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The Actors Lounge

The Actors Lounge

By Melanie Victor
Welcome to The Actors Lounge Podcast, where actors share their stories including the challenges, successes and lessons learned along the way!
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Yvonne Senat Jones- How She Went From A Recurring Guest Star To A Series Regular Role In Tyler Perry's New Spinoff Show, "Ruthless"

The Actors Lounge

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EPISODE 218: Mahdi Cocci- Talks The Power Of Making A Decision, Taking Ownership On Set & Being A Series Regular On BRUH
Mahdi Cocci currently stars in the BET+ series “Bruh,” a 30-min comedy series from powerhouse producer Tyler Perry, which celebrates black male brotherhood.  Cocci also co-stars in the NETFLIX romantic comedy feature THE LOVEBIRDS opposite Issa Rae and Kumail Nanjiani, which is now streaming. BET+ series “Bruh” examines the contemporary world of dating, career, and friendship through the lens of four African American men with a brother-like bond. Cocci plays Tom, a doctor with lady problems, but he is also the glue that holds the group together.  “Bruh” Seasons 1 and 2 can be streamed on BET+, and they have been renewed for a third season. THE LOVEBIRDS is a rom-com from Paramount/Netflix that tells the story of couple Jibran (Nanjiani) and Leilani (Rae), who on the brink of breaking up, get unintentionally embroiled in a bizarre murder mystery. Cocci portrays Keith, a coworker to Leilani, whose friendship with Leilani causes Jibran to be jealous. Originally scheduled to premiere at SXSW, the film is now streaming on Netflix. Cocci was born in Minneapolis, MN, and was raised by his mother, Stephanie. Education was always emphasized growing up, and Mahdi earned a full Navy ROTC scholarship to the University of Pittsburgh. He put his burgeoning modeling career on hold to serve as an officer in the Navy upon graduation. After serving honorably, Cocci shifted gears and pursued a career in acting. His first professional credit was earned on the TV series, Dynasty, in 2018, roles on other network shows soon followed, including The Gifted, The Resident, MacGyver and more. Mahdi will appear in recurring roles in The Terminal List, Games People Play, and an upcoming Marvel project in 2022.
01:03:33
November 08, 2021
EPISODE 217: Caroline Harris- Talks Embracing The Process & Building Your Career Step By Step
Caroline Harris is an actor from Chicago who is currently based in Los Angeles. Caroline's recent TV credits include WESTWORLD (HBO), AMERICAN GIGOLO (Showtime), BRUH (BET+), and SHOOK (Disney Youtube). Feature credits include a supporting role in HAPPIEST SEASON (Sony) and a leading role in DASHING IN DECEMBER (Paramount Network). Caroline is a graduate of Northwestern University and the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA).
01:05:38
October 18, 2021
EPISODE 216: Kinnik Sky- Talks Successfully Wearing Multiple Hats In The Industry & The Upcoming Virtual Screening For PAWN
Register for the virtual screening & talkback of PAWN, here!   Kinnik Sky IG Kinnik is a veteran of stage, television, and film. Originally from Columbia, SC, she spent 14 years honing her craft in Atlanta, GA working professionally in musical theater. She has performed in more than 30 stage plays over the past 20 years with major theatre credits including, “Dreamgirls,” “For Colored Girls,” and Tyler Perry’s “Madea's Class Reunion.” Finishing as a Top 13 Finalist in the hit show American Idol (Season 5), Kinnik then went on to win the Dreamgirls competition sponsored by the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles, CA and Blackweekly.com and was flown to Italy to perform. She also executive-produced, wrote, and hosted the celebrity and entertainment news web series, “Straight From the Sky” that can be seen on KinnikSky.com. Powerhouse directors and producers Tyler Perry, Robert Townsend, Will Packer, and Kenny Leon have cast Kinnik in their projects to utilize her vocal range and acting abilities, but Kinnik’s greatest theatrical achievement to date is writing, producing, and starring in the stage production, “Sunday Mourning” under her Dazzal Mi Entertainment production company (pronounced Dazzle Me), which won three NAACP Theater Awards. The play received a total of seven NAACP Theatre Award nominations, including her nomination for “Best Playwright” and her win for “Best Leading Female.” To date, her production company has received a total of 11 NAACP Theatre Award nominations and seven wins for its stage productions. In 2017, Kinnik launched Dazzal Mi Entertainment’s 501c3, Athletes and Entertainers For Change. AEFC’s first program offering is The Sky Academy designed to expose underserved youth in Los Angeles to jobs in theater and filmmaking, as well as arts and culture. In 2019, Kinnik Sky Films released its first short film, “PAWN,” which was written, directed, and produced by Kinnik, who also starred in the production. “PAWN” world premiered at the prestigious, Oscar-qualifying 2019 BronzeLens Film Festival where it was the official selection. The film has received multiple accolades, including being named the official winner of the Los Angeles Movie Awards 2019, the official selection of the Las Vegas Premiere Film Festival 2019, and the Top Shorts Film Festival 2019 Honorable Mention for Best Story. Kinnik continues to climb in notoriety, expanding into directing and coaching. In 2019, she was hired as the Dialogue Coach for the ABC hit comedy Mixed-ish. She is consistently referred to by writers and directors on the set of Mixed-ish as the “Youth Whisperer” due to her innate and invaluable talent for nurturing young actors in a way that empowers and excites them to give their best performances. In 2020 after watching her work, the show’s staff and crew began requesting that Kinnik privately coach their kids, which inspired her to launch Stars and Sky Private Coaching for actors. Kinnik is also the second Black female instructor ever to join the team at the highly prestigious Lee Strasberg Theater & Film Institute in Los Angeles by personal invitation from founder Lee Strasberg’s son. The institute boasts A-list alumni including, Angelina Jolie, Alec Baldwin, Shandra Wilson, Lady Gaga, and Matt Dillon. Currently, Kinnik Sky Films is in pre-production to turn her award-winning stage play Sunday Mourning into a feature film. Kinnik continues to break new ground and push barriers as an artist, and her motto guides her work: “Not even the sky is the limit when there are footprints on the moon.”
25:55
September 22, 2021
EPISODE 215: Ashley Monique Harper- Talks Her Role As Jean On The Oval & Why Representation Matters
Philadelphia/ South Jersey native, Ashley Monique Harper was born on June 10th. Both the acting and tennis bugs bit her at nine years old. She began her career interning at radio stations in Philadelphia and hosting radio shows while attending college at Morgan State University. She later transferred to St. John's University, in New York, from where she would ultimately graduate with her bachelor's degree. While there, she began her hosting career. She attended both schools on a full tennis scholarship. Best described as witty, sarcastic and humorous; her talent, girl next door looks and welcoming smile have landed her roles in Netflix series', on BET stages and Disney shows alike. Throughout the years of her career, Harper has worked on voice overs, promos, independent films, print ads and served as a correspondent for many MTV Networks programs. Ashley is best known for her role of Jean Peterson on Tyler Perry's 'The Oval' (2020) on BET Networks. When she's not in front of the camera, Harper can be found behind it, with her DSLR draped around her neck, taking photos of your favorite's favorites. A true content creator, her shooting eye is always open. There is one main goal... Ashley desires to continue to passionately and enthusiastically tell people's stories; the good, bad, ugly and the funny ones.
01:00:13
September 14, 2021
EPISODE 214: Alyssa Goss- Talks Overcoming Fears, Envisioning Her Success As An Actor & Booking Tyler Perry's Bruh
The exciting talent of Alyssa Goss was quickly discovered by the ABC Discovers program in 2016. From the program Alyssa Goss quickly started working and found herself in the BET Mini-series THE BOBBY BROWN STORY - the successful follow up the the groundbreaking mini-series THE NEW EDITION STORY. Alyssa starred as the ethereal yet complex Alicia Etheridge (Bobby Brown’s current and long term wife) opposite Woody McClain who once again portrayed Bobbie Brown. Alyssa brought her talents to portray strength with heart and was singled out as a grounding performance. Additionally, Alyssa eager to exercise her comedy skills, moved to the female lead in the MTV Productions HOW HIGH 2. In the fun and irreverent comedy Alyssa relished her ability to be a comedic artist while at the same time providing a grounded performance.
54:42
September 10, 2021
EPISODE 213: Courtney Coffey- Talks Overcoming Depression & Helping Empower Other Artists To Overcome Their Mental & Creative Blocks
Courtney Coffey is an actor, dancer, television producer, & mindset coach for performing artists based in Los Angeles, CA. After feeling stuck and going through a period of depression, she decided that something needed to change. She began to work on her mindset and her life changed—within a few months she signed with 2 agents and a manager, booked a pilot and a national commercial, and was more happy and confident than ever. She understands the mindset shifts that artists need to go through to excel in their chosen field, and started her coaching practice to help them do just that. She uses human design, energetics, rational emotive behavioral therapy, and her “Triple E formula” to help her clients begin to live the life of their dreams. Link to a free meditation, from Courtney!   Instagram & Youtube Channel  Website for more info and to work with Courtney. 
35:51
September 06, 2021
EPISODE 212: Desean K. Terry- Talks Booking His First Series Regular Role & Enjoying The Journey
Desean is an actor, director, and educator.  His directing credits include Gunshot Medley: Part 1 by Diona Michelle Daniel, In The Blood by Susan Lori Parks, Blues for Mister Charlie by James Baldwin, Day of Absence by Douglas Turner Ward. As an actor, his television credits include Scorpion, Southland, Shameless, ER, Monk, Harry's Law, The Night Shift, Sleeper Cell, House,Grey's Anatomy, NCIS Los Angeles, the HBO series Room 104 and several more. He is currently a series regular on The Morning Show on Apple TV opposite Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon. He is a graduate of Julliard with an MFA from Cal State University Long Beach in Acting Pedagogy and Directing, where he currently teaches and directs.  He is Co-Artistic Director of Collaborative Artists Bloc, a theatre company in South Los Angeles dedicated to producing culturally relevant theatre in communities of color. You can find out more about Desean and any of his storytelling adventures at www.deseanterry.com.
01:13:42
September 03, 2021
EPISODE 211: Selina Kaye- Talks Career Growth, Her Love For Self-Tapes & Becoming An Acting Coach
Since wrapping a Recurring Role on BET+'s RUTHLESS, Guest Starring on CBS's NCIS, and a Lead in Black++ Production's indie film HATSHEPSUT, Selina is becoming a recognizably distinct actor. Before Recurring on RUTHLESS, Selina Guest Starred on Paul Feig's FRANCES 2.0, Dr. Dre's VITAL SIGNS, STITCHERS on Freeform and MARRIED on FX. Most recently, her coaching clients have successfully booked a Series Regular role on STARZ's B.M.F., a top-of-show Guest Star on NCIS, and a Guest Star on SHAMELESS & BOSCH. Originally from Buffalo NY, Selina majored in Broadcast Journalism from Buffalo State College. She started her career as a VJ & radio personality for 93.7 WBLK, the #1 radio station for Hip-Hop & R&B in Buffalo. She has studied and worked in Los Angeles for almost a decade and has been invested in and worked with Graham Shiels Studios since 2015.
27:30
August 17, 2021
EPISODE 210: Jejuan Smith- Talks The Evolution of His Acting Career and The Importance of Networking & Providing Opportunities For Others
Actor, Model, Athlete, Stunt Performer, From Winston-Salem North Carolina. Jejuan was a full time football & basketball player through grade school earning him a football scholarship. Starting with modeling at 16 for a local clothing line, then on going appearing in numerous music videos. Jejuan has made no stoppage since that point. From starting as a background extra on Drop Dead Diva & other hit shows to being a stand in & stunt double on films like Ant Man, Sleepless Nights, & AtlantaFX series over the years. Involved In Writing & Directing films in which he directed "Walk A Mile" which starred himself & other cast mates that he met alongside of networking. The film has been featured in numerous film festivals and other movie screenings gaining notice. Traveling across the country Between Atlanta GA, & Los Angeles , CA throughout the years, He has made no stoppage in pursuing his growth as an actor. Utilizing Modeling, & creative control with his projects to continue to pursuit his craft.
22:38
August 05, 2021
EPISODE 209: Candice Renee- Talks Tyler Perry's Bruh & Stepping Into The Role Of Series Regular
Candice Renée is an L.A. native who spent half of her life in New York. Candice began her acting career at age 12 when she booked her first play while training. After that, there was no turning back. She received an acting degree while in New York. These skills have helped land her recent roles on Black Jesus on Adult Swim, and the most recent seasons of both Westworld and Insecure on HBO where she plays Condola's best friend.  She was recently seen in the feature film, BODIED produced by Eminem. Candice is currently a series regular on Tyler Perry's Bruh, playing the no-nonsense Regina and can be heard on the upcoming season of Archer on FX.
