What attracted you to acting?
I grew up in a supportive household – parents always encouraged my creative side. In high school I started taking dance classes, and when I went to college that hobby evolved into training and competing with teams. We’d travel and perform on stages. I loved the showmanship of it, the theatrics, the storytelling through facial expressions and body language, so crossing over into acting was inevitable.
You play Jamal in Kings. Tell us more about your character.
My man, Jamal. He’s a pretty naïve dude. He’s got heart and strives to be the glue that keeps his family of brothers together. He’s passionate about black history in regards to his filmmaker pursuits, but not so knowledgeable about the corruption and biases against blacks within society. Overall,pretty innocent, but life experiences will change that.
How will this movie inspire change?
Winning hearts and minds. I’m praying this film creates awareness, that awareness creates conversation, and that conversation and action become the catalyst for change –personal and/or external.
Are there any similarities between you and your character?
*Laughs* I can see a few. I’m all about harmony and not one for confrontation. You’ll see how that unfolds for Jamal in the movie. I relate to Jamal’s desire to belong. I think we’re both happiest and feel ourselves around family.
What aspect about KINGS do you think will stick with audiences after watching it?
I hope audiences realize everything boils down to a choice – toa perspective – the idea that ultimately we ourselves get to choose. We can believe what we’re fed through labels and fear, or we can cultivate a more positive narrative withcharacter and integrity.
Why should everyone support this movie?
Aside from this movie being hugely topical, countless lives are consistently being lost due to fearful responses; due to the decades of systemic damage on race identity. It’s so easy to be silent in society and swim with the stream’s current, but this movie serves as one more voice aiming to disrupt that easy flow. “Vote with your dollars,” as it goes. Show support by being a part of the cause.
How has participating in this project helped you grow as an actor?
This project has helped my growth beyond acting alone. From the influential people I’ve spent time with on set, to the countless news stories of those gone too soon, I’m learning the true weight of systemic social injustice. I’m somewhat of an introvert to begin with, and what’s worse is how normalized racism and social injustice have become. It’s so normal we’re preparing the youth to expect it. This project has been a catalyst for myself to be more knowledgeable, more proactive,and more accountable for my identity and to participate in the deconstruction of America’s harmful ideologies.
Whats next for you?
I’m on the road of self-growth, and keeping my spirit open for the next project. Later this month I’ll be working on “The Broken Rose” an indie feature with Oakland Film Company,another passionate group of individuals. I’m grateful for the opportunity to play Brian, a supporting role in this very tragic story.
KINGS SHORT FILM KICKSTARTER