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Exclusive: Omari Hardwick Raw (Career Evolution, Transition, Testimony Of Faith In Hollywood, 'Kick-Ass 2,' More)

by Masha Dowell
August 27, 2012 11:18 AM
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I really doubt that an introduction to the intelligent, spiritual, smoking hot Omari Hardwick is necessary for S&A readers; so I'll skip the formalities and, instead, let the man speak for himself.

And speak, he most certainly did when we caught up with him recently, as he spoke to S&A about the evolution of his career since he first entered the business, his southern upbringing, his faith as he navigates Hollywood, projects he's involved in, being snubbed from the sequel to Kick Ass 2, and much, much more.

It's a lengthy read, but very worthwhile. And we thank Omari very much for his time, and especially his honesty.


Shadow and Act: Did you need a college education to make it in Hollywood?

Omari Hardwick: When I hear that question, I think of actors like Leo DiCaprio. For years, I asked myself that question. I had this acting coach tell me that my college years are part of MY story. I remember she asked me what I would do without my years playing football. She was like football is part of my story. To answer your question, yes, I needed a college degree to be successful in Hollywood.

Shadow and Act:  How would you describe yourself?

OH: I’ve been described as a smart actor because I’ve attended college. Or I’ve been called an artsy jock. And I am thinking, so are actors supposed to be dumb? I read the comments online too. I played sports, and I am an actor. I am a poet. Actors are intelligent. Yet, many of them do not communicate well. That’s what makes it so hard to have a relationship with one.

Shadow and Act: Actors tends to get really emotional in love. They really act out their feelings.

OH: Exactly, but what happens when you need other communication? What about beyond the emotions? [Taps his head]

Shadow and Act:  In Tyler Perry’s “For Colored Girls,” you played Carl. He was the closeted husband to Janet Jackson’s character. How did you develop that role?

OH: Well, I can’t relate to being gay. It was a challenging role.

Shadow and Act: How was it a challenge?

OH: It was a challenging role for me because I am a black guy. And white guys like Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal can play those types of roles and their audiences will say that the roles are artistic.  

Shadow and Act: So you feel that the role was challenging because the black community does not support roles like Carl?

OH: The black culture perceives roles like that one in a negative light.

Shadow and Act: How did you prepare for that role?

OH: I focused on being a deviant person. I focused on doing something wrong. I was lying to my wife. I was lying to these men. I prepared for the role by closing my eyes and thinking of times when I had lied.

Shadow and Act:  You did not focus on the sexual orientation of Carl to get into character?

OH: No, because it’s like how could I do that really well? I focused on being deviant.

Shadow and Act:  Did you tap into your own sexuality to build the role?

OH: You want me to explain how I used my heterosexuality to build this role?

Shadow and Act: Yes, I do.

OH: Okay, let me know if this is what you mean. There was this one time while we were filming in New York, where I was testing myself. l challenged myself to run through Central Park and behave like Carl. I wanted to see how I would run and live differently as my character.

Shadow and Act: And what did you find out about your character during this run?

OH: I did not get through the run without checking out women. It’s a natural instinct. So, that’s why I solely focused on being deviant. But you know what? Some of the greatest actors have played gay men. Anthony has played a gay man. Jeffrey has played gay. When it’s all said and done, I am secure enough with my manhood to say to the world, “I am a male actor, and its okay for me to play a gay man.”

Shadow & Act: Paint a picture of your childhood upbringing for us.

OH: I grew up in Decatur, Georgia. We had three boys in the household; actually it felt like four of us. My Pops sort of raised my uncle too. So, it was four boys, and later a younger sister. I grew up in a two parent household. We all played sports, all sports, which cost a lot of money. My Pops was an attorney; he went to College of the Holy Cross with Clarence Thomas. My mom worked a bit, then gradually came home and took care of us full time. My parents grew up streets a part in Savannah, GA. I considered our household to be lower middle class, or middle class. All of my grandparents are alive. Both patriarchs were college graduates. I am the middle boy. I still feel like a middle boy. One brother is out here in LA with me, and one is in ATL.

Shadow & Act: When I hear about your childhood, I can’t help but think of my own childhood partially growing up in Georgia. I attended a year at McNair middle, and Tri-Cities for a year.

OH: I think Andre Benjamin went to Tri-Cities.

Shadow and Act: No, he went to Banneker High School. Antwan Patton, Kandi Burrus, and Sahr Ngaujah attended Tri-Cities. Kandi and Sahr were actually in my drama classes.

OH: Sahr Najajah, you talking about the brother from Fela?

Shadow and Act: Yes, that’s the guy.

OH: That brother can really act. He’s a phenomenal actor. I went to see Fela like four times, met with him and everything. He never mentioned that he was from home.

Shadow & Act: When did you start to write poetry?

OH: As a teenager.

Shadow and Act: You played football for the University of Georgia. What I found so odd is that in most of your interviews that I’ve read, the journalists did not understand how big of deal the school is in Georgia. Can you tell us about playing football at UGA?

OH: I don’t make a big deal out of playing football at UGA to people who have interviewed me. But you know what, let me take a step back in this interview and reflect on where we are at this moment. Understanding that you and I both know how huge UGA is and we are in LA now.  Its two different worlds, you’d have to have lived in GA to understand. Even USC or UCLA does not even have the same affect on its residents like southern football. I love the fact that I can appreciate where I come from, and know that world actually exists. Unlike many Californians or New Yorkers, college football is a religion down south. I played defensive back at UGA. I started out at Furman University in South Carolina. I went there for a year, and then I transferred to UGA.

Shadow and Act: Why did you transfer?

OH: When I got to Furman, it was just too small. I wanted a larger school, with a vast environment like UGA. But my dream school was the University of Michigan. Ever since I was a boy, I wanted to go there. But I couldn’t see having my parents come all that way to support me in Michigan. I wanted to be around bigger football. My senior year in high school, I had offers at Ole Miss, University of Wisconsin, Duke University, Furman, and University of Georgia. While in college I minored in theater.

Shadow and Act: While at UGA you joined Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity. And through my research, I found out that we actually have a friend in common, Rasheed Cromwell, Owner or the Harbor Institute.  

OH: So, you went to North Carolina A&T? That’s cool.  I met Rasheed in my boy Cory’s wedding. Cory is an Alpha from A&T.

Shadow and Act: Yes, I went to North Carolina A&T. Through that organization you do workshops for young black Greeks entitled, “Brotherhood to Hollywood.”  Tell us how this all came about.  

OH: Well, Cory, Chuck Deezy (from How High), and I are all Alpha’s. We came together and created this program for college students as a how to workshop on transitioning from college to Hollywood. The workshops are split up into three parts: I cover the craft needed to make it in Hollywood. Chuck covers the perseverance needed, and Cory covers networking.

Shadow and Act: So, how many schools have you toured?

OH: We have toured five schools, and most recently, they did their first one without me. We started the workshops when I was having a dry acting season, and then when things took off recently, they kind of went ahead without me.

Shadow and Act: So you no longer do the workshops?

OH: I did not do the most recent workshop. We actually had a kind of disagreement about the matter. I had a talk with Corey about it, and I had to check Rasheed about it a couple of times. I have not spoken to Rasheed since the incident. But I talk to Corey all the time. I am like Godfather to his son.  

Shadow and Act: Can you let our readers know where they can find out about the workshop?

OH: The workshop is called “ Brotherhood to Hollywood.” People can find out more by going to or 

Shadow and Act: Can you tell us about the events that led you from UGA to the San Diego Chargers?

OH: I tore my knee my senior year in college. My speed went down a little bit. However, despite all of this, I worked out with the juniors and seniors at UGA to get into the league. I also worked out with Furman as well. So, my options were pretty much the Falcons, Pittsburgh, they tend to take Georgia players, and San Diego. I ended up at San Diego on their developmental squad. The developmental squad was their non travel squad. My coach in San Diego was Bobby Ross. Who used to coach at Georgia Tech. In high school, I was also recruited by Bobby Ross. Pretty much, although I had slow speed, and an injury, I was given a shot at San Diego, because of my relationship with Bobby Ross. I had known him since I was 15 years old.

Shadow and Act: So, you were on the teams’ developmental squad. What was the outcome of that?

OH: I was cut from the Chargers.

Shadow and Act:  Did getting cut from the team make you move forward with acting on a professional level?

OH: I began to ask myself the question, “What does God want me to do with my life?” And you know what Masha? I kept on hearing the voice of God saying if you are going to be the minister that your mom mentioned… then you have to act. My pulpit is acting.

Shadow and Act: Your mother thought that you’d be a minister?

OH: Yes, she did.

Shadow and Act: At this point in your life, you find yourself in San Diego, but not playing professional football. Why didn’t you move to LA and begin your career?

OH: I moved back home to Atlanta. I did travel back and forth to LA a bit with my college girlfriend at the time. But from Atlanta, I made the move to New York. I’m all about not cutting corners. I come from stage; my experience had been on stage. So, thus, I went to New York. Once there, I studied at the Beacon Theater during the day and performed during the night at various hole in the wall theaters. I struggled so much.

Shadow & Act: I know that you mentioned that you’ve always written poetry, but during this time in your life --- did your writing increase tremendously?

OH: My poetry got so heavy during that time. I was always writing stories.

Shadow and Act: Did your poetry lead you to acting?

OH: Poetry has in a way been my bridge to my acting career. I had so many questions about my life, so I took to poetry to express my questions. I had questions about politics, family relationships, and more. There was this time, after I had left New York, and had come to LA, when I rode my motorcycle near CBS studios. There was this spot where homeless women would sleep, and I stopped my bike in front of the area, and I just wondered. I remember there being this huge Oscar De la Hoya billboard above these women, and at the time he was the champ, a hero. Then I looked at this one woman sleeping, and wondered what kind of hero was she? She had to of once been a hero at something. That day, I wrote my poem directly to this woman. She was sleeping underneath the billboard.

Shadow and Act: Did times like that make you the grounded?

OH: Yes, it did.

Shadow and Act: How are you managing your family and your Hollywood career?

OH: It’s difficult. I just came back from Georgia, doing the Peachtree Village International Film festival as their ambassador, and my Moms and Pops were there with me.  I asked them to walk the red carpet with me, and initially my Pops said no. But, it’s a weird thing, because I invite them into my life, and then I am quick to be told that I have changed. It’s a balancing act, especially with my mother. I have a hard time communicating to her that I am learning how to manage this celebrity thing. I mean I use my acting to put food on the table. Many nights though, to clear my head about everything, I get on my bike, and ride around California.

Shadow and Act: You ride to clear your head and to think about life?

OH: To think, and sometimes I don’t want to think. I love the peace that I get from riding. It allows me to get my life together in my head, and it allows me to digest before I have those talks with my family. I don’t want to force my lifestyle down their throats. I cannot juggle this lifestyle alone. My mother said that they need to have a course entitled Hollywood mothers 101. I told her though, before you even get to a course like that, you need to make a choice to fully support your child. I actually need help from my family.

Shadow and Act: In New York, who were your acting teachers?

OH:  Kenny Leon from the Alliance Theater referred me to a teacher at the Beacon Theater. I forget the teachers’ name. I met Kenny when he came to speak at UGA.

When I moved to LA, I started at the Playhouse West. I took classes with Jeff Goldbloom. I remember James Franco was around during that time. Scott Caan, James Caan’s son attended classes at Playhouse West too. So, from Playhouse West, where I studied the Meisner technique, I then went to Gloria Gifford for training at the Beverly Hills playhouse. I ended my ongoing training with Ben Guillory. He played Grady in The Color Purple.

Shadow and Act: That name sounds familiar.

OH: He was the dude that Shug Avery married. Remember her saying some stuff like, “ I’s married now.” Remember that? [Laughter]

Shadow and Act: Yes, I remember! Did you train with anyone in New York that you have co starred with on a project?

