Thank You Steve for this interview. Kings is an important movie about police injustice. Your acting career- how did you get started?
I had always loved art, from performance to visual. Growing up I drew a lot and played the violin. I had done plays in elementary school, but it wasn’t until taking a drama class in high school, that really got me interested in acting. It was one of the few subjects that allowed me to have fun, express myself and explore an array of life,characters and relationships with my classmates. I slowly started embracing acting more and more and by the end of high school, it was what I wanted to do!
After spending time in Atlanta, I made my way to the west coast, Sam Francisco. Staying in the Bay Area and working on my craft, I attended The Meisner Studio. Completing their teachings, I’ve been out working in both film and stage. I have been fortunate enough to work with some amazing artists during my time here, while working professionally and attending acting classes!
What inspired you to audition for Kings?
The different perspectives. I loved the fact that before the climax of the film, I was able to spend time with each of the characters and have chance to understand why they do what they do. Whether I agreed with their actions, opinions, etc, I was able to have a full understanding of where they were coming from.
Describe your character. Why is your character so important to the movie?
Brandon is in an extremely difficult position. On one hand, he is a police officer and has a job to uphold the law. It’s his first day as an officer and in theory his senior officers word is sacred. On the other hand, Brandon is a black man living in a time where police brutality to black men is in the spotlight. He is at a crossroads and is forced to make a life altering choice. And both choices have irreversible consequences. I think Brandon embodies the fact that there are no easy choices in life and is key in allowing the audience to take a hard look at what is right and what is wrong as well as the fact that some choices are not always clear cut.
How has playing this role effected you as an actor?
It made me appreciate the fact even more that the voices we give to the characters and the stories we tell can allow people see the world in a new light.
What aspect about KINGS do you think will stick with audiences after watching it?
I think it will be the same reason that drew me to the script. We get an opportunity to spend time with these characters. We see them for who they are: people. I feel that many times people are only seen as the labels they are given in society. This film moves past that.
How will this movie inspire change?
I feel that because Kings shows each character as a person, with flaws, ambitions, passions, etc it will allow people to look past the labels as the script did. Seeing Poe Poe as people in the face of injustice is the first step to change. Speak up or stay silent: why is it important to hold your peers accountable?. I believe speaking up is always the option. Being honest and open with out thoughts and feelings are key to bringing about change. Holding our peers accountable, holding them to a standard do what is right saves lives and makes the world a better place. Staying silent or staying on the side lines, and not taking action in the face of injustice gets us nowhere.
If you had a chance to play any other character in the film, who would you pick and why?
I’d have to say Malcolm, simply because he’s such s fun character play. He wears his heart on his sleeve, speakers his mind, and does so unfiltered. Fun fact, I actually read for him in an early table read!
Whats next for you?
Heading out to Los Angeles! The Bay Area has taught and given me so much as man and as an actor! There is a rich artistic community here. I feel that the time is coming (very soon) where I can make my way to LA and take my career to the next level. In the mean time, I’ll keep working up here on both stage and film as well as continuing to hone my craft.