36:46
August 02, 2021
EPISODE 208: Graham Shiels- Founder of Graham Shiels Studios Talks Acting School & 20 Year Plus Acting Career
Graham Shiels Studios  A graduate of the Yale School of Drama and currently a Recurring top-of-show Guest Star on AppleTV+'s TRUTH BE TOLD with Oscar award-winner Octavia Spencer and Ryan Murphy's "9-1-1: Lone Star" on FOX. Graham is a working actor with experience and knowledge spanning over 20 years. A celebrity acting coach in Los Angeles, Graham coaches Series Regulars and up-and-coming actors alike. Graham himself was a Series Regular on Syfy's fantasy psychological thriller OLYMPUS, a Recurring top-of-show Guest Star on HBO's TRUE BLOOD, The CW's ARROW, and Disney XD's comedy LAB RATS, and has booked over 30 network Guest Stars including most recently CBS All Access' STAR TREK: PICARD opposite Sir Patrick Stewart. Graham has also appeared in major Hollywood blockbusters: GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, THOR: THE DARK WORLD, and YES MAN opposite Jim Carrey. His theatre roots are reflected in his regional theatre credits: The Mark Taper Forum (directed by Tony award-winner Brian Bedford), South Coast Repertory (world premiere by Howard Korder, creator of HBO's BOARDWALK EMPIRE), California Shakespeare Theatre, and the Yale Repertory Theatre. Graham has shared the screen and stage with Oscar award winners Holly Hunter, Marrcia Gay Harden, and Anna Paquin, and numerable Tony and Emmy award-winners.
43:22
July 20, 2021
EPISODE 207: Carnetta Jones- Celebrity Acting Coach Talks 20 Plus Years Of Being In The Business
Experience the journey to an Oscar with celebrity acting coach Carnetta Jones. Her unique approach is borne out of 20 years in the entertainment industry. Carnetta was bitten by the acting bug at the age of 12 after sneaking into her father's rehearsal of the musical, Bye Bye Birdie. Recognizing her excitement, he arranged for the director to give her a part. This started a journey that took her from the stage to the big screen. Along the way she worked with great directors like Oliver Stone and Tyler Perry, and with great actors like Meagan Good, Taryn Manning, Kim Whitley, Guy Torry, Bill Bellamy, Faune Chambers, Tasha Smith, Malika & Khadijah, Kirk Franklin, and Macy Gray (pictured below). She also transitions comedians, singers, and musicians into professional actors. Carnetta succeeds with her own “natural” technique: a powerful blend of Susan Batson, Meisner and Stanislavski. She tailors an individual plan that strengthens weaknesses and builds ones strengths. In addition to private and set coaching, she conducts seminars, workshops and webinars. Carnetta's success didn’t happen over night!  She received her baccalaureate from the Claremont Colleges and her Master's from UCLA. In college she honed her craft through performance and education which led her to writing, directing and acting in plays and film. This led to teaching acting to everyone who asked for her expertise- college students, children, adults and seniors. These experiences prepared her to coach celebrities on studio lots and many unique locations! Carnetta's evolution of impartation continues to expand as she prepares to use her unique approach to introduce Hollywood-style acting to Japan. Carnetta resides with her husband and three daughters in Southern California.
01:06:47
July 12, 2021
EPISODE 206: Barry Brewer- Talks "Bruh" & How Creating His Own Projects Have Led To Some Of His Biggest Opportunities
Born and raised on the Southside of Chicago, Barry Brewer began his career as a stand-up comedian in 2002 when he was just a teenager. Originally getting his start performing at local churches, Brewer perfected his craft performing in comedy clubs throughout Chicago before moving to Los Angeles in 2004. Brewer's early success came from televised comedy competitions such as Bill Bellamy's Who's Got Jokes on TV One alongside his peers, Tiffany Haddish and Lil Rel Howery and Comedy Dynamics' comedian showcase, Coming to the Stage. Brewer is best known for his stand-up comedy special, Chicago I'm Home, streaming on Amazon Prime. He currently stars in Tyler Perry's Bruh and recently had a recurring role on the BET series, Games People Play. He appeared in Kevin Hart's Netflix show, Kevin Hart's Guide to Black History, as well as Tru TV's Laff Mobb's Laff Tracks and Comedy Central's Gabriel Iglesias Presents Stand Up Revolution.  In addition to his comedy, Brewer is an accomplished musician, songwriter and music producer. He has worked with numerous artists including Brandy, Ray J and Tank and has recorded two studio albums.
38:29
July 05, 2021
EPISODE 205: Liz Lafontant- Talks Manifesting The Life & Career Of Her Dreams
Liz LaFontant is a Haitian-American Actress native to Orlando, FL. She attended the University of South Florida in Tampa, FL to receive her Bachelors in Public Health in the midst of pursuing a career as a Model and soon after an Actress. Liz has worked on projects such as Killroy Was Here, Tyler Perry’s The Oval, and Tyler Perry’s Bruh as a recurring Guest Star which will be premiering on May 27th.   She studied at Performer’s Studio Workshop, Andi Matheny Acting Studio, Russ Blackwell, and The American Stage. She recently relocated to Los Angeles to pursue acting full-time but continues to work in other markets.
01:07:18
June 28, 2021
EPISODE 204: Tyla Abercrumbie- Talks "The Chi," Being An Actor Advocate & Staying Empowered In Your Career
Abercrumbie, a stalwart of the Chicago stage, is known more widely for her television roles on “The Chi” created by awarding wining, Chicago native,  Lena Waithe. The Chi entering it’s forth season. Set to begin May 23, 2021. Abercrumbie plays Nina Williams, mother of two teenagers played by Birgundi Baker (Kiesha) and Alex Hibert (Kevin), together they face more than their fair share of challenges as residents of Chicago’s south side. Abercrumbie has regularly appeared in programs over the past several years including, Proven Innocent, Easy, ChicagoPD, ChicagoMed, Girlfriend Experience, Shrink, Unexpected, The Animator - to name a few.She has acted at Court, Goodman, Northlight, Victory Gardens and Chicago Shakespeare, among other regional theaters.  A talented writer, Director,  she is the inaugural  recipient  of The North Side’s Raven Theater $25,000 new-play initiative. Her  play “Relentless” formally scheduled to open at Timeline Theatre last May before the pandemic shutdown is currently in negotiations for a winter date this season. She is also slated to direct a postponed world premiere “The Last Pair of Earlies” at Raven, this fall. Her favorite quote to live by - “I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence.” -  Frederick  Douglass
01:03:08
June 21, 2021
EPISODE 203: Nirine S. Brown- "Ruthless" Actor Talks Being Bold & Unapologetically Black and Talented
NIRINE S. BROWN is a native New Yorker born and raised in Queens, New York. She first explored the world of dance at the age of 5 under the direction of Bernice Johnson at the Bernice Johnson Cultural Arts Center. Nirine continued to train at local dance studios & joined companies such as KECEDE Company, Devore Dance Studio, The Alvin Alley School, Ballet Hispanico School, Balance Dance Company, and Broadway Theater Project in which she received full scholarships. Nirine attended the Performing Arts Talent Unlimited High School as a Dance/ Musical Theater Major. She began her first professional dance career with The Radio City Christmas Spectacular as a Rockette upon graduating High School. Inorder to take part of the opportunity she deferred her full dance scholarship offered by SUNY Purchase Conservatory College to spring semester. Her dancing talents allowed her to go on tour and/or perform notable Artists such as Beyonce, Janelle Monae, Lauryn Hill, Shakira, Mary J. Blige, Jidenna, and Black Eye Pea. Nirine’s training maturity in Musical Theater was honed through the program Broadway Theater Project in Tampa, Fl where she received a full Scholarship. Some of her credits exist in performing with the First National tour of Wicked the Musical, Fringe NYC Festival musical production of "Scandalous People" at the Minetta Lane Theater, "Dinner at Grandma’s" at The Black Spectrum Theatre, and the production of "Hattie... What I Need You to Know" playing as the young Hattie McDaniel staring actress Vickilyn Reynolds at The National Black Theatre located in Harlem, NY. Vocal Training: LaVoix Studio Nirine has vigorously pursued an acting career as well. Her most recent television appearance is with Tyler Perry new hit Drama series RUTHLESS for her role as Lynn Rollins (Series Regular). She has also appeared in media ranging from commercial, print work, special events to independent films. As Nirine continues to pursue her career & dreams in the Arts she will continue to be humble & generous to her family, friends & community.