OH: No not really. I mean, Anthony Mackie was living in New York at the time. And we both starred in my first major project, “Sucka Free City.” But, mostly, the actors I met on my way into the industry have been out here in LA. I knew Jeffrey Wright was in New York, and I later worked with Carmen Ejogo on Sparkle.  But I did not start my career with them. I remember meeting Jeffrey at this event in DC honoring Cicely Tyson.

Shadow and Act: Let’s talk more about Sucka Free City. Spike Lee directed that project right?  

OH: Yes, Spike directed it. It was a project shot for Showtime. The project ended up being screened as a TV movie on Showtime. It was supposed to be a television series. I felt like it was basically a project that was Showtime’s answer to HBO’s The Wire. But it went beyond specific races. In this project you had all different types of racial gangs in San Francisco. It was about gang life. You had the Asian gang, the black gang, and then this white kid, played by Ben Crowley who moves into to all of that and navigates the gang life. I played Dante.

Shadow and Act: You have a career gap between the years of 2003 and 2006. What were you doing in those years?

OH: I was acting. I took to writing as my medicine to help me stay afloat in this career journey. I wrote about me breaking hearts, and my heart being broken. I wrote about my views whether they were liberal or conservative. I wrote about everything. I wrote about my life. When I did not have paper coming in as green backs, I’d use random pieces of paper for stories. It was like, I got no money, but I have paper to write. So I wrote. My writing was therapy during that time.

Shadow and Act: How did you get back on track with your career after that drought?

OH:  I did not have an agent or a manager from like 2004 to 2006. I was getting advice from Denzel and Pauletta during that time in my career. They are like my uncle and aunt. They were helping me on what I should do, and not do, and things like that. I then got with Michael Green my very first real LA agent, and from that moment I got a lot of jobs back to back. I was able to book like three jobs within a few weeks of having him as my agent. With that one agent, I went all the way to the film Kick Ass. I spent like five or six years with them.

Shadow and Act: How did you meet the director of Sparkle, Salim Akil?

OH: I first met him when I was playing this role of a special needs kid at Stella Adler off of Sunset. Robi Reed was at that play. I met him through his sister in law that was at the same theater company. Salim and I have known each other for eleven years.

Shadow and Act: Why has it taken you so long to work with Salim?

OH: Salim actually brought me into an audition for Showtime’s Soul food. But as life would have it, I came to that audition late. I was very late because I was going through a very serious break up and what not. And I remember him telling me that I made Terrance Howard look like a new actor in that audition. He said that I was good, but I’ll always be a character actor and not a leading man if I could not get out of my own way. Instead of backing away from someone that gave constructive criticism like that, I gravitated to him. Since then, Salim and I have been very good friends. When he was scouting locations for Sparkle, in Detroit, he called me up and asked me to audition for either the roles of Stix or Levi.

Shadow and Act: During the Sparkle roundtable that I did with Salim, he mentioned that Mike Epps was his first talent hire. Where were you in that hiring mix?

OH: If Mike was first, I was probably last. I mean we are so close, so in his mind I was probably first. But studios go through various processes in bringing on talent. They care less about talent, and more about bankability. So, with me, they had to work through all of that. I believe that Carmen was brought in right before me. She had submitted a taped audition, and won out of hundreds of submissions.

Shadow & Act: You’ve weaved a career well between independent films and studio films. Is that part of your career strategy?

OH: I love doing both. What was interesting about Sparkle is that Mara wrote it perfectly. She wrote it like an indie film. And it looked like an independent film; it had great grit to it. But it was a studio film. And I believe that one of the platforms is that what you get from working on studio films, and not always what you get from working on independent films.

Shadow & Act: I first saw you in Ava Duvernay’s independent film I Will Follow in Atlanta. Then I saw Middle of Nowhere at Sundance. Your performance literally jumped off screen! You’re a great actor.

OH: Thank you. Middle of Nowhere comes out in theaters on October 17th.  

