WASHINGTON WATCH: Analyzing The Issues That Create A Culture Of Gun Violence (VIDEO)

We’ve been hearing a lot about gun violence and how we need stronger gun control laws and better ways to identify and treat the mentally ill before they get access to guns. But, there hasn’t been enough conversation about those things that create a culture of violence in our society, like the images we’re exposed to every day.

We’re talking about that today with some folks who are a part of the industry that brings us some of those images. They are Rockmond Dunbar, who stars in the upcoming film — he also directed it — “Pastor Brown.” Salli Richardson, who’s also producing “Pastor Brown,” stars in it. Also, actor, writer and producer Phil Morris; and, Miguel Nuñez. You will see him, the star of the new TV One series, “Belles.”

MR. MARTIN:  Hey, folks.  Welcome to part two of “Washington Watch,” the Hollywood edition – as you see the sign behind that says, “Black Hollywood.”

We’ve been hearing a lot about gun violence and how we need stronger gun control laws and better ways to identify and treat the mentally ill before they get access to guns.  But, there hasn’t been enough conversation about those things that create a culture of violence in our society, like the images we’re exposed to every day.

We’re talking about that today with some folks who are a part of the industry that brings us some of those images.  They are Rockmond Dunbar, who stars in the upcoming film – he also directed it – “Pastor Brown.”  Sitting next to him is a beautiful sister, talented, smart, gorgeous – all those things.  Dondre Whitfield, I know that’s your wife, but chill.  I’m givin’ her props.  Salli Richardson, who’s also producing “Pastor Brown,” stars in it.  Also, actor, writer and producer Phil Morris; and, Miguel Nuñez.  You will see him, the star of the new TV One series, “Belles.”

Folks, welcome to the show.


MR. PHIL MORRIS:  Thank you.

MR. MIGUEL NUŇEZ:  Thank you.

MR. ROCKMOND DUNBAR:  [Crosstalk] – awesome, awesome.

MR. MARTIN:  It’s been interesting watching this whole debate.  First of all, I hate most of it because it is a gun control debate, but I think it should be a gun violence debate.  And it’s weird.  Whenever images come up when it comes to videogames or movies, folks go, “Oh, no!  That’s not the cause of it.  It’s this,” as opposed to saying, “Wait a minute.  It’s a number of things.”

What role do you think violent images – whether it’s videogames, whether it’s television and movies – [play] in this whole gun culture in America?

MR. MORRIS:  I think if it’s a violent image without instruction and understanding of the image, it can be dangerous.  But it’s like my children, who have grown up in this industry.  They’ve seen beyond movie sets.  They know it’s a movie.  They know it’s a videogame.  It doesn’t cross over into their real life, because they’ve been instructed and shown that that’s fantasy and that the reality of it is grave and very dangerous.  When you’re instructed that way, the images have less impact.

MR. NUŇEZ:  Um-hum.

MS. RICHARDSON:  And, you know, that’s exactly what I was thinking.  I have two, small children.  I have a little boy who’s four, who goes around shooting all things over the house.  My husband, unfortunately, plays the shooting games –

MR. MARTIN:  [Chuckles.]

MS. RICHARDSON:  — and he sees it.  But my son is probably one of the most gentle, kind kids at school with his friends, because he’s got that good home life that can balance out those images.

And I think the real problem is that these kids who don’t have a good home life, then that is what’s taking it to that other level – because they don’t have anybody to buffer that image for them.

MR. MARTIN:  Is it also controlling the amount of time spent when it comes to those images?  Because, look, the guy who was the shooter in Newtown – I mean before that happened, I mean he literally was in the house, watching and playing these games for hours

MR. DUNBAR:  Right.

MR. MARTIN:  — and hours and hours –

MR. NUŇEZ:  I think –

MR. MARTIN:  — as opposed to an hour, maybe two.  Then it’s, “Take your behind outside an’ go kick a ball around.”

MS. RICHARDSON:  But he also has a mental problem, too, so you’re just com- —

MR. MARTIN:  Precisely.

MS. RICHARDSON:  — -you know –

MR. MARTIN:  Precisely.

MR. DUNBAR:  But everything should be taken in moderation, and everything should come with instructions.  You know, my coffee machine came with instructions –


MR. DUNBAR:  — that I have to follow, or it’s going to be broken.  So –

MS. RICHARDSON:  [Chuckles.]

MR. DUNBAR:  — [chuckles] – you have to give instructions on how to use a gun properly; why you should buy a gun; you know, what are the situations, what are the dynamics around these guns?  You just can’t have these images and throw them out there and use them carelessly.

