The late Fred Berry was born in St. Louis, Missouri. Before starring on What’s Happening!!, he was a member of the Los Angeles based dance troupe The Lockers. During that time Berry’s nickname was “The Penguin”. What’s Happening!! lasted from 1976 to 1979. He was a millionaire by age 29. After the show ended, Berry had trouble finding work because he was permanently identified with the Rerun character.
Eventually however, he came to embrace his being typecast, and made his peace with it as the best means to maintain his celebrity. In public, he was often seen wearing the red beret and red suspenders that are part of the Rerun character, and even went so far as to have his middle name legally changed to “Rerun”.
It is not everyday that we get the opportunity to interview the offspring of legends. FathersFootprints is especially excited to have caught up with Fred Berry’s popular daughter, Portia Berry Allen, aka Lady Rerun. Portia is a radio host, plus-size model and an actress who resides in Atlanta.
FF: The majority of our readers fall between the ages of 30 and 50. Your father portrayed a very popular character in the sitcom “What’s Happening.” We want to know more about Lady Rerun.
Lady Rerun: Lady Rerun is a personality that combines the happy, knowledge and peace-seeker that is Portia Berry Allen – with the corky, bold, talented and loud mouthed “Rerun” gene that comes together to form a person…loyal to a fault….believes in fighting for the underdog….will network or interview anybody…will take over if you let her and can change the world with her own brand of thinking! Sometimes she is more than I can handle!
FF: The brand FathersFootprints focuses on God, family and the community. We believe that a father (or the lack of the same) is the fulcrum of all relationships. How has the legacy of your father impacted your career?
Lady Rerun: My primary reason for pursuing an entertainment career was because I wanted to find a way to bring my father’s legacy back to the forefront. I felt as though he didn’t receive the props that I always thought he should have received, before and after he passed. What I did not realize until recently is that my father’s name carried a lot more power than I originally perceived. A lot of doors have been opened for me just on my father’s name – which is icing on the cake when my own talents shine! I am very grateful for all that opportunities that come my way and I am very proud of my father’s legacy and everything he has done in the industry. I love the “Rerun” stories that people tell me. I really miss my dad.
FF: Entertainment can be a cut-throat industry. What advice do you have for young people aspiring to be entertainers?
Lady Rerun: DON’T DO IT!! LOL! Just kidding! My advice for aspiring entertainers is to be true to you, learn the business for yourself, question everything and if it sounds too good to be true then it is quite possible that it is not true. Have some morals and standards about yourself. Never let anyone tell you that you can’t. The most important advice that I can give you is if you lose sleep over it – don’t do it.
FF: You are a radio show host, an actress, a model and just an all-around brand. What can we expect next from Lady Rerun?
Lady Rerun: REALITY TV!!!! That’s right! Several networks are interested in Lady Rerun for reality shows and other network TV opportunities. Meanwhile I will be in several magazines in the coming months; one of which is the June Issue of E2K Magazine. I will be making my first appearance at this years BET Awards. Also,The Lady Rerun Show will be going to the next level with more celebrity interviews and hot topics. Finally, I am starting a new online freestyle rap battle showcase called Rip The Mic! Looking for the hottest freestyle MCs to rep their hood and compete for $150 cash! For details go to www.ripdamic.ning.com
I am always looking for positive industry opportunities and if anyone is interested in booking me, please contact Mike Neely of R.M.I Management at 414-213-3468 or firstname.lastname@example.org with “Lady Rerun” in the subject line!
FF: FathersFootprints is rooted in spirituality. How has your walk with God impacted your life?
Lady Rerun: I grew up in the church and have had a personal relationship with God since the age of 11. I have always been a blessed person so I have always felt that it is only right to bless others. I was taught that prayer is very important and that the love of God heals all things. Most importantly, I’ve concluded that this life is not about me – but about helping others. These principles have governed my life and my walk with God. I believe in doing right because it is right and taking responsibilty when I am wrong.
FF: What drew you to the book project, Daddy Am I Pretty, and why do you feel this project is necessary?
Lady Rerun: I loved to whole concept of “Daddy Am I Pretty” when it was brought to me because of the passion I feel about fathers and the realization of how important it is to have a father in your life. I feel that this project is necessary because the father/daughter relationship is a very special thing and to put a realistic perspective on this is a very positive thing to do. My story will be something else; I hope they’re ready for me!
We purposely cut this interview short as to not give away the contents of the forthcoming book Daddy Am I Pretty? (in other words – Black folks won’t pay to read the same thing they already read for free on a blog). However, we will share with you a poem that resonates with Portia’s spirit:
The Far Right Corner Of Heaven
Although you came into my life for a very short period of time
I felt as though a life time had nearly passed us by
Your caring, kind demeanor was clearly not a choice
Many saw it as a sign of weakness; I saw it as a sign of rejoice
You lived your life to the fullest, though many would disagree
You loved with all your heart, giving to all including me
Who were they to judge you and tell you how you’re “supposed to be”
A man so full of wisdom; a man so willing to agree
Avoiding confrontation was one of your mottos in this life
Being passive and forgiving, always giving in to winless fights
I’m so proud of you for not allowing them to change the man you were
Though the time spent alone without you is sadly fading into a blur
I know you’re watching over us and finally in a joyful place
But I can’t help miss my father who has left us without a trace
So many take for granted the wonderful people who enter their lives
I will embrace our memories forever; continuing to honor and to thrive
My loyalty will remain to you as will my heart and devotion as well
But not to those who choose to dishonor you with their thoughtless farewells
Wait patiently for me father in Heaven’s far right corner as we agreed
For the time will come for certain to be reunited as you promised to take the lead
Poem by: Stacey Lynn Stiles
We can’t express how honored we are to feature a significant part of our history with the readers of this blog and the forthcoming book. Thank you for lending us your time and support. You can tune in to Lady Rerun’s blogtalk radio show at www.blogtalkradio.com/reruns-daughter.
We end this post with a quote from Maya Angelou – “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Fred Berry was a man that made many of us feel good.
Until next time,
To learn more about Portia Berry, click on the links below: