We sat outside a cafe on a sunny Parisian day enjoying tea while discussing a few of our future goals. At that moment I had to marvel at where we were. I’d kill for the real estate in that neighborhood. It oozed everything I wanted out of Paris- history, refinement, and views. It was definitely what anyone would call goals.Read More
If you're gay and black or simply live in LA then you either know or know of Jayce Baron. He's everyone's friend and inspiration. So after careful review and finding out who this guy is I decided he must be interviewed for #IndustryTalk. Not just because he's an author and I love to read, not just because he's a baptist preachers kid and I grew up in a baptist church, not because he has a degree in entertainment communication, and not because he's created a media network and I'm an actor. All of which are great but I was more enthralled with his philanthropy. I’ve learned that the character of any great artist can be measured by the friends they keep and how they give back.
R|A: Thanks for being apart of the #IndustryTalk family Jayce. You're a pretty well known LGBT Advocate here in Los Angeles. At what point in your life did you decide that this is what you wanted to do?
J|B: Ha! The funny thing is I still get a little weirded out when people call me an advocate because it was never really what I set out to accomplish, it just passionately happened. I started Kiss & Tell Networks after I saw the success of a live LGBTQ panel discussion I hosted and produced. After I saw the response I knew that this was my God given calling and I was going to do whatever it took to unify the community, but with my sense of style!
R|A: What did you want to be growing up? I mean did you know you would be a writer, a social entrepreneur, and an LGBT advocate?
J|B: Absolutely NOT! Are you kidding me? I used to fail the spelling part of the SATs in elementary all the time! I do remember writing a lot of stories and organizing full blown productions with my younger siblings for my parents, but I just thought that was me being bossy living the definition of the older child syndrome. I went to college for Communications with an emphasis in Public Relations because I knew I loved to talk and loved a good party. I modeled for a bit as well. When I saw how superficial... what I was doing for a paycheck, was becoming, I knew I needed something with more weight and fulfillment. Everything I am today career-wise was unintentional and a direct result of simply doing what I love, learning from my mistakes, and the universe giving me everything I need to fulfill my duties on this earth.
R|A: I caught an episode or two of your Itunes podcast Kiss & Tell Radio, which was very eye opening with celebrity news, dating, and sex. When did you start your podcast and for those creatives who would love to do what you're doing how did you start podcasting?
J|B: Yes Shar and I love doing our show. We have two completely different personalities so listeners get a kick out of our dynamic. I started Kiss & Tell Radio because I wanted an easy way to produce content between live Kiss & Tell shows. It was a lot easier than I thought! I got a recorder from Amazon, my sister created the intro beat, and we literally just record the set list of topics. The tech stuff with the RSS feed and getting it on iTunes was all stuff I googled and figured out. It's almost been a year since the first show and we're launching the NYC hosts within weeks. Also, we just signed on with REVRY, an LGBT entertainment platform you can subscribe to on Apple TV, Ruko, etc. It's been an extremely fun process!
R|A: You’ve recently celebrated the release of your new book: Absolutely Me. Can you tell readers what your book is about?
J|B: Yes! My novel "Absolutely Me" is finally out! The book is about a young man name Eli who is going through all the motions of self discovery with his sexuality. It's cool because each chapter is a different guy he is dealing with. Whether it's some sneaky sex scandal, just fucking, seriously dating, or your typical "situationship", he's trying to find out what the hell being gay is. He realizes at the end that his sexuality has nothing to do with others, but all to do with himself. I hate to brag, but it's a good read! I'm really hard on myself, but I have to say I am very proud with this accomplishment and even more happy with the way people are responding.
R|A: I was reading a passage of your book which was very nostalgic for me. You described NYC so well you've had to live there? What was the inspiration behind Absolutely Me?
J|B: New York City will always have my heart. My mother was raised in Queens so I was always out there growing up. I ended up moving there permanently right after college and the experience blew my mind in so many unexpected ways. I told you I'm from California, so I never owned a pair of boots, shoveled snow... nothing. I was clueless and totally had to relearn how to live. I'm still out there once a month for meetings and I facilitate a youth workshop in Brooklyn. I'd say I'm bicoastal on a budget!
A lot of "Absolutely Me" is based on experience, shared stories, or situations any young person who is trying to figure out life goes though, especially if they identify as LGBTQ. There is not really a road map on how to do this and sexual fluidity is just now becoming socially accepted. I wanted people, whatever demographic, to relate, laugh, and learn. Those were my intensions.
R|A: What advice can you give aspiring writers?
J|B: Like Nike's slogan... "Just do it." I was recently asked how I started writing my book and I literally just started writing a story and describing everything I felt during that time. I randomly found what I had written in my gmail inbox years later and decided it was the perfect time to finish and conclude the story. Same with my blog. The more you do it, the better you get. So start now! It will all eventually make sense. Hold yourself accountable meet your own deadlines and just put your heart into it.
R|A: I read that you're also a PK (Preacher's Kid). Baptist no-less, (I'm baptist...long story), what was your experience like growing up in a religious household? Personally I think we all get to a point where who we’re becoming conflicts with the principles we were brought up on.
J|B: One thing I am extremely grateful for is I was raised to know the difference between religion and my relationship with God. I was always raised in environments that got me a lot of attention and being in the first family was one of them. This made the church more human, which can be interpreted in many ways. For me, it was clear that people, whether in the first family or Peaches the stripper are humans and make mistakes. Because of that, I never really put leaders of any church on a pedestal much like fans do for their favorite music artist. When I went through my own personal journey of reconciling with my sexuality and knowing God loves me when maybe "religion" did not, it made all the difference. Jesus is and always will be the homie.
R|A: Tell readers more about your blog? What inspires you?
J|B: I just started writing about the lessons I was learning and idiot mistakes I made. I didn't even promote my blog at first... it was just for me. When I started showing my friends they got a kick out of it and encouraged me to share. Sometimes I'll wake up at 3:24am and words will just start pouring out. I just grab my phone and start writing and clean it up the next day.
R|A: What's next for Jayce?
J|B: Oh my goodness that is a loaded question with an even bigger answer. I'm always creating but I've learned to take things one step at a time. Well, 2016 is pretty much already planned out. Launching Kiss & Tell Live Las Vegas with Senator Kelvin and Woody Atkinson this summer. We have two more live shows around the country closing out the year. I have a couple outside writing opportunities. Several workshop and speaking engagements based around my book, "Absolutely Me". And lets just say if all goes according to plan I'll be completely off the grid for about a month filming. Stay tuned
R|A: What most important piece of advice would you say have helped you in life?
J|B: My dad once told a 19 year old me while I was cussing out someone on the phone that, "You're only given a certain amount of energy per lifetime... use it wisely." He probably doesn't remember but the words have become a pivotal lead in the way I navigate through life. I'm so aware of how I spend my time and energy now. I'm very slow to anger and I am extremely mindful on keeping a balanced work and personal life.
If you watch the new hit medical drama Chicago MED then you've seen Mr. Roland Buck III. He's young, handsome, with a rising star in Hollywood. Graduating from USC with a degree in acting I thought his perspective on how he got into the industry would prove very helpful to all of you aspiring actors, writers, and producers. I sat with Roland at the W Hotel right in Hollywood to get an exclusive interview. Along with this interview are his tips on obtaining representation and how his start with that was tumultuous. So check out Mr. Buck and leave your comments below. #IndustryTalk
R|A: What scene in that film (The Wood) made you decide this to go into acting?
R|B: Well it wasn't a particular scene but it was more like the opening scene the dude's name was Roland, so I was watching the scene with my mom, and I was like mom he's got my name so it made me pay attention a little more because I've never seen anyone with my name. So as I kept watching the movie I never saw people on TV or acting as a job. So I turned to my mom when the movie was over and was like ‘mom is that a job, can I do that?’ And she was like yeah, you can do anything you want to do. So I was like okay I want to be like Jim Brown- I want to be a football player, and I want to be an actor. You know, as a kid you want everything.
R|A: Before you went to USC to study theater you had attended North Carolina A&T university & then by your sophomore year had transferred to Texas Southern University. What were you studying at this time?
R|B: Yeah so I was recruited to play football at both universities, so I went on a football scholarship but I majored in radio-television and film. I figured that could be a good segue in so I was taking the timid route, and when I turned 18 I decided I really wanted to pursue acting professionally. But not as a major because most of my focus was on football. So I did radio-television and film, so that I could still be in front of the camera and still show my personality. But yeah I had to make a choice. So my love for football kind of shifted. There's a lot of politics in college football because there's a lot of money involved. So my love for the game shifted from that to acting and I knew I had to choose one thing. If I was going to make it as an actor I had to put my all into it. I couldn't do both. So I dropped out of school my senior year and moved here (Los Angeles). Yes in 2010.
R|A: You became one of seven finalist for the ABC discovers yearly competition. What type of monologue/scene did you perform and what was the feeling you had once you realized that you were one in over 7,000 who had auditioned?
R|B: Yes so they gave us a list of scenes (it wasn't a monologue) to put on tape. And the one I connected with was a dramatic one. It was kind of like an interrogation scene where I'm accused of killing my mom & dad, but the truth in the character that I found was that he didn't. So basically I'm fighting for my life. I was happy when I found out that I was one of seven. I had to do another tape. I chose to do a comedic one for the final round but um’ it's just as an actor you come close to a lot of stuff. So it didn't work out. I was happy but it was just another thing that I almost got. It becomes like a routine. (Looking back) if I would have gotten that, I would have been under contract with ABC and probably wouldn't have been able to do Chicago MED. So it works out.
R|A: What actors- past and present do you feel influence you most?
R|B: That's tough- Denzel (Washington) I met him twice, he's a humble dude. Very inspiring. He just gives that great energy off. He really took time to shake my hand, look me in the eyes, ask how I was doing. He gave me some advice. I saw him on broadway as well. One of my mentors Jason Dirden was in a play with him- A Raisin in The Sun. I was in New York for my showcase with USC my senior year and I got to see it (the play) and I got to meet him (Denzel Washington) again. Him, Leo (Leonardo Di Caprio). I really admire his body of work throughout his career. Joaquin Phoenix- I like him a lot, if I had to choose one more I’d say Don Cheadle. For sure his body of work. He studied at Cal Arts in Valencia. Those guys for sure I would love to have those hitters they have.
R|A: How'd you get cast for Chicago MED?
R|B: Regular audition process. My agent and manager gave me an audition that I had to self tape for. Because the casting director was in New York. The funny thing is I used to work at NBC as an intern in Talent & Casting. So that week that I got that audition I was actually helping my old casting director with the NBC Short Cuts Film Festival. I had never gotten an audition for them in the two years that I worked there or since I graduated. Not even with my very first Rep who was working there at the time. I told her about it and she was like okay send me your tape too- (the one you sent to your Reps and I'll make sure they look at it). I read the breakdown, self taped for it- and then a week later I booked it and I'm flying out to Chicago. That was a blessing.
R|A: Do you still get nervous auditioning or do you have a proven prep method to shake the jitters?
R|B: Well I think as long as you care about something, you're always going to have some kind of nerves, because that just shows you care about your work. I don't have nerves to where it's affecting my work negatively. I think just by doing you become more comfortable.
R|A: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
R|B: 5 Years would be my 11th year here in LA, definitely an established working actor, with a good resume and a good name still.
R|A: You studied theater in college- which do you prefer theater, or TV and film?
R|B: They're all different. I don't prefer one over the other. Theater is alive performance verses TV which is rapidly produced and film you spend a few months on it, but then you have to let it go. At least on stage you have that immediate response from the crowd. And you have complete control of the product on stage. It gives you a different rush- on stage, than television and film. I like them all. One day I hope to be known as someone who can win an Oscar, and Emmy, and a Tony award.
R|A: What would you say is the most difficult part about being in the industry?
R|B: Well from my experience, and because everyone is different. Just genuine people I would say. When you're first starting out everybody out here is saturated with people just wanting the glitz or the glam. Everybody wants to be a celebrity and not everyone is going to have your best interest in mind. But once you start to rise and the cream of the crop starts to separate itself, the people that really want to be in this industry for the craft and the work that they're doing you have more genuine people. It takes a while to get to that level. So you have to have a little bit more discernment and positive energy. It's going to be a lot of no’s. A lot of people are negative. Hollywood is very saturated with image, the status, money, you know smoke and mirrors. Like in keeping up with this person and that person. The competition is between you and yourself. That's all it is. That's the toughest part.
R|A: I see you're with Rebel Entertainment Partners. Explain your steps to obtaining representation? Were you signed before or after college?
R|B: Yeah well it actually took me 4.5 years to get representation since I moved here. I couldn't even get an email when I first got here. After everything- being at USC and my showcase I had over 20 people come out to represent me. 20 meetings- you know I just always hustle. I didn't depend on USC’s name go get me anything. I really hustled, I would invite people out to my shows. Every play I had at USC. I went to IMDB Pro and researched people that I look up to like Michael B. Jordan & Shia Labeouf, young actors, young Hollywood. I look up their managers. I was given the advice that it’s better to get a manager first then an agent. Because they can help you get the agent. So they help mold your career, and are more personal with you. I got a list, I wrote emails, I made a flyer with head shots on it to promote myself for the show that I was in.
I would use that to promote myself. I'd tag my website at the bottom as well. I also printed out hard copies and mailed it to them. And then called. Not like all at once though. I would then write notes, on my feedback on the vibe I got back from them. Like if they were some assholes I would write that on their profile notes, and then I wouldn't call them anymore. But I'd make note of that. You know it's how you treat people, because one day you're going to see me again. I'm going to know. Some that were really nice to me would be like “I'm not looking for anyone right now, but let me know when you're a senior, or let me know when you have another showcase.” I just kept a log of that. One of my final shows before the showcase was ‘In The Blood’ it was a Susan Laurie Parks play, I had 5 managers come. Matthew Lesher- who I'm with right now came and I signed with him. He gave me options. He was like just come on let's go through this process together, if you don't feel like it's working out you're not under contract, and if I don't feel like it works out for me I don't have to keep you. And I was like that's perfect because I wanted to weigh my options at the showcase as well. So we did pilot season together in 2014 and I liked him a lot. He got me into some really good rooms, and he got people to come to my showcase.
Aside from what USC got me, he scheduled my meetings after. So I'm like yeah, I'm going to stick with this dude. He really believes in me. I stuck with him, and then I got a meeting with Rebel (entertainment partners). The interesting thing is- and you can have the exclusive on this… Is that… I didn't sign with rebel at first. For some reason the email didn't go through to set up a meeting. It went to the junk box. So I ended up signing with another agency (not gonna say they're name). But 3 months after that he got fired, and not telling me that he was fired from the agency. So you know sometime went by and I didn't get any auditions my manager was right on it. I never even knew that he was fired. He just told me when the situation was resolved. He was like you know what- this happened, this happened, this happened. But we got you a meeting with Rebel Entertainment Partners- they want to meet with you, and they're interested in signing you. So I went and met with them and I would have signed with them from the get go. But God works in great ways. That was my warm up that summer. Because right when I went to a meeting with the agency and they didn't want to keep me. I got with Rebel and they said that my old agency didn't know my worth. A few months later I tested for a CBS pilot. So that was a good thing.
R|A: What can we expect from your Character Noah Sexton who correct me if I'm wrong is siblings opposite YaYa Decosta?
R|B: They extended Season 1, 5 more episodes, so we have 18 episodes. I go back in two weeks to film episode 15. I'm a 3rd year med school Doctor. I like him a lot. YaYa is amazing to work opposite with. It's definitely some conflict in our family. I'm kind of the golden kid of the family. Only one child was allowed to go to MED school. We’re from Brazil, we moved here. Our last name was changed to Sexton to get us acclimated and Americanized. In episode 11 we get to speak Portuguese. Just a little bit. I hope we get to do more. I would love that. Basically one person could go to MED school. I was the boy so I was chosen to go. She's actually smarter than me. And she wants to be the doctor, but she took a back seat for me, sacrificed for me. She's always been there helping me out. Like I (Noah Sexton) was always leaning on her shoulders since I was a baby. And now I'm messing up. Which you guys will see. And basically it's like sink or swim for me. It's time for you to be a man, and if you want to be a good doctor then you need to man up and start taking responsibility.
R|A: When you get the script do you have to look up everything?
R|B: Yes I look up everything. The series regulars were actually able to spend two weeks in a hospital to shadow doctors. We have a doctor on set too to make sure that everything. We’re doing is right. At least as best as it can be, and then our pronunciations are right. Like Jeff he writes a lot of the episodes, he was a doctor before he stopped practicing medicine and he decided he wanted to be a screenwriter. So he's on set too and he's like “Roland- that's not how you say it…” Some of them like Collin have a lot harder dialogue. They ask questions, they do their research before, and they get it down. They're professionals for sure.
R|A: How many table reads does Chicago MED hold per episode before shooting?
R|B: Zero. We don't do table reads no. At least I've never done any table reads. Yeah it's quick, TV is quick. I mean a lot of shows do table reads. But they don't. We rehearse obviously- on set. But you know they know what you can do. They booked you for the job, they want you to reproduce that audition but make it even better.
R|A: What have you learned from working on a big budget show compared to indie films/projects?
R|B: It's the same really, it's just more money. Like they have more money to produce it. (I was hoping you would say the dressing room is better.) Yeah the trailer, and they fly you out first class, car service, more pay, a lot of stuff. (I feel like that gives you more time to study. On the flight go over your scenes, since you're not driving you can go over your scenes.) Yeah
R|A: Do you still take classes?
R|B: I haven't since graduating, but you know once I have the time and the finances I want to take some improv classes. But yeah you always should continue to study. I think the amount of auditions I get is already studying enough for me. I'm going in and out of character, reading scripts, and really exercising that muscle. Yeah so if you’re not doing anything then you should definitely be in classes. But I'm here to work and I'm working right now.
R|A: What advice would you give someone if they told you they wanted to be an actor?
R|B: I would say do you love it? Really check your intentions on why you want to be an actor. And if you do love it I would say have a strong faith, believe in yourself, and work. That's it. Build that solid foundation. I feel like every actor I look up to has a solid foundation that promotes longevity. Have range. Definitely study theater, take classes, watch movies, read books, read plays.
R|A: Top 3 music artist you're listening to?
R|B: Kendrick Lamar, Logic, and then… Drake. I like Drake’s music. (You kinda look like Drake) LOL yeah that's what people say. They used to call me little Drizzy back in the day.
R|A: Favorite food?
R|B: Steak… A nice steak. (Do you know how to cook?) Ah a little bit. I'm getting better.
R|A: Worst thing about living in LA?
R|B: Price- I would say. I mean you get used to that though.
R|A: What is your take on the #OscarSoWhite controversy?
R|B: I think there's a good point on both sides of it. I agree with Whoopi Goldberg's interview she did on The Talk. She had great points. We need people with big budget projects to make more content with minority's in mind.
R|A: Lastly what advice do you wish someone would have given you before entering the business?
R|B: I got a lot of really great advice. My mentor Jason Dirden has been great my whole career. His mom was my teacher at TSU (Texas Southern University). Something I wish I would have know- ah I guess the fickle people. I pretty much knew what to expect. It wasn't anything that was too much of a surprise to me. But many people talk but won't be about it. It can be friends like they want to make web-series together. They talk talk talk but don't do it. Or it can be people you've got a gig from and it doesn't work out. Like you can book a job but it might not never see the light of day. I have a feature film that still isn't out and it's been two years. So as an actor your power is in the 3 minutes in that audition or on each take. After that you have no control. That's something I'm learning now. Once you get executive producer credit, or you're producing your own films- if you have that desire; you have a bit more power. But really all you have as an actor is between action and cut. So you better make it good. Because you never know which take they're going to take, or if it'll ever see the light of day.