Like, we look at the image of “Black” on “Hollywood.”  Why isn’t it black?  I’m just saying.  Why is it red?  It just seems a little bit negative –


MR. DUNBAR:  — towards black Hollywood right now –

MR. NUÑEZ:   I think when kids come home and –

MR. DUNBAR:  — but – [chuckles] –

MR. NUÑEZ:   — like you said – and they come home, they have nothing to do but sit and watch violent videogames, and they don’t have the other side, I think that does desensitize them to violence.  And you guys keep mentioning – and I was listening to [how] they keep saying he had a mental problem.

Well, up until then, I understand he was a great, church-going kid, and he had no problems whatsoever – unless I’ve been hearing things wrong.  And every time we want to associate that with a mental problem.  I don’t – I don’t think he ever had a mental problem.  It has nothing to do with a mental problem.  I didn’t hear nothing – they said the guy went to church.  He never did anything wrong.  He was nice.  He was loving to everybody, and then this happened.

I think that, you know, it’s easy to say it’s a mental problem.

MS. RICHARDSON:  But there has –

MR. NUŇEZ:  Well, of courses it is at the end.

MS. RICHARDSON:  — there has to be something off.

MR. NUŇEZ:  Of course.  Something off –

MS. RICHARDSON:  So, there’s –

MR. NUŇEZ:  — but –

MS. RICHARDSON:  — something off.  There’s – [crosstalk].

MR. NUŇEZ:  — I think that – and like you said, Roland, I think it’s an accumulation of everything, and everybody can’t just say it’s this or that.

MR. MARTIN:  I think the danger – and this is what keeps, again, just driving me nuts – is that when we somehow believe there’s this one thing:  “Oh, my God.”

MS. RICHARDSON:  Right.  Right.


MR. MARTIN:  “If you just fix that one thing, hey, it’s all solved,” as opposed to – guess what?  It might be moderation in terms of what we see in terms of images.  And then –

MR. NUŇEZ:  Correct.

MR. MARTIN:  — it might universal background checks.  Then it might be –

MR. DUNBAR:  [Crosstalk] – control.

MR. MARTIN:  — mental illness.  And then also when it comes to anger management, when it comes to conflict resolution in schools – all of those things.  This is why it’s just driving me crazy, the discussion that we’re having; because it is so one-dimensional, that I don’t think that – fine.  Congress, pass a law.  President, sign a law.  But unless you deal with the other pieces, we’re back to the same place –

OFF CAMERA:  Absolutely.


MR. MARTIN:  — we were at.

MR. DUNBAR:  We need to get all of the pieces of stories that we hear that are conflicting about certain gun shootings.  We –

MR. NUŇEZ:  Correct.

MR. DUNBAR:  — need to get all of the information that’s true before we even have an opinion on it.

MR. MARTIN:  In your jobs, I mean, have you been in a situation where you’ve said, “You know what?  I think that might be too violent, and so, therefore, let’s change it up.  Let’s modify it, but I can’t go that far”?

MR. NUŇEZ:  I’m also the creator and executive producer of “Belles” – along with Ed Weinberger, and we did “Sparks” together as well.  And everything I’ve ever done, I’ve always been conscious of how that may be portrayed, or [misconstrued], or so forth.  I’m always concerned with that.  Matter of fact, I don’t think I’ve ever done anything, really, with guns because I’m kind of against it.  So –

MR. MORRIS:  It’s a responsibility issue.  And have I been a part of projects that have had violence in them?  Sure.  But there’s a meet-in-the-middle thing that you’re talking about.

MR. MARTIN:  Right.

MR. MORRIS:  We have to step down the access to guns and step up the understanding about them.  It’s not one or the other.

MR. NUŇEZ:  That’s true[?].

MR. MORRIS:  It’s a full-circle routine, and it has to do with parenting.  Salli’s right.  If you get good parenting at home, not only don’t you want to go out there, but you’re representing your family.  You’re representing your parents.  You’re representing their lessons and what they’ve taught you.  And I don’t want my parents to look at me in an ill light.  That kept me straight for a long time.  And I don’t think kids have that these days.

MS. RICHARDSON:  My son, just at the table the other day, got mad at his sister and just went like this and just hit her on the chest.  Let me tell you.  My husband grabbed him so quick and took –

OFF CAMERA:  Absolutely!  Thank you!

MS. RICHARDSON:  — him out of the room.  And that’s their now.

MR. MARTIN:  Okay.  Hold on.  So, see how she stopped that?

Did he spank him?  Did –


MR. MARTIN:  — did –

MS. RICHARDSON:  No, we don’t – you know what?

MR. DUNBAR:  [Chuckles.]

MS. RICHARDSON:  We don’t – we don’t spank.

MR. MARTIN:  Oh, hell, naw!

MR. NUŇEZ:  Oh, no!  Hell, no!

MR. MARTIN:  I – I –

MR. NUŇEZ:  No wonder he –


MR. NUŇEZ:  — [crosstalk] – red “Hollywood.”

MS. RICHARDSON:  [Laughs.]

MR. MARTIN:  — right.  I –

MR. NUŇEZ:  No.  That’s what’s missing!