48:58
June 14, 2021
EPISODE 202: Dajuan Johnson- How He's Helping Actors To Think Bigger & Uplevel Their Careers
DaJuan Johnson is a consistently working actor, certified life coach and the founder of Think Bigger Coaching. Currently you can catch him recurring as Detective Rondell Pierce on Amazon’s hit show BOSCH - the seventh season premieres June 25th. DaJuan’s credits include his ABC backed Emmy campaigned performance on Grey’s Anatomy and his lead role in the Emmy nominated YouTube series The New 30. Credits also include NCIS, Narcos, Suits, Agent Carter, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Days of Our Lives, General Hospital, Private Practice, 24, and Bones, and now he is also on a mission to help actors #uplevel their careers with confidence. His mindset strategies are grounded in real-life experience as a veteran working actor. He has helped hundreds of others break through personal blocks and integrate best audition practices so they can book more work and quickly move to the next level. To learn more about DaJuan, head on over to: https://thinkbiggercoaching.com.
45:22
June 07, 2021
EPISODE 201: Tiffany Black- Talks The Power of Her Pen & Being Unafraid To Take Up Space In This Industry
From the artist... Because 2020 is the best show ever written, I’ll use it to highlight my experiences and multi-cultural sensibilities. I spent the last weeks of 2019 writing a comedy feature. Having spent most of that year battling depression, I was trying to write my way out of it. I entered the new year working on a rewrite, as well as a new comedy pilot. I was optimistic, determined and prepared for some wins. Then Covid-19 hit. I didn’t fear the illness as I successfully battled the flu. And quite frankly, the only thing that scared me more than finding a lump in my breast was the surgery to have it removed. It’s felt much easier to keep something from getting into my body than to having to get something out. Certainly, I could wear a mask and wash my hands. Then outside closed. I was relieved at first. I was scheduled for three weddings and a baby shower that I didn’t want to attend, all before June. Now I had time to write with no interruptions. But the walls started closing in. It was a familiar feeling. Around 2010, during my first stint in Los Angeles, I had a bachelor apartment in Hollywood. I only left home for necessities. I had no car and no money, and it was too hot to run through tourists on Hollywood Blvd chasing the metro. LA residents spend roughly $75 every time they leave the house. I made up that statistic but you get it. My studio apartment went from being a refuge to feeling like a prison. Then the economy crashed. I’ve been through that as well. I graduated from college into a recession. As an actor, I’ve learned to live below my means. Freelancing is a skillset I mastered in Atlanta, when I pursued  survival jobs that were reliable and flexible. In 2014 it was substitute teaching. By 2015, I was working as a stand-in. In 2016, I founded a social media management company. I could make money as long as I had wifi. In 2017, I returned to Los Angeles with a roster of clients. For the brands I represent, the nationwide lockdown turned me into an essential worker. I don’t make as much as the folks on Only Fans but I get to keep my clothes on. Then both the George Floyd and Amy Cooper videos surfaced on the same day. Overnight the world was forced to deal with something that has suffocated black people for more than 400 years: racism. I’ve endured microaggressions like having women clutch their purses when I walk by, not having the door held for me in my apartment building by whites and Asians, granting requests to be more urban during auditions, and my favorite, taking the notes that my writing sounds too much like Insecure or Atlanta because that’s the only experience the reader has with black shows. So now I get to protest for equal rights. Again. And I get to do it all in a mask, which makes me look like a threat. Meanwhile,  corporations offer apologies, cities are painting streets yellow, and all I’d really like to know is when did black pain become the new currency? Where was this ‘support’ when countless black people were murdered on and off camera? What will Hollywood do to tell more authentic stories that not only shape the perception of blacks in the public, but also employ us in rooms where 67% of shows have no black writers at all? I did not make up that statistic. The sudden interest in my work may be fueled by this moment in time. But my perspective and sensibility have always been needed. Black women are simultaneously the most lucrative and underserved demographics in entertainment. My entire existence has prepared me for this. So I’m here, ready, vulnerable, and generous. Because in reality, 2020 has taught me nothing at all. Everybody else is just late to the party.
44:10
June 01, 2021
EPISODE 200: The Actors Lounge Celebrates 200 Episodes
Host Melanie Victor reflects on 200 episodes of the podcast. Her husband BJ interviews her and they talk about the growth of the podcast, the future of it and she gives more information about The Actors Lounge Membership Club, launching on June 1, 2021. Stay tuned!! 
55:27
May 25, 2021
EPISODE 199: Katt Arcos- Talent Manager Talks Best Ways Actors Can Position Themselves for Representation & Growth Within Their Careers
Katt Arcos is an Ecuadorian & Peruvian Talent Manager/Casting Director/Executive Producer born and raised in Jersey City, NJ. She has worked as a business analyst for Showtime and that's when she realized her love for the entertainment industry. In 2015 she opened Arcos Management, a full service talent management company started in Jersey City and has been a passionate Latina talent manager ever since then. Her mission has and will always be to represent the most diverse actors and provide them with the support, development and guidance they need in each step of their acting career. She pushes her clients to reach their goals and is dedicated to helping them push their career forward. Katt has helped her clients land huge bookings that they never believed they could. She also works as a Executive Producer and/or Casting Director for independent short films with production company, Witness Entertainment, and has been able to secure roles for her clients on films that are currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video. She's all for actors creating their own content and building their own opportunities as well!
