By Jessica L. Dupree
Photo Credits: Colleen Allison Barjas
“It’s in recognizing moments of weakness that one can really feel strong”
If you’ve been tuned in to “Ruthless” on BET and BET+ then you’ve seen leading actor Anthony Bless at his best. When filmmaker Tyler Perry gave him the nod, the actor and singer showed up on set with creativity and his highest level of craft.
Bless plays the role of Malcolm Green – a ruthless, volatile, and damaged FBI agent. “He has a fear of not having power so whenever he gets in a situation where he cannot defend, he gets Ruthless. He does love hard but he’s super damaged and his demons come out when he’s threatened with situations that can take away his power or make him feel attacked,” says Bless.
While Bless describes his character as invincible, adding that “in his mind, he will create whatever he needs to survive a situation, whether real or imagined,” the actor says that in real life “Men should recognize that invincibility does not exist. It’s in recognizing moments of weakness that one can really feel strong. I like to replace the word “fearless” with “brave,” for example. Because fearless is like invincibility,” he says.
“There’s no growth there. There’s nothing to work through. It just is. In being brave we’ve identified that there is a fear, worry, anxiety, or other adversity that one must honor, accept, process, and then hopefully use to your advantage. There is great pride to be taken in putting the effort to be your best self. That is a beautiful starting point to having a full and healthy life full of love. There is nothing more powerful than love,” he added.
This month, Bless sat down with Heart & Soul to discuss “Ruthless,” mental health, and what it really means to be invincible.
Mental health is a part of today’s conversation. Talk to us about the complex mental health issues of your character and his toxic behavior.
“Malcolm” is a pure example of what happens when you haven’t processed and allowed yourself to heal from hurtful or triggering events. “You’re not supposed to judge your character when working within the craft of acting, in my opinion.” So, I created a back story for “Malcom” to justify his choices regarding his anger. “Whether I personally agree or disagree in real life, it’s my job to illuminate the choices of this character.” His anger comes from a need to feel dominant which stems from a tragic event as a child when his mom was hurt and he was powerless to help. Not having the tools necessary to remain peaceful or composed when triggered, he supplements this anger with ruthless defensiveness and severe trust issues. The most toxic parts of “Malcolm” originate from fear that he hasn’t identified. Lack of awareness can be so dangerous.
If you could have a real-life conversation with your fictional character what would you say to him?
Malcom, “take a deep breath. It’s gonna be ok. Let’s get you someone that you can TRUST & talk to about your Mom and the feelings around that event. It’s gonna be ok. You’re not alone in this struggle.”
What is your message to the masses about mental health, depression, and suicide?
My message is to let them know they’re not weak in asking for help; erase that programming. We are all connected. There is help available and there is hope. Everybody is going through something and we all carry it in different ways. Lead with compassion and an effort to understand vs judgment & shame.
Why is it important for stories like these (Ruthless) to be told? Why should it matter in today’s society? For people who don’t watch or haven’t watched Ruthless, why should they start now? What are they missing out on?
Although Ruthless is a powerful cult drama, people need to realize that a lot of the circumstances, dangers, plights, and adversities within the show that truly exist in real life. “Ruthless is a fusion between some “Handmaid’s Tale”’ vibes and a dark undercover police show. The cast is tight-knit like family & we fight to uplift each other & do our most passionate work. Tyler Perry is the best boss you can ask for as he leads by example and pushes us to be & perform as our best Highest selves.” Come join in on the ride. Let’s get Ruthless together.
For more information, follow Anthony Bless on IG @iamanthonybless