Before I had the chance to decide who I wanted to be and what I wanted to do with my life, the decision was already made for me. I was a country, black boy from Baton Rouge, Louisiana standing 6’4” before I started the 10th grade. You’ll discover I did not follow suit as this is the only mention of me being a basketball player on this website. Unless, your next film calls for me to be one—and in that case, I love the sport! Don’t hate the player, hate the game.
It was not my destiny, child, to be America’s Next Top basketball superstar. When the red light flashed on my older sister’s camcorder she used to document our family’s holiday adventures, I’d go from being quiet as a church mouse to a NYC subway performer in a New York minute. It’s Showtime! In school, however, my desires to be a performer were crushed. I got bullied on a daily basis, even by my friends. I became too concerned with the echoes of others' perception of me and my dreams that I developed stage fright. I limited my performances to the church where I looked forward to singing in the choir and re-enacting Jesus’ crucifixion every year for Easter. I regained my confidence and decided enough with my stage fright. Enough with what others say about me and launched myself into training. I journeyed from the Gulf coast to the East then to the West receiving a MFA in Acting from the Academy of Art University.
I write this as the COVID-19 outbreak has most of the world on lockdown. It’s been difficult to focus on work and understanding considering all the chaos and confusion. Posted above my door frame is a mantra I repeat multiple times a day to settle my mind and tap into my purpose: “Do what you’re doing while you’re doing it.”
This mantra reminds to be patient, be grounded, be truthful and stay connected to my service as an actor. Whether that be crossing paths with strangers who become friends, waiting in the wings for my cue or on set between “Action!” and “Cut!” This mantra also reminds me to do what I’m doing while I’m doing it without fright, and without a basketball.
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