‘It Was the Right Time, Right Place:’ Taylour Paige on Starring in Kendrick Lamar’s ‘We Cry Together’

by Xara Aziz
LOS ANGELES - JUL 31: Taylour Paige arrives at the 2013 Do Something Awards at the Avalon on July 31, 2013 in Los Angeles, CA

When Kendrick Lamar’s team approached rising Hollywood star, Taylour Paige, about co-starring in a short six-minute film for his We Cry Together song, she knew it was an opportunity to stretch her abilities as an actress, who just so happens to be a lover of music and the positive frequency it can elicit to those who listen.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Paige delves into the process of making the film and the message she hoped to portray while shooting.

“I think beyond being a short film, it’s an experience; you’re like a voyeur in this couple’s life but it also reflects what the world sounds like, said Paige. “Whether it be arguing with your sibling or people on the internet … I don’t think there’s a container for it, it just is.”

The song is one of 19 of Lamar’s fifth studio album, Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers, released in May of this year. The album explores rhythm, blues, trap, soul and jazz and exposes the liberation of Blackness, Black plight and liberation.

The Boogie star shared that while the film was just released to the public on Thursday, it was shot in 2020, just one day before the mandated quarantine in wake of COVID-19. Directed by Jake Schreier, Dave Free and Kendrick Lamar, the film premiered in a limited screening at the Laemmle Royal Theater in Los Angeles in June 2020. It has since been qualified for Oscar consideration.

The film, shot in just eight takes, was effortless to capture because “we were just so in the pocket. And we knew what we were doing,” she acknowledged.

“Kendrick and I just have a really great understanding of each other. Like, he’s so committed to the truth, and so am I. I just feel like there’s so much freedom in that, she said, adding that “there’s something really vulnerable and intimate and honest about being in a studio with the person who wrote it. So by the time we were together to shoot it, there was a level of comfortability and an energy that felt like we’re onto something here. There was just this knowing.”

Thirty-one-year-old Paige first cemented her presence in Hollywood when she stared as Ahsha Hayes in the VH1 series Hit the Floor. Since then, she has starred in a myriad of films, including her star role in Zola, which won her the Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Lead.

In making We Cry Together, she said, it was an opportunity for her to reflect to the audience how people may perceive life, love and relationships. “I hope when you’re watching it, you’re thinking about your relationships, how you show up, how you talk to someone,” she said. “It’s been two and a half years [since we filmed] now. But even then I knew it was special and it would resonate for so many. I know the way that I felt while I was doing it like this is validating because all I have to do is show up as me and be real.”

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