THE SCOOP ON SNOOP
SASHA DEBEVEC-MCKENNEY, Opinions Editor
On the television show, “The Wire,” Felicia “Snoop” Pearson plays a hit(wo)man to Marlo Stanfield, a vicious drug dealer and stone-faced gangster. Yet in real life, her Baltimore accent is subdued and she is very personable. The Round Table talked to Snoop about everything from her near-death as a baby to her sexuality to her experiences working with a ghostwriter.
The Round Table: How did you get your nickname?
Felicia “Snoop” Pearson: My Uncle Arnold said I looked like the dog Snoopy because my hair…looked like dog ears. As I got older they dropped the Snoopy and just said Snoop.
RT: What was the neighborhood you grew up in like?
FP: It was rough, I mean, but one thing, if you was from that neighborhood, you know, we looked out for each other. It was kinda rough, and kinda wasn’t. And also fun.
RT: When you were growing up, was there someone or something you could always depend on?
FP: My grandma, or, she’s actually my foster mother.
RT: When did she take you in?
FP: When I was a couple weeks old. I just had a lot of drugs in my system because my mother was getting high, so I came out cross-eyed and I almost died three times ‘cause of the drugs in my system. My foster mother said I wasn’t gonna die, and she saved me. She used to take the Tylenol drops that you give to infants, she used to take that and fill it up with milk because my mouth used to be so small. She gave me drops of milk at a time — I used to sometimes not eat because the drugs were in my system. I was so bad-off. I owe everything to her.
RT: What was your school experience like?
FP: It was fun. I probably beat up little boys and as I got older, I’d see myself attracted to females, and I asked my uncle: ‘what do this mean?’ And he was like: ‘it’ll pass, don’t even think about that, — but it didn’t. I got my GED when I was in prison … I made the best of it. Why not get a free education? I was trying to go to college in that motherf*cker.
RT: What was it like when the first person recognized you from television?
He was scared as shit. He was scared to say something to me. I had to get used to it. One time, somebody ran up to me, and was like ‘Snoop!’ and I, like, put my guards up. And he was like, you’re on “The Wire” and I said, “Oh, sh*t, I am on TV right now.” That sh*t was funny.
RT: Has your sexuality always been something you’re open about? Why?
FP: Yes, m’am. It’s just me. It ain’t hard to tell when you look at me, and you see that, yeah, she’s straight up gay. Straight up lesbian. It’s not hard.
RT: Has it been easy to be out?
FP: Yeah, but, that’s why I’m studying my girl-ways right now. I’m going to acting classes for that, so I can expand my acting roles. Because you can’t play a gangster all the time. I got that down-pat.
RT: Do you think that white middle-class kids can benefit from watching “The Wire”?
FP: Uhhh … to get some excitement, maybe. I don’t think they’re gonna benefit because they’re not going through what those kids or what nobody else is going through on the show. The show is based on, you know, lower class people trying to make a living. Middle class white kids, their people got money, so they don’t got to go through all this unless they choose to.
RT: You’re in the process of writing a second book—what’s it going to be about?
FP: You know it’s gonna be a lot because, in the first book, I been through a lot. It’s gonna be…eye-grabbing, earful, mind-throwing, it’s just gonna be amazing. I don’t think I need David Ritz on this one. I had got Ritz because he was experienced, it was my first book, so why not go with him, so I could learn something?
RT: Were you ever scared or nervous to share your “Midnight,” the darkest parts of your life, with your audience?
FP: My grace is now, its me just shining my light and my story on whoever needs it. And my midnight was me coming out my mother womb, almost dying three times, going to prison, things like that. The bad things. I been through it, so what am I gonna be: ashamed of my life? I’m not. That’s something I have to live with forever.
*After the interview, as I walked her back to The Beloit Inn, I asked her how she liked the campus. She laughed and immediately offered: “You know, it looks a lot like the prison I went to.”