

UrbanBridgez.com: You’ve appeared in more movies & TV shows than we can mention, what was one of your favorite roles and why?
Flex Alexander: Well definitely on TV, playing on ‘One on One.’ Playing myself, but not really myself. Alot of people think my name is Flex Washington (laughs). But that was definitely one of my favorites. I did this movie with Danny Glover called ‘Poor Boy’s Dream’ that was wonderful for me because it was something dramatic. I got to box and get in shape and work with Danny Glover. It’s hard to pick out my favorites, but I look back and I’ve been fortunate to work alot. I came out here in California in 92 and I’ve worked none stop, so I’ve been blessed to work. I enjoyed everything, even ‘Homeboys In Outer Space,’ was terrible by title I actually had fun (laughs). I had a whole bunch of fun!

UrbanBridgez.com: I watched a few episodes (laughs).
Flex Alexander: (laughs) I was like, I’m young in the game they was like you want to do this show, we’ll pay you this. I was like, yes sir!

UrbanBridgez.com: Do you still keep in contact from the cast of One on One and what’s one of your best memories from shooting that series?
Flex Alexander: Well I see them around, we don’t really call each other and stuff like that. But I talk to Kyla via Twitter, I see Robert at the barbershop. Sicily I talk to often, she got married and has a daughter. So yeah we kind keep in touch pretty much. I check on them off and on. As for my favorite, I would have to say the Michael Jackson episode with Duane Martin. So that one and the New Edition episode. All in all just shooting the show and acting in it was great man. I had a great time!

UrbanBridgez.com: Helena (a mutual friend) calls y’all the smiling family because you guys are always smiling (laughs). So how is the smiling family doing, Shanice and the kids?
Flex Alexander: (laughs) Man they’re doing great! Even when things get down, you just have to smile through it you know. Our kids are healthy, we’re healthy everybody is good. Niecy is working hard on her stuff. I just can’t wait for her to get back out because this industry is not giving her her just dues you know.

UrbanBridgez.com: Shanice is dropping a new album this year, can you tell us about that and why you personally feel Shanice doesn’t get the credit she fully deserves within the industry?
Flex Alexander: Yeah she’s working on it now and we hope to have it out by the end of the summer. She doesn’t get the credit, because you know these cookie cutter artists who come out with one song and if you’re not 17 and half naked people don’t want to support you. And she’s not going to do what alot of those girls would do to get ahead. That’s just being real, I’m not singling out anyone particular. You know how this industry is, I just feel like she’s held a standard for so long. It’s just her time & I think God will reward her. I think doing it the way we’re doing it independently and distribution as well as an European deal as well, I think it’s great. Because the majors are going to be done soon, they’re going to be collapsed! You have all these great artist out here like my wife, Rahsaan Patterson, Lalah Hathaway these are great singers. Kelly Price, they should all be so much bigger and so much more love! But it’s like you get married, have some babies you’re not sexy. But having kids being a wife is sexy. I don’t think there is nothing more sexier than that at all. And I’m not hating any other artists because I feel everybody has their time and is blessed to do stuff. But this industry and it’s sad because our people we do it to ourselves. White folks support, if Barbra Streisand said I’m doing a concert tomorrow, it would be sold out! We went to see Bette Midler and it was sold out and she hadn’t performed in 15 years. I just think we have to support our artists more and the singers that we love we just have to support them!

UrbanBridgez.com: What’s one of your most personal favorites from your wife?
Flex Alexander: Before I met her I had bought her ‘Shanice’ CD and there is a song called “Fall For You,” that and “Just A Game.” Will Downing had redid it and I didn’t know it was her original song at first. I had bought his album and it was on there & I was like this song is great! And when I met her she was like that’s my song, I was like that was yours? So I think those two are my favorite two songs by my wife.

UrbanBridgez.com: So many people forget you use to dance and have appeared in music videos, will we see you in any up-coming Shanice videos dancing (laughs)?
Flex Alexander: Oh my God (laughs)! A good friend of mine from back in the day, a choreographer name Donovan Henry just Facebooked me and sent a video of The Rude Boys, not sure if you remember them?

UrbanBridgez.com: Oh yeah I remember, Gerald LeVert’s group (laughs).
Flex Alexander: Oh My God (laughs), I just watched it today. I was on the floor! I could not believe it and I watched on YouTube a bunch of videos I did Crystal Waters, ‘Gypsy Woman’ (sings ‘La da dee la dee da’), Queen Latifah ‘Fly Girls,’ I mean gosh that was such a fun time. Business was different, it was a fun time man. I loved dancing, but you won’t see me dancing no time soon. Not at all! (both laugh)

UrbanBridgez.com: Any words you want to leave with your fans?
Flex Alexander: Just that I’m appreciative of all the fans. Who supported me, I’m still grinding and working hard. I just really appreciate everybody, I truly truly do. This is something that I’ve wanted to do and to be able to do it and make a living from it. It’s a great thing. But you can’t do that unless you have the support of your fans & viewers. And they showed it with ‘One on One’ making it the #1 watched show in black households at the time. So I’m very thankful and I appreciate everybody!

4 Comments
  1. I love Flex and Shanice…..great interview….Looking forward to new stuff from the both of them….Much success to Flex and Shanice

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