N|H|W: Okay that's actually two questions so let me answer the first one first. I actually went to law school to be a producer. I know that sounds random, I was… I had every intention of being a doctor. I was going to be a neurosurgeon, I was a bio-medical engineering major when I first went to school. And then I realized, I looked around and was like one of these kids is doing his own thing and I was like its me. And I secretly changed my major and my mom said I'm not saying you can't major in dance because I changed it to dance. But she said you shouldn't major in dance at the University of Illinois- like if you're going to be a dancer then you should go to a school for dance. Because you're going to be a dance teacher if you go study dance at the university of Illinois. In any event I ended up changing my major to communications with a minor focus on theater. We called it at University of Illinois- Oral Interpretation so I had intended on becoming a performer and going to Broadway and being on Broadway and all of that. But then I came out to LA my junior/senior year of college and it was the hardest summer I've ever had to endure my car got stolen (in 1996- I mentioned the LA riots and Rodney King era. Nathan laughs in agreement of the craziness.) I read this article by Debra Martin Chase, and in the article she talked about her job as a producer and I was like that's what I want to do. I want to create, I want to be in charge, I want to be the boss; because, I like steak better than I like pork n’ beans. She talked about in the article how much law school helped- she went to Harvard law school. And I came back after my car got stolen back to the University of Illinois & I told my mom “I'm gonna go to law school” and she was like where did that come from? I don't think I told her at that time that I was going to law school to become a producer or that I had read this article about Debra. Anyways I didn't study for the LSAT, I just took it, and I was like if it's meant to be then its meant to be, and if it's not then its not. I got accepted to some great schools and I chose George Washington University because it was the school that I felt was the closest to my personality. Even though I got into some schools that are considered quote un-quote better than that. And I loved it. I loved law school but I had no intention of practicing law but of becoming a producer. (A degree to practice law and never use it- I inquire) I use it everyday.
R|A: After 15 years in New York, what made you move to L.A. and how do you like it in comparison?
N|H|W: So you know I love New York, New York is my favorite city in the world and it always will be. New York helped make me who I am today as a professional, Chicago helped make me who I am as a person and New York cut my teeth as a professional. It taught me how to hustle, it taught me how to never give up. But I'm in entertainment and the well of entertainment is only so deep. Like I had reached that level, I've done everything that I could do in New York and I really wanted to take my career to the next level and I knew that I had to do something drastic to shake it up. I actually decided to move to LA when I was here, I was having lunch with Jussie Smollet when he'd just gotten Empire it was April 28th, 2014 and him and my friend Jennia Fredrique (Noah’s Arc) who's an actress and filmmaker as well, was like you need to just move here. And it was the tail end of a really good trip and I said okay- I'm moving to LA. That's kind of how I am, and then I went back to New York and broke my leg, and God was like okay slow down little boy because I would have just picked up and moved here without a plan and you know trying to fly. I'm here for work… I'm here to work… I'm here because my job is here and the weather helps as well, that was following two brutal winters in New York City. I had a break down, I had a missing New York and family breakdown two weeks ago, but now I'm passed it. And I know that I am here for a reason. So I can't say that I'm loving it yet, but I'm definitely focused.
R|A: Tell readers about your new book “Ladies Who Lunch & Love”, what inspired you to write about these women and their gay best friend?
