Dorien Wilson, Jasmine Guy, and TC Carson star in the BET Plus original holiday movie, “A Wesley Christmas.” The story revolves around adult siblings Chris (Kevin Savage), Todd (Tyriel Hill), and Sydney Wesley (Lauren Lott) all traveling home to spend Christmas with their parents, Brian (Wilson) and Sylvia (Jay). Family drama ensues, and conflicts arise with their neighbors, which will engage audiences about how family holiday celebrations endure against the backdrop of life-altering impactful events.
Yolanda Baruch: The holiday season is a fun time for some families. However, others experience friction with their family members. How do you navigate family friction the way the Wesley family does in the movie?
Jasmine Jay: My birthdays aren’t as big as Wesley’s because I have one kid, but I grew up with big birthdays, we used to go to my grandma’s every year. There was a split between kids and adults because we wanted to do things and they were always growing. Big gifts, lots of fun, lots of singing, bringing groups of different families together, there was a friction between siblings who are my cousins that lasted from Christmas, to summer, to the next Christmas. When I got older, I finally said, I can’t believe you all are still fighting about this stuff. It’s about loving each other and stopping wasting time on grudges and if there’s a problem sharing them because often, as in the movie, adult children don’t want us to know everything. They want to feel competent and confident, so a lot of things come up during the holidays that we didn’t know about or didn’t have the full story. Communication is important because how can we help you if we don’t know what the problem is or if it exists [even] problem?
Dorian Wilson: I don’t know if you can step through someone who has issues, and the things they carry and harbor. Many times, as Jasmine said so eloquently earlier, we have problems within the family, divisions and things that happen in our lives, fights, upheavals, and it may be the smallest things that are endured for years. You can extend an olive branch, extend an olive branch, or sit down and try to talk. You even forget what started, so extend an olive branch, reach out to someone, try to sit back, connect, and show some love.
Terence C Carson: Like things that have already happened, things that can’t be changed, people live so far in the past that they don’t live in the now, and you miss a lot when you don’t live in the present. That’s the most important thing when you come to family gatherings, and you see this kind of drama going on, you have to tell them it was then, this is now, can we do something else? Do we want to spend Christmas there again? I only have so many summers left.
Wilson: Life is too short.
young man: Adults tend to keep you in whatever kind of child you are. You can be 40 and they still treat you like, “Oh, you’ve always been spoiled” but that was 35 years ago.
Wilson: just stuck
young man: (Laughs) Yeah, maybe I’m a little older. give me a moment.
Baruch: Your character brought up sensitive topics that are not generally addressed within the black community such as mental health. How did you prepare to play a complex character like Marcus?
Carson: I combined much of my journey with my own struggles. I’ve been seeing a therapist to deal with some things and just the struggle of feeling like you’re on your own and no one understands what you’re going through. This is PTSD, you’re in this place, and no one understands but you, no one can see it but you, and it’s frustrating. We’ve all been in places where we’ve felt frustrated and overwhelmed when we didn’t know what to do, and that’s what I drew to make Marcus.
Baruch: Jasmine, why do you think it’s important to show the daily vicissitudes within a black family?
young man: We must show originality. We have two filmmakers, a husband and wife team with eight kids. They come together, like in “The Brady Bunch,” and the stories in the movie and the paths followed are based on the truth. I can say as an actor because I don’t have to change anything; Just do it the way it’s written because this is true. People are loving, you can move from crying and laughing in the same conversation, and I love that about Wesley’s family life; Seems honest to me.
Baruch: Doreen, as the patriarch of the family, why is it important to show your character as strong and loving because those qualities are not always displayed in the mainstream media?
Wilson: I think it’s such a beautiful thing that the writer and creator of Brie West wrote these characters to show that black families do exist. They have their ups and downs. They go through trials and tribulations, but they can come together. I am so excited to be able to play a proud African American man who has been married to my beautiful wife of 35 years; We are still together. We have raised three wonderful children and laid the foundation for them. They’ll go out and make their own mistakes and bad decisions, but we’ve shown these adults go out there, do things, come back, and still be our family.
Baruch: Why should people watch this movie on BET Plus?
Carson: We want them to watch the movie so we can make another movie, and then we can make a third movie.
Wilson: We’re making three movies that we want them to see.
Baruch: Will all three be holiday movies?
Carson: Yes, the first is “Wesley’s Birthday”. The second is a wedding theme, and the third is a destination movie. Octet Productions is so behind this production that they want to push it and make it something that people will want to see every holiday.
Streaming now on BET Plus.