Shadow and Act: Your career also benefited greatly from For Colored Girls. Tyler Perry has a really loyal base of supporters.

OH: I did not necessarily have an interest in working on any of his projects, but it was that film, that role, that I wanted.

Shadow and Act: Have you encountered any major career disappointments recently?

OH: Well, I can tell you that I just found out that I will not be brought back on for Kick Ass 2. I am really disappointed with this news. I have zero explanation as to why I was not brought back for the sequel. I don’t do drugs and I am a nice person. They gave me no explanation as to why I did not get the role. The reason why people don’t get called back to sequels is because they did badly in the original. But with this project, I had good feedback, people liked the role. Donald Faison is in the sequel, and he thought I was on board. I gave four years of my life traveling back and forth from London for that role. And at the time of its filming, I had a son that was passing away. I’d go to London and not stay overnight, and fly nine hours to LA to handle that commitment. I have sung the films praises in interviews without confirming if I was in it or not. I was also filming Dark Blue at the time. Both were unaware that I was doing both projects at the same time. It’s impossible for me not to be upset about not being cast in that project.

Shadow and Act: Well, if you look at great careers, the so called setbacks are actually set ups. What projects do you have coming up?

OH: Thank you Masha. I have the BET original scripted show Being Mary Jane with Gabrielle Union. I’m not on the show the whole season though. Then I have A Pure Life, with Vera Famiga and Elle Fanning. 

Shadow and Act: In closing this interview, how do you feel that your southern upbringing has helped you navigate through Hollywood?

OH: Now that I am approaching a career, were I am fully in the Hollywood world. I sing the praises of Georgia more than ever. The new Atlanta is more like Hollywood, and when we were in Atlanta as kids, I was blessed to see blacks with an identity outside of Hollywood. So in a sense, my upbringing has allowed me to create a life where now that I live in Hollywood, I know that another world exists outside of where I now exist.

My priorities are leaning more towards family, and I credit my southern upbringing to that. I was raised in the church as well, and God plays a big role in my upbringing and my life. I remember as a boy, seeing men open doors for women and I just always remember all the memories. I spent many summers in New York as well, but it’s Georgia that I remember all too well.

Once again, we thank Omari for his time and forthrightness. It was greatly appreciated. 

You can see him in Sparkle, which is currently in theaters; up next, catch him in Ava DuVernay's lauded sophomore feature, Middle Of Nowhere, in October.

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  • Cakes | September 5, 2012 1:29 PMReply

    Wait...that whole article and everyone is stuck on his comments about homosexuality? Let's stop acting like the black race overall does not give off the impression that we believe homosexuality is wrong/deviant.

  • Katie | September 10, 2012 4:43 PM

    Let's stop acting like the black race overall does not give off the impression that every one has the same monolithic beliefs on homosexuality.

  • Greg | August 31, 2012 8:10 PMReply

    I came to this interview by way of a tweet...saying this actor was a homophobe. So not true... I understand his words to literally mean the same as the following quote by Meryl Streep:

    Acting is not about being someone different. It's finding the similarity in what is apparently different, then finding myself there.

    I kind of feel like the interviewer pulled this out of him... If I'm right, it's good to know actors like this exist. Good interview...not sure how it became a big deal. I've never seen any of his films. Im Not sure if I will, but glad I found this site. Good film stuff...


  • CareyCarey | August 31, 2012 5:52 PMReply

    "Anon" (yeah, an anonymous fool who's afraid to show their face) said: " I may be on my own here as I probably am about the whole debacle". YES! That's the most poignant point about your whole comment, because you've shown signs of riding the little yellow bus. Seriously, all of your "opinions" spoke to someone who's very young, uniformed and a slow thinker. Listen, if someone confesses that they are a christian or "spiritual", that DOES NOT mean they have not made mistakes, nor does it mean they will not make mistakes in the future. Yes, "Christianity" is serious to many, so you should talk about something you know... and practice what YOU preach. RE: "interview" more like a conversation... And, SO WHAT?! Yeah, again you've reserved your seat on the special kids