N|H|W: So Ladies Who Lunch & Love is a novelization of the Essence Magazine column that I wrote for four years where I gave love and relationship advice. But I didn't want to write a preachy you need to do this, you need to do that advice book. I wanted it to be fun and digestible. When people read it they don't even realize they're about to read a book about spirit and about relationships. But it's embedded in a fun you know kinda light story. And there are some really deep messages within the story embedded in it. What I love about the characters the most is that people can really read this book and even if you don't see yourself you know these people. I mean you know Krissy- you know that's your girl from around the way and she's smart as shit, you know what I mean. You know Vicky... you know these characters, and so yeah I wanted to write a relationship and spirit and advice book but not in the traditional sense.
R|A: You’ve conquered TV, film, and commercial. As far as producing are you working on any new media projects?
N|H|W: Yeah I have... (laughs) where do we begin? So I'm writing a movie with Jennifer Lewis called The Second Act I love her too, (she's everyone's aunt I exclaim) yes I met her on the set of Dirty Laundry now almost 10 years ago. And we just fell in love and connected ever since. We’re writing the movie together. She plays a character named Lydia Monroe. I have another short film that I am producing, directing, and writing called 90 days. We shoot in March and then I have a book coming out in February called The Girls Best Friend, which is a collection of my Essence Column with notes from my favorite women in the world- my mom, my aunt, and my best friends.
R|A: I remember seeing a reality show you starred in featured on Netflix: Boys Who Like Girls Who Like Boys. I was wondering if there are any more TV projects you will star in, or are you set on being behind the lens?
N|H|W: (Laughing) You know I forget that I do all this shit. Wow (as far as being behind the lens or in front of the camera?) I like both That was my second reality show. The first one was American Candidate and I was on with my then partner at the time Keith Boykin and that was a ball of fun because we were in a competition together. We won everything and my mom had knew we’d gotten kicked off the show- not kicked off but we lost we didn't win the whole thing because I called her when we didn't, and so she was watching because people would have parties to watch the show. “And she was like Nathan you lied to me, y'all won.” Because we literally won every challenge, every episode until we lost which was like the second to last episode. (What was the challenge??) We were in Philadelphia and we had to get people to sign up and do something or whatever and we lost by like two votes. Something stupid, but anyways- Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys was my second (reality) show Keith and I happen to be the first black gay couple on reality television. That was such a great experience but it was a competition it wasn't about our lives. Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys was a great experience too but it was not a great experience for my relationship with Crystal. It's why I tell people don't put a relationship on reality TV because one thing about reality television is it does not lie. It tells the truth, you know what I mean. The good thing about that show is that it was a positive show. And the take away for me, was aside from the personal side- I have people that still come up to me till this day saying "seeing you on television as a black gay man who is proud who defied stereotypes, who was successful, encouraged me- inspired me, saved my life." All of those different things. So it was worth it, there's nothing about it that I regret. It was who I am. That wasn't a fake reality it was a representation- I cried, now they got me crying on there like fifty million times and I'm not even a cryer, I have my moments but it was like damn he's crying every episode. My dad is such a sensitive subject for me and it was the first time that I was really outside of my family talking about that. So doing that show was great for me. It wasn't great for my relationship with Crystal who was my then business partner. But I wouldn't take any of it back because of the feedback I get from young people telling me that I inspired them.
R|A: What piece of advice do you wish someone would have given you starting out in the industry?
N|H|W: (Pause) I have a lot of advice, I have a lot of great advice. Um… Don't rush it. You know what I mean? Like don't be so anxious and don't think that it all has to happen at once. Because that's not how you really cultivate a longstanding career. I was really really hard on myself when I was younger because I wanted it all now… I wanted to be a billionaire tomorrow. You have to cultivate this art, you have to cultivate that. You have to be ready for the opportunities so that when they come you can maximize them. All the opportunities I got maximized them but I really wanted them all at once. So take your time, learn your craft, perfect it, hone it… you know.
R|A: When dealing with actors/performers what do you find to be the biggest challenge? (Please inform the actors so we know what we can do to be of better service.)
N|H|W: Actors & Performers (both laughing). Creative people are creative, we’re creative for a reason and we’re emotional, we are sometimes not practical in the way we think. I think one of the good things about me being an attorney and a creator is that I kinda have both sides of the brain I have a lot of balance, so I'm able to understand that someone is having a moment. So that would be my biggest stretch with actors and performers, they are highly emotional people and they need that emotion. They need to be able to tap into that emotion to call it the craft.