01:22:45
April 30, 2021
EPISODE 198: Taylor Lambert- Talks Aura Casting & How Actors Can Stand Out Virtually
In January of 2021, Taylor founded a virtual talent casting company called Aura Casting. Where once auditions were held in a studio, Taylor realized the enormous efficiency and convenience of auditioning from home due to the pandemic. When actors sign up on the website, they become eligible for Aura auditions as well as gain access to the growing community of talent, filmmakers, and local artists. Originally from Washington DC, Taylor took a spontaneous road trip out west to California in the summer of 2011, and never looked back! He began his career as a working actor in the San Francisco Bay Area for several years. He was heavily involved in the community, co-founding a very popular actor meetup group called Coffee and Catchup in 2014.
38:20
April 26, 2021
EPISODE 197: Crystel Patterson- Talks Finding Her Passion Through Writing & Creating Her First Children’s Book
"Inspired To Be" children's book series  @inspiredtobe_cp  Crystel is a hardworking mother of two boys, a wife, an active member of her community, and a self-published children's book author. Her long lost love for writing re-emerged during the COVID-19 pandemic, following the murder of George Floyd. in January 2021, She published her first children’s book titled, One Flip, Two Flip, Three Flip, Four, which is  part of her book series entitled "Inspired to Be". this book series is a direct outcome of a question her then 8-year old son asked her following the murder of George Floyd: “Why does the police keep killing black people?”. In that moment she wanted her son to know a different and better narrative. Her vision for the “Inspired to Be” book series came to her a few nights later while  reading a bedtime story to her two sons. They were so into the story, that she started to wonder how the story in that very moment was shaping their young minds. She started to think about how books help children to develop their own narratives and how important it is for children to see themselves in the characters, especially when the character is a positive one. So she decided to write stories inspired by the culture, experience, and dreams of Black people with the goal of using these stories to help change the narrative of black people in the minds of all children. She decided to write stories filled with inspiration from real people so that young readers can say, “if they did can do it, then so can I”.
01:03:26
April 19, 2021
EPISODE 196 :Janette R. Smith- Talks the Power of Mindset & Operating In Purpose
Janette R. Smith is a compassionate and fiery personal coach, speaker, author, and changeagent, most sought after for being able to help clients "push past stuck." Janette has been honored to travel the world to interview, work with, and for some of the great change agents and thought leaders of our time, including Oprah, Zig Ziglar, TD Jakes, Iyanla Vanzant, Laurie Beth Jones, and John Maxwell. Janette' holds a Strategic Intervention Life Coaching Certification through Robbins - Madanes Training. She holds a second coaching certification through Harvard's EdX program, "The Immunity to Change." One of Janette's most powerful tools is her action journal, "From Dream to Reality: Navigating the Path to Your Life Purpose". Through this book and the eCourse by the same name, hundreds of people have been able to focus on their purpose, while creating a strategic plan to succeed. "The 21-Day Release Action Journal" is her other must-have book that walks women through the journey of healing and empowerment. This cancer ‘slayer’ as she calls herself, fervently supports messages of early detection. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. —rocking the Chucks and Pearls, and is the proud Fur Mama to Misa & Nahla her Shih Tzu and Bichon mixed babies.
46:43
March 29, 2021
EPISODE 195: Angelo Maldonado Jr- Talks Mental Health & Being The Change He Wants To See
Angelo Maldonado Jr. is a Brooklyn born Latino-American actor, rapper, singer & comedian. His multifaceted talents have been showcased in principal roles on platforms such as Viceland (Danny's House), MTV (Revenge Prank), NBC (Last Call with Carson Daly), & Caroline's to name a few. Angelo is also an improvisator, impersonator & his vocal ranges are Soprano, Alto & Bari-tenor. Angelo's ability to adapt to any creative environment whether on screen or on stage makes his versatility & talent hard to ignore.
49:48
March 26, 2021
EPISODE 194: Amy Lyndon- Celebrity Booking Coach Talks the Philosophy of Booking & the Lyndon Technique
Amy Lyndon has been entertaining the public since the age of 10. Having grown up in New Rochelle, New York, formal training was as easy as jumping on a train. At 16, Lyndon studied at the Neighborhood Playhouse (NYC) and went on to England to tackle the prestigious London Academy of Performing Arts. After earning her BFA from Syracuse University, she experienced intense drama training with Stella Adler and Harry Mastrogeorge and extensive comedy training with The Groundlings, CBS Comedy on The Lot, Int’l Blend Comedy Troupe with Rick Overton and The Comedy Store. Lyndon has over 100 IMDB Credits. She has 45+ films to her credit, some including: "The UnMiracle" with Stephen Baldwin, "And They're Off" with Sean Astin, "The Poughkeepsie Tapes" for MGM, "The House That Jack Built” with Joe Mantegna and 4 LionsGate Feature Films: "B.T.K,"  “Dracula's Guest," "Ed Gein: The Butcher Of Plainfield” and "Chicago Massacre: Richard Speck."  Lyndon also Starred in Chris Pratt's first film "Cursed Part 3," written & directed by Rae Dawn Chong. On Television, Lyndon Guest Starred in over 30+ television shows, some including: "NCIS," "Adopting Terror" for Lifetime, "Law and Order: Los Angeles," "Eagleheart," "Ugly Betty," "Entourage," "NYPD Blue" and "JAG." She was also Recurring in "Days of Our Lives," "The Bold and the Beautiful," "General Hospital," "Young and The Restless" and a Recurring Guest Lead in "Freddy's Nightmares." On stage, Lyndon's wacky performance as “Bobbi Michelle” in "Last of The Red Hot Lovers" at The Tiffany Theatre earned her a “Marquee Comedy Award” and critical acclaim starring as “Roberta” in “Danny And The Deep Blue Sea.” Additionally, Amy Lyndon is a Multi-Award Winning director, writer, producer. Her film "Odessa" starring the late Yolanda King (Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's Eldest Daughter) won “The Gold Plaque Jury’s Choice Award” at the TV/FEST Chicago International Television Competition, “The Diamond Halo Award” at the Angelciti International Film Festival, “Jury’s Choice Award” at the Temecula Valley International Film Festival and was honored to be chosen 15 times for Official Selections. She won the “Spirit of Moondance Award” for the Best Family Screenplay "Unleash My Heart" at the Moondance International Film Festival and she directed her first World Premiere Play "The Parasites," which was produced by The Met Theatre to sold out audiences. Lyndon also directed and produced "Award-Winning," which won “Best Comedy” at the G.I.A.A. Film Festival in NYC, “Audience Choice Award” at the Washougal International Film Festival and then received a “Directing Award” and an “Audience Choice Award” for the film "The Whiskey Girls" from The New York International Film Festival. Lyndon also wrote, directed and produced the Pilot sitcom "I Wanna Marry Larry," directed the films “Chloe’s Song,” “Dice,” “#Unfiltered” and “Faking Death.” “Love is a Tickle in the Heart” just won “Best Documentary Short” from Studio City International Film Festival and her award winning short “Odessa” is now being shopped to studios by a big time production company.
