Tyrese is opening up about what led him to therapy.
The singer-turned-actor has played dark roles before, but it was his latest in The System opposite Terrence Howard and Jeremy Piven, that had him seeking a therapist.
“I was in therapy for almost three months after I did this film because I could not shake the vile, toxic, racism energy on me,” he explained.
“Even though I left that environment and I came back home, private Chef and all this environment, nothing about me coming home shook the energy of what I had just experienced. And I was mentally, emotionally, psychologically traumatized. The level of racism and slavery and imprisonment and this mental, emotional, physical beatdown of black people in Mississippi, I carried all of that.”
In the film Tyrese plays Terry Savage, a young soldier, newly returned from war, who is recruited by the authorities to go undercover in a notoriously dangerous prison in order to figure out what is really going on.
Howard plays an inmate named Bones, who takes Tyrese’s character under his wing.
“If I were to give you all of my other choices that they threw at me, I was like, Terrence Howard, if he’s available, let’s go,” said Tyrese. “One of the things that I’ve always respected and loved about him as an actor is that Terrence has an intensity about him where he knows how to say everything he’s saying without words.”
Howard told HipHollywood he was excited to finally work with Tyrese again. The two last shared the screen in 2005’s Four Brothers, directed by the late John Singleton.
“I mean, it’s like, how many people do you know that you have that you can call and say, hey, I got to go do a couple of months in prison will you come and do this time with me because we were shooting in a real prison,” he said.
In the months since filming both Tyrese and Terrence say they have been inspired to do more, including teaming up with local politicians and lawmakers on prison reform.
“Walking out of there and seeing the disenfranchised nature of my brothers and sisters,” said Howard. “That stays with you, and it makes you want to do more.”
The System is in theaters now.