R|A: Have you met all of your career goals? I feel as though you have a million titles. How do you ignore the negativity of others.
N|H|W: Well I've simplified the commas to just saying I'm a storyteller, and I tell stories across various mediums so in terms of titles I'm probably not going to have anymore titles. Maybe talk show host… not maybe- talk show host definitely. In my brain I'm just getting started.
R|A: (I feel as though sometimes we get so caught up in chasing our dreams that we forget to enjoy the ride). When you’re not working what do you do to relax and let go?
N|H|W: Well I have a morning ritual. I start my day the same everyday. I say thank you God, and please use me in showing light, and using the power that you give me for good. Then I read a publication called The Daily Word and from The Daily Word I set my intentions, I have all of my affirmations for everyday of the year. Today my intention was “joy” and I was going to get joy from everything that I do. Then I read a publication called Our Daily Bread which is a little bit more scripture based. This year I just started doing the bible in a year thing. And I take time to set my intention for the day and remember that God has given me the power. To relax I watch TV. (What do you watch?) Oh my God, I watch scripted stuff, I watch trash TV. I've always loved TV as an art form. My joke is that I'm a couch potato without the couch potato body. TV for me is a release and an outlet. It's where I can escape and then I get ideas, I love the ballet, I love to go see dance, but that shits expensive so I don't get to go to that all of the time. But if I could I would go see someone dance every week. I spend a lot of time with my family and friends, I really love being around the people that I love. I'm a people person. I'm really actually shy you may not believe that. But around my family and my closest friends I get to be Nate. I don't have to be Nathan Hale Williams. We go out to eat, we drink, we laugh a lot. I like to laugh a lot. My editor says I have a nice snarky sense of humor. When you get to know me you realize there is no malice in it. I'm just talking shit because I come from a family where we just talk shit. But you do it from a place of love. When I go home for thanksgiving my Auntie Gale and I are Bid Wiz partners and no one plays with us now because we talk so much crap at the table. We slam the cards down “take that” and no one will play with us now because we are very sore winners.
R|A: Question for the mother: As a parent how do you parent an artist, how do you support an artistic child being that we are so all over the place, we can be a headache?
Mother N|H|W: He wasn't a headache with me because I know that God gives us a gift and he has a plan for each one of us and we have to follow it. As a parent I know that it is my job to guide the child through reaching the gift in a very positive way. And what Nathan said about his being shy and not accepting rejection well, when he was starting out as a youngster trying to act- I paid for acting/drama lessons, my father paid for modeling lessons. I took him to auditions, and I sat with him when he got the auditions but then he started to grow and he's larger than the other guys his age and he stopped getting the auditions based on that. Because he was so tall they thought he was an older kid. I told him I can't do this… I can't watch your heart break because then my heart breaks and he was upset with me. But I was not a stage mother and I wasn't going to drive him crazy, and I pretty much told him if this is God's plan for you it'll happen, but it's not going to happen right now. I want you to grow up and have a good childhood, and if it happens at the right time you'll have my 100% support and I think that that's what's happened because I was getting ready to retire when I got a call and he said “I'm going to quit practicing law, and I'm going into entertainment.” I was like okay, and he'll tell you that I've been very supportive with that. (Nathan- my grandfather was like “you gone quit that good job, how much money do you make again?”- he had me laughing with the voice impression he did) So it just depends on whether or not you feel your child is yours to make them do what you want them to do, or you realize that they are a gift to you from God which is what Nathan's name mean. It means “A Gift From God.” So I knew he was mine, but he was my gift to kind of guide but not to keep. And so my job was to help him fulfill God's dream for him. Not my dreams.
(Really made me emotional, to have the love and support from family, especially your parents because it's difficult for young artist. So readers hopefully you can get your parents to remember you are a gift and in order to share your gift the people surrounding you should also see you as such.)