58:03
March 22, 2021
EPISODE 193: J Nycole Ralph- Talks Artist Entrepreneurship & Helping Actors Transition From Their 9 to 5
Meet J Nycole Ralph J Nycole Ralph IG As one of the top 2% of actors in the industry, J Nycole Ralph loves helping other artists and entrepreneurs make an impact in the world and get paid well to do it!  She was a full time teacher in the poorest district in the United States and was burnt out and started resenting going to work because it was not her actual dream.  She decided to change that, and she proudly boasts that she’s now a Broadway actor, an award-winning film producer, and a bad bitch entrepreneurial coach.  She loves to help boss divas do what she did and transition from their office job to making 6 figures or more as an artist-entrepreneur within 12 months, in an eye opening way without having to put in tons of hours of work. J Nycole has been living her dream of performing on Broadway and touring around the world for the past several years, telling the heartwarmingly impactful yet hilarious story, The Book of Mormon (written by Matt Stone & Trey Parker, writers of South Park), while also working on several star-studded, award-winning films alongside Adam Sandler, Whoopi Goldberg, Jerry Seinfeld, Rosario Dawson, and Yara Shahidi, just to name a few.  She has also created her own comedic series called Working Out the Kinks, streaming on Black Oak TV, that not only makes you laugh, but also uses hair as a vehicle to explore and educate on the differences between black and white culture.  Additionally, J Nycole is an executive producer on the American Black Film Festival feature film selection, Lola, the first African-American female boxing movie, starring Taja V. Simpson of The Bold and the Beautiful and Tyler Perry’s Boo 2. J Nycole is also a certified life coach and entrepreneurial coach with the world-renowned organization, Inner Access, as well as a contributing coach with the Forbes celebrated organization for actors, The Actor's Green Room. J Nycole's mission is to carry out the legacy of entertaining while empowering and educating- a legacy left to her by her mother and grandparents to whom she gives thanks and honor, for without them, she would not be the woman she is today.
52:17
March 19, 2021
EPISODE 192: Brian Confer- Founder of The Headshot Truck Talks Actor Headshots
EXCLUSIVE DISCOUNT CODE FOR THE ACTORS LOUNGE LISTENERS:  $100 unlimited looks package- ACTORSLOUNGE100 First month free off of the 'WORKING ACTOR' subscription package- ACTORSLOUNGEFIRST Click HERE to visit their website and book your session today!  Brian Confer, has been an actor for over 25 years, living in NYC and Chicago before moving to LA 16 years ago. In the last 6 years he has transitioned from being in front of the screen to behind it, by producing digital series and films. Most actors have day jobs, and Brian did sales and marketing for 10+ years before deciding to start his own company.  In 2014 he became a Co-Founder of The Headshot Truck, which is the first mobile photography studio in the country. The Headshot Truck was designed by actors, for actors and delivers high quality headshots at affordable prices. Over the years The Headshot Truck has developed relationships with amazing actors, agents, casting directors, and studios. Recently they started the first ever actor headshot subscription, which allows actors to shoot 6 looks per year for only $49 per month.
25:46
March 16, 2021
EPISODE 191: Steven St. Pierre- Talks Bringing Vulnerability To His Work, Filmmaking & Being A Resourceful Actor
Steven St. Pierre is a New York native; born to Haitian immigrant parents and raised in Queens. He began acting professionally in 2016 and has since appeared in over 20 film and TV productions, including Emmy Nominated web series Tough Love, HBO’s High Maintenance, and Discovery ID's The Perfect Murder. St. Pierre's upcoming projects are in the feature films The Pill as the lead and Serial Killerin Harlem in a supporting role.  His filmography also include credits as both a writer and director, most notably for his award winning short film Corey, now streaming on Amazon Prime. Corey written, directed, produced and starring St. Pierre, was screened in 20+ film festivals across the country and Canada. The film won 7 awards including 2 best short film wins.  Steven is an avid creative constantly producing new ways to tell stories and entertain an audience both with original drama and comedy content. St. Pierre created the mini-series Room for Rent, a 1 minute character based comedy series that premeired on BronxNet TV in September 2020. He is also a contributing writer at Monologuestogo.com where original monologues can be purchased by performers. Steven also wrote and performed on the inaugural season of the People's Improv Theatre house sketch team "Victory Cereal" for 2 seasons. He's directed the theatre's signature Saturday night show "Old School Sketch Show" held monthly at the PIT on several occasions. St. Pierre honed his comedic ability at the PIT and UCB.  Fun fact: He and Spike Lee share the same birthday and are die hard, suffering Knicks fan. 
01:24:59
March 09, 2021
EPISODE 190: Sean Perez- Talks The Power Of Branding & Helping Actors Get To Their Next Level
Sean Perez has been a Talent Agent since 2015. He has been a Talent Booker since 2013 starting in experiential marketing booking talent for corporate businesses & well known brands for events, activations & campaigns. ​Sean Perez has a wealth of experience being on both sides of the table as he is a performer as well as an agent. Sean has a BA Music (Music Theatre) from The Central Queensland Conservatorium of Music, Mackay - CQUniversity, Cert IV Music Theatre from The Western Sydney Institute of TAFE, NSW & a Cert II & III in Live Technical Theatre & Production. He is known for empowering his clients & other actors in the business that is Show Business which allows them to confidently pursue their dreams with the tools he has given them. He is also an acting coach where his actors have booked, been flown to LA for Pilot Season & callbacks for Networks TV Shows.
