How Beyoncé Roped Cowboy and actor Glynn Turman in her latest Ivy Park campaign
If you know the actor Glynn Turman of his unforgettable TV spots, like Colonel Bradford Taylor on A different world, say, or his turn as Mayor Royce from season three of Thread– you might have been a little surprised to see him appear in an Ivy Park campaign earlier this month. In an advertisement for Beyoncefrom the sportswear line, produced with Adidas, Turman shows up on horseback, wearing a denim jumpsuit with the iconic three stripes alongside his granddaughter Melinda Siegel and talks about the long history of people of color as cowboys in the American West.
But Turman has been in Beyoncé’s orbit since her friend Richard lawson married his mother, Tina Knowles Lawson, few years ago. His appearance on the spot will certainly come as no surprise to anyone following the black rodeo circuit. For nearly four decades, Turman has been one of his biggest names and, along with a few of his friends in Hollywood, has worked to raise awareness of the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo, which features black cowboys participating at rodeo events. After 35 years, the annual event was broadcast on network television, bringing the sport to more homes than ever.
Although the pandemic has kept him busy, with roles in the final season of Fargo and the next limited series Women of the Movement, during a recent phone call with Vanity Show he said he had time to watch a new TV show. Turman was married to Aretha Franklin from 1978 to 1984, and he is played by Luke James in this year Genius: Arétha, what stars Cynthia Erivo like the late singer. How accurate was James’ representation? “I don’t think I’ve ever looked so good! said Turman.
The actor spoke to VF about how Beyoncé convinced her to take part in the Ivy Park spot, her childhood spent in the stables in Central Park and why riding is such a great pastime for an actor.
Vanity Fair: When did you first hear that the new Ivy Park collection was going to be rodeo-themed?
Glynn Turman: Beyonce, Jay[-Z], my wife and a whole group of us had dinner in Jamaica while on vacation. Beyoncé mentioned that she had a few finishing touches that she wanted to put on a shoot she was doing to roll out a new line. It was a rodeo line, and she knew I’m a cowboy, because actually my grandson rode with her Lemonade [film]. There is a scene with a horseman. He was my grandson, and we shot this on my ranch. I said, “B, you said you weren’t done, do you have any other stuff to do?” What are you talking about? You know I got you! And she said, “Glynn, you know I didn’t mean to impose myself.”
She seems very polite.
Yes, very polite. I said, “Would you like to stop it!” Come on, we’re family. She thought about it and a week later she had this great idea. Of course, all I thought I was going to do was just saddle the horses for them, and just dust things off and get them in their way. But during it, Tina said, “Glynn, would you like to try this, let’s see if it works for you?” So I said, “Wait a minute! What’s going on here. ”They were so cool about it.
What did you think about when you first saw the clothes? What was your first impression of them?
Well when I put on this jumpsuit I thought, oh that’s so cool. It’s right in my alley. Right after we tried I said, “Okay, I guess you got me. It works. ”I had already introduced Tina to my granddaughter, and she asked me if I thought Melanie would like to model in this area. Because Melinda is going up, and that’s what Beyoncé was looking for, a young woman of color who could actually sit on a horse, you know. My granddaughter said to me, “Are you kidding?” She was so excited.