MR. MARTIN:  — that’s why he smacked his sister!

MR. MORRIS:  [Laughs.]


MR. NUŇEZ:  That’s what’s missing!  If my grandparents – the way they beat us, if there was a gun in the house –


MR. NUŇEZ:  — with candy, and they weren’t around – if they’d have put candy, diamonds, we would’ve never touched it, because we knew what would happen

MS. RICHARDSON:  — I will let you know –

MR. NUŇEZ:  — if we did.

MR. DUNBAR:  Um-hum!

MS. RICHARDSON:  — my children, out of every, single –

MR. MARTIN:  Right.

MS. RICHARDSON:  — kid that comes over there, are the most well-behaved children.  And everyone –

MR. DUNBAR:  I’m just happy to know –

MS. RICHARDSON:  — says this.  That’s all.

MR. DUNBAR:  — everyone’s skipping over that –

MS. RICHARDSON:  I’m just letting you know.

MR. DUNBAR:  — question from me, because I’m on “Sons of Anarchy,” one of the most violent shows –


MR. DUNBAR:  — on television –

MS. RICHARDSON:  And – but you know what?

MR. DUNBAR:  — right now.

MR. NUŇEZ:  Oh, yeah.  You can’t talk about this.

MS. RICHARDSON:  And they don’t –


MR. NUŇEZ:  Matter of fact –

MS. RICHARDSON:  — supposed to be watching that.

MR. NUŇEZ:  — I did do a show with guns, come to think about it.

MR. MARTIN:  Well, here’s –

MR. NUŇEZ:  We did a lot of shooting, too.

MR. MARTIN:  — [what’s] interesting.  We’re talking about gun violence –

MS. RICHARDSON:  So, it’s your fault!

MR. MARTIN:  — and then we’ll say, “Beat a kid!

MS. RICHARDSON:  [Chuckles.]

MR. MARTIN:  But –


MR. MARTIN:  — I’m just lettin’ y’all know when Salli kids get old, and they get outta line, trust me.  She be sayin’, “Uncle Ro-Ro, can you take care of these kids?

MS. RICHARDSON:  [Laughs.]

MR. NUŇEZ:  “I shoulda beat ’em.”

MR. MARTIN:  ’Cause me an’ Dondre wasn’t jackin’ ’em when they were younger.”

MS. RICHARDSON:  [Laughs.]

MR. MARTIN:  Okay.  All right.  Go ’head and keep believin’. “They so sweet.”

Right.  An’ keep smackin’ his sister.  All right.

MS. RICHARDSON:  She afraid, though.  She afraid.

MR. MARTIN:  She – okay.


MR. MARTIN:  All right.

MR. NUŇEZ:  But I think it is – [crosstalk] –

MR. MARTIN:  Believe that.  Believe that.

All right, folks.  We’re out of time.

First of all, thank you so very much.  Would love to have you back again.

Also, coming up.  What projects you got comin’ up?

MR. DUNBAR:  “Pastor Brown” –

MS. RICHARDSON:  February –

MR. DUNBAR:  — February 16th

MS. RICHARDSON:  — February 16th, Lifetime.  Watch it.

MR. DUNBAR:  You have to watch it.

MR. MARTIN:  Time?

MR. DUNBAR:  Amazing.  Eight p.m.

MS. RICHARDSON:  Eight p.m., February 16th.  February sixtee- —

MR. DUNBAR:  February 16th

MS. RICHARDSON:  — sorry.  Lifetime.

MR. DUNBAR:  — on Lifetime.

MS. RICHARDSON:  Did you get that?

MR. MARTIN:  We gotcha.  We gotcha.

MR. MORRIS:  “Shake it Up” for Disney and, I hope – God willing – “Love That Girl” back on TV One.

MS. RICHARDSON:  All right.

MR. NUŇEZ:  Yes, “Belles” on TV One, Friday at ten o’clock, and – executive producing Nick Cannon’s new film, called “School Dance,” which will be out this summer.

MR. MARTIN:  All right.  Cool.

MS. RICHARDSON:  All righty.

MR. MARTIN:  Everybody got their shout-outs.  We all straight.

MS. RICHARDSON:  Yeah.  [Chuckles.]

MR. MARTIN:  We’re all good.

MR. MORRIS:  Very good job.

MR. MARTIN:  So, we’ll see you guys on social media.  Thanks a bunch for –

MR. MORRIS:  Thanks, Roland.

MR. MARTIN:  — being on “Washington Watch.”

Folks, when we come back – Miguel, where in the hell you goin’?

MR. NUŇEZ:  Sorry.

MR. MARTIN:  Just –

MR. NUŇEZ:  Sorry.

MR. MARTIN:  — [crosstalk] – toss[?] to break.  Calm down.


MR. NUŇEZ:  [Chuckles.]

MR. MARTIN:  You would think somebody with a TV show would know these things!