51:04
March 02, 2021
Kinnik Sky- Talks Creating Her Own Opportunities & Saying Yes To Yourself
Kinnik is a veteran of stage, television, and film. Originally from Columbia, SC, she spent 14 years honing her craft in Atlanta, GA working professionally in musical theater. She has performed in more than 30 stage plays over the past 20 years with major theatre credits including, “Dreamgirls,” “For Colored Girls,” and Tyler Perry’s “Madea's Class Reunion.” Finishing as a Top 13 Finalist in the hit show American Idol (Season 5), Kinnik then went on to win the Dreamgirls competition sponsored by the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles, CA and Blackweekly.com and was flown to Italy to perform. She also executive-produced, wrote, and hosted the celebrity and entertainment news web series, “Straight From the Sky” that can be seen on KinnikSky.com. Powerhouse directors and producers Tyler Perry, Robert Townsend, Will Packer, and Kenny Leon have cast Kinnik in their projects to utilize her vocal range and acting abilities, but Kinnik’s greatest theatrical achievement to date is writing, producing, and starring in the stage production, “Sunday Mourning” under her Dazzal Mi Entertainment production company (pronounced Dazzle Me), which won three NAACP Theater Awards. The play received a total of seven NAACP Theatre Award nominations, including her nomination for “Best Playwright” and her win for “Best Leading Female.” To date, her production company has received a total of 11 NAACP Theatre Award nominations and seven wins for its stage productions. In 2017, Kinnik launched Dazzal Mi Entertainment’s 501c3, Athletes and Entertainers For Change. AEFC’s first program offering is The Sky Academy designed to expose underserved youth in Los Angeles to jobs in theater and filmmaking, as well as arts and culture. In 2019, Kinnik Sky Films released its first short film, “PAWN,” which was written, directed, and produced by Kinnik, who also starred in the production. “PAWN” world premiered at the prestigious, Oscar-qualifying 2019 BronzeLens Film Festival where it was the official selection. The film has received multiple accolades, including being named the official winner of the Los Angeles Movie Awards 2019, the official selection of the Las Vegas Premiere Film Festival 2019, and the Top Shorts Film Festival 2019 Honorable Mention for Best Story. Kinnik continues to climb in notoriety, expanding into directing and coaching. In 2019, she was hired as the Dialogue Coach for the ABC hit comedy Mixed-ish. She is consistently referred to by writers and directors on the set of Mixed-ish as the “Youth Whisperer” due to her innate and invaluable talent for nurturing young actors in a way that empowers and excites them to give their best performances. In 2020 after watching her work, the show’s staff and crew began requesting that Kinnik privately coach their kids, which inspired her to launch Stars and Sky Private Coaching for actors. Kinnik is also the second Black female instructor ever to join the team at the highly prestigious Lee Strasberg Theater & Film Institute in Los Angeles by personal invitation from founder Lee Strasberg’s son. The institute boasts A-list alumni including, Angelina Jolie, Alec Baldwin, Shandra Wilson, Lady Gaga, and Matt Dillon. Currently, Kinnik Sky Films is in pre-production to turn her award-winning stage play Sunday Mourning into a feature film. Kinnik continues to break new ground and push barriers as an artist, and her motto guides her work: “Not even the sky is the limit when there are footprints on the moon.”
44:10
February 22, 2021
Joseph Pearlman- Celebrity Acting Coach and Founder of Pearlman Acting Academy
Joseph Pearlman helps actors launch their careers faster, win series leads before they go to casting, and reach Oscar level performances on set. Pearlman Acting Academy (PAA), is based in Los Angeles with affiliates around the world, including New York City, London, New Orleans, Chicago, Las Vegas, and Tokyo. Voted “Best Acting Studio & Coach In L.A." PAA is Hollywood's most respected film and TV training studio offering the industry's most advanced private coaching and classes for beginners to celebrities. From Hollywood via Zoom to anywhere in the world. Some of Joseph's clients include: Ridley Scott's Scott Free Productions, Amy Adams, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ryan Reynolds, HBO, Amazon Studios, AMC, TED Talks, Iliza Shlesinger (NETFLIX, comedian), Sian Clifford (Emmy nominated for Fleabag), Eugene Simon (Game of Thrones), Julian Sands, Alex MacNicoll (Transparent), Skylar Grey (5-time Grammy nominee), Sherri Shepherd (30 Rock), and many others. Joseph also coaches presenters for all the major award ceremonies, including the Oscars, Emmys, Grammys, Golden Globes, and Independent Spirit Awards. Joseph has been featured on: The Oscars, Coca-Cola.com, Emmys, AMC, Grammy Awards, Inc. Magazine, Backstage Magazine, SAG-AFTRA, among many others (see website below). You can also check out Joseph's Today Show Oscars feature video here: “Coaching Celebrities To Present At The Oscars.” Joseph is also a regular guest speaker and presenter at: TED Talks, SAG-AFTRA, New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, University of Southern California’s (USC) Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, McGill University’s International Masters for Health Leadership (IMHL) executive program, Doctors Without Borders (MSF), United Nations, World Health Organization (WHO), and many others. Sign up here to get Joseph’s FREE "Acting & Career Tips" delivered to your inbox. Email info@JosephPearlman.com to launch your career now from anywhere in the world and schedule a FREE audit via Zoom and meet our celebrity clients. SOCIAL MEDIA & WEBSITE LINKS Website: http://www.josephpearlman.com Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/josephpearlman/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/josephpearlman Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PearlmanActingAcademy/
55:36
February 15, 2021
William Jefferson, Jr- Talks Being Unapologetic And Fearless On This Creative Journey
William Jefferson Jr is an American Actor, Entrepreneur, and Creative Artist from the Southside of Chicago. Growing up in the Bronzeville area, His first gig was in the hit series "Juke A Chicago Story" as Albert on YouTube that has over 1million views. He attended a small Historical Black College in Fairfield, Alabama Thee Prestigious " Miles College " graduating with a BA in Communications studying Radio/TV/Film. After college He then continued his acting career moving back to his hometown in another web series titled "Tracey Story" as Matthew. Which hit over 200k views on YouTube He has collaborated with other Indie Filmmakers and has since directed and produced his own projects. He is set to star in several upcoming films, and projects under New Black Cinema Productions. He launched his business "The Actor Advisor" January 1st 2021 helping actors get signed with agencies and working on their careers.
48:27
February 10, 2021
Mike Dolphy- Talks The Actor Blueprint & Helping Other Actors Find Success In The Business
Mike Dolphy has been seen in numerous commercials worldwide. His commercial success opened new doors for him in television (Scandal, All-American, The Upshaws), film, hosting, and entrepreneurship.
01:21:60
February 07, 2021
Autumn Bailey Ford- Talks Filmmaking & Being A Producer For The People
An 11-year native of Atlanta with York, Pennsylvania origins, Autumn Bailey has been deemed as a results-driven and highly qualified entertainment executive specializing in independent film production and distribution. She completed her undergraduate studies in Mass Communication with a minor in Philosophy at Shaw University. Mrs. Bailey-Ford is the founder of Autumn Bailey Entertainment whose mission is to produce high quality feature films and television shows. She has worked on over three dozen independent film projects as a producer and has assisted numerous filmmakers secure film distribution for their projects. Autumn is also a member of the Producer Guild of America, Women in film Atlanta & Los Angels, Black Women in Film, SouthEast Emmys Member and one of the charter founding members of Real Divas Atlanta organization. When asked about her passions, she states “to help others, give back and connect individuals from various backgrounds and cultures to achieve a common goal in furthering their entertainment careers.” Mrs. Bailey has played a pivotal role in expanding awareness of the indie film community in Georgia. She founded the Georgia Entertainment Gala in 2013 attracting over 1800 people to the City of Atlanta annually to celebrate Georgia’s talent rise in film, television and film. Through this gala, Mrs. Bailey has garnered the support of numerous community leaders, brands and organizations. Currently, Mrs. Bailey is producing several film and television projects. She is a highly sought after indie producer with over 30 films under her belt both on the small and big screens. Of those films, she has received multiple accolades and won numerous awards. She has expanded her brand on the East and West Coast of the United States to further her reach in assisting indie film communities. Through hard work, faith, dedication and doing good business, Mrs. Bailey is certain to continue breaking through barriers within indie film communities across the U.S. Most recently, Mrs. Bailey has started a co-production company with Cameron Burnett (Son of acclaimed Hollywood Producer Mark Burnett) called Prominent Productions. Aside from being a producer, Mrs. Bailey’s commitment to community enrichment and charitable organizations is never ending. Through her Get Connected Atlanta monthly industry mixer established in 2011 created for the people by the people, Mrs. Bailey utilizes this established platform to donate proceeds to various social organizations across Georgia while providing a networking opportunity platform for novice and seasoned industry professionals. Her advice to young aspiring producers and professionals “Work hard, do business that uplifts others and show people that if they believe they can achieve anything they set their minds to accomplish.”
49:42
January 20, 2021
Numa Perrier- Talks Being A Powerhouse & Undeniable In Her Lane
NUMA PERRIER DIRECTOR, ACTOR,WRITER, PRODUCER Born in Haiti and raised in small town USA, Numa Perrier has emerged as an exciting multi hyphenate in the film/TV landscape.  Her early work includes starring in and writing the hit web series, The Couple, which scored a deal at HBO.  She co-founded the pioneering streaming platform Black&Sexy TV serving as a creator, director, and showrunner on over a dozen series including Roomieloverfriends (produced by Issa Rae) and Hello Cupid (co-created by Lena Waithe) She then moved on to her feature film directorial debut, Jezebel, which premiered at SXSW 2019 and is distributed on Netflix via Ava DuVernay’s ARRAY Releasing. Numa is the recipient of the Best Feature and Best Director Awards at the American Black Film Festival, is a Root100 alumni and is also counted as one of the all women directing team on Queen Sugar, helming an episode that trended nationally. In front of the camera Numa recurred as  guest star on Showtime's irreverent comedy SMILF in an critically acclaimed story arc about immigrants.  Numa is currently starring in the surreal thriller Fuzzyhead alongside Rain Phoenix, and is in development on numerous projects including TOXIC, an erotic thriller series, and her follow up feature, Blood Mother, via her boutique production arm House of Numa.
46:24
January 05, 2021
Denim Richards- Talks Mastering Your Mind & Unplugging From Distractions
Denim Richards has been performing for over two decades with 20+ musical theater productions as well as numerous TV and film credits under his belt. He can currently be seen in the series regular role of ‘Colby’ opposite Kevin Costner in the hit Paramount Network series "Yellowstone," currently airing Season Three. On the feature film front, Denim will next appear as ‘Jack Brown’ in “The Chickasaw Rancher,” which tells the remarkable story inspired by the life of renowned Chickasaw cattleman Montford T. Johnson. Denim also directed and co-wrote a short film called “The Zoo” – a dark, gritty WWII psychological thriller highlighting the black experience during the Holocaust, currently in post-production. Also on the writing front, Denim has released an inspirational self-help and wellness book called Mastering The Mind, currently available for purchase as an e-book. All proceeds from the book are going to Operation Underground Railroad, whose mission is to eradicate human trafficking, specifically child trafficking. In 2006, Denim took first place in acting and singing in the Los Angeles NAACP competition. He went on to take fourth in nationals.  For those who knew him well, the accolades came as no surprise.  Denim found his passion for the arts when he was just six years old while performing as a guest soloist at the world-renowned Crystal Cathedral.  Since then, he has never looked back.  Through his acting, Denim loves to guide audiences through a range of emotions that leave them feeling uplifted and inspired. He is often attracted to roles that require extreme character development and vocal ability. Denim has always had a burning desire to own and create, so in 2010, he established his own production company, Lazer Focus Productions, LLC (LFP).  LFP is a multi-ethnic company that takes pride in telling original stories of quality while providing opportunities for professionals in the entertainment industry.  Denim believes that there is amazing talent everywhere, and LFP is the platform that is needed to showcase that talent. Denim's brand is Love.  He believes that everyone should receive it, especially children.  Denim strongly believes that, "in this day in age where everyone is so busy, we have to remember that the youth are our future."  With this in mind, he launched Youth Empowering Success (YES).  YES is a nonprofit organization that focuses on giving youth a positive voice through the arts: singing, acting, dancing, public speaking and/or filmmaking.  In conjunction with his nonprofit, Denim also mentors third, fourth and fifth-grade children at MLK Elementary. Denim is also very active in many different charities such as United Steps, which addresses homelessness; RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network); Rowell's Foster Children's Positive Plan and the Innocent Justice Foundation. Denim hopes to continue being a positive role model and an inspiration of hope.
01:06:50
December 31, 2020
Asante Deshon- Talks Pursuing His Dream While Allowing His Faith To Lead Him
Asanté (which means "thank you" in the African language of Swahili) was born Asanté Deshon Parker, in the south side of Chicago, to Wendy and Derrick Parker, both former creatives. Asanté first showcased his acting capabilities at the age of five when his parents placed him in his school's Christmas production. Playing a minute role as one of the twelve mice, he believed he indeed caught his love for acting at that very moment. Growing up in the south of South of Chicago wasn't ideally the safest part of town, however, his parents made sure he was not stirred by his environments during his upbringing. Asanté’s parents tossed both him and his little sister Shanté into every extra curricular activity they could think of but nothing stood like his passion to bring joy to others. Starring in the hit television show “Chicago Fire” as Mikey on NBC, playing Dwayne in the feature film “Teacher” and so much more, he eventually went off to pursue what he knows is his purpose.
01:02:02
December 28, 2020