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Acting The Part



I’ve been reflecting on my career and when it actually began. I think it started around 16 yrs old, as a sophomore at Glenville Senior High School. Now as I look back at my high school years I was a mogul then and took care of my business. I began my acting career on stage under the direction of my Speech Presentation/Drama teacher, Mr. Cornell Calhoun, who has been my mentor for over 10 years. I was nervous auditioning for the role of “Husband” in a play called “Old Settler.” There were four of us in the cast, Anita Tobin, Anjillian “AJ” Hill, & Luckey Dickerson & myself. We worked hard and learned our lines fast. Even at that young of an age I felt like I was on a Broadway stage. I take being an actor seriously. When I’m in acting mode nothing else matters, but getting the scene done right. We all understood how important it was to show our talents because our community would be watching us. It was all about making sure we portrayed our characters the proper way they were meant to be.

  So after a few weeks of rehearsal it was SHOW TIME. We did Amazing and Mr. Calhoun came up on stage, PROUD & CRYING, tears streaming down his face. I still remember that moment. He was so proud of us because we came ALIVE on STAGE and SHINED. We got a standing ovation from the crowd. I knew at that moment I was a part of something big. Here I was this outspoken kid who has a lot to say and now the foundation for my platform is in front of me, on stage. The first time I had ever done a play was in the 5th grade. I didn’t understand what was going on then. All I knew was not to mess up my lines. Now as a teenager it all made sense as to why I loved being on stage in front of a crowd of people. There’s this one line in Old Settler where I say, “She used to kiss me good night.” I was referencing my character’s affection he received from his mother and how he was trying to smooth talk Lo Bessie, his on the side boo, into some adult fun action. (Laughs) This play took place before all of these reality shows and the drama in that play was deep. It’s actually a movie starring Phylicia Rashad, and Debbie Allen and a host of other talented actors. I got to see the movie a few years after we did this production. Let me say I did pretty good. (Smiles) 

What I gained from that experience and carried away with me is whatever you do, do it well. Whatever project your name is attached too represents your brand, so choose who you want to work with wisely. Fortunately for me I worked with top notch actors and had an AWARD-WINNING director/playwright.  Yes in high school I was surrounded by greatness. I treated every play I did from that point on like an award-winning performance. That is what has allowed me various opportunities to do various plays and take breaks in between to enjoy life. I know there will come a time when the focus is the stage and television world. That is why I continue to maintain a grounded lifestyle that suits me and my circle of loved ones.

 Mr. Calhoun gave me these words of wisdom back in 2004, after graduating high school: “Never leave the stage, never drop the pen, never cease to smile. You are an original.” I reflect on these words often because I’ve never stopped being active in my artistic career. One of the things I’m glad I did was remain PATIENT. I thought I’d be on stages all over the world by now most of the year. What I discovered was it wasn’t time for that yet because I needed to close up any gaps going on in my personal life. Beyond being a writer, actor, entertainer, I am a son. I have now gained the proper stability needed for me to expand my career and let my Mom do her thing. I know that the next role I do will push me further as an actor and shine in my craft. My goal is not to become a famous actor; it’s to become an actor of creative substance. I also want to get in the directors chair too and elevate other actors/actress’ careers. I THANK everyone who has come to support me in any of my theatrical endeavors. I appreciate all of the love and grateful for your continued belief in me.

 What’s your big dream or dreams Starrah’s? Share them.

 Takes A Bow,

Willie J


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Posted by on August 29, 2012 in The Starrah © Speaks


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