Richard Lawson on Taking Control of His Health and His Film ‘Black Terror’ After Divorce (Exclusive)

Richard Lawson arrives at the Los Angeles Premiere Of Netflix's 'The Harder They Fall' held at the Shrine Auditorium and Expo Hall on October 13, 2021 in Los Angeles, California, United States — Photo by Image Press Agency

After five decades in Hollywood, Richard Lawson is as busy as ever.

Lawson, 77, has a starring role on the BET+ drama series The Black Hamptons. He was recently cast in Tyler Perry’s upcoming Netflix series Beauty in Black. He also has a role in Perry’s new Amazon film Divorce in the Black.

In addition to those projects, Lawson has a role on the BET+ comedy series, The Ms. Pat Show. And he is preparing for the release of the film Black Terror, which he directed.

Related StoryTyler Perry’s ‘Beauty in Black’ Netflix Series Reveals Full Cast

Lawson just returned home from the Cannes Film Festival, where he went to promote Black Terror.

“It’s an amazing electric experience,” the actor-director told Urban Hollywood 411 about Cannes in a recent Zoom interview.

It was the second consecutive year he traveled to France with the film. In 2023, Lawson screened Black Terror, which is adapted from the award-winning 1971 play of the same name by Richard Wesley.

“This time, I went and made connections and met a lot of people to rehabilitate my film,” Lawson said.

Lawson and former wife Tina Knowles produced a stage version of Black Terror through the Where Art Can Occur (WACO) Theater Center, which they co-founded in North Hollywood, Calif.

The show was put together in partnership with Newark Symphony Hall’s in-residence Yendor Theatre Company. Production teams filmed the play in New Jersey and California, and streamed it online during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Black Terror tells the story of a group of Black revolutionaries known as the Black Comrades, who take up arms to “unshackle their people from oppression.”

Lawson and Knowles decided to turn the play into a film. In May 2023, he hosted a special presentation of the project in Cannes. Weeks later, Knowles filed for divorce after eight years of marriage. According to People magazine, she listed their date of separation as July 25, 2023.

Black Terror hit a roadblock when the couple separated.

“We are in the middle of sort of splitting things up as a result of the divorce and the film is part of that,” Lawson said. “We’re in the final stages of negotiating what goes where, and so the film will be coming with me.”

He said the split has been amicable.

“We’re beautiful,” he stated. “We’re both gonna go on and have great lives. What happened within [the marriage] is neither here nor there. But moving forward. I have a slate of things that I’m creating and doing and originating. My career, it has never been better. I’ve never been healthier.”

In a May 11 Instagram post, Lawson revealed he’s lost 60 pounds in the last nine months.

“I took action,” he told us. “The first action was that I recognize I did not like what I was seeing in the mirror.”

Lawson recalled being in “fantastic shape” when he started acting in 1969. But over the years, he said his weight rose to almost 300 pounds.

To shed the pounds, he adjusted his diet, turned to intermittent fasting, began walking, drank more water and enlisted a personal trainer.

“I had done a lot of training over the years, so I had a lot of knowledge in the area and that knowledge that I had, I supplemented with reading and getting more information,” he explained.

Asked if he used a weight loss medication, Lawson said he did, to help jump start the process.

“I took Mounjaro,” he said. “I took it for probably about nine months… and then I stopped taking it about six, seven months ago.”

He frequently documents his progress on social media, to spread the word that it’s never too late to take control of your health.

“I want to be an inspiration,” he said.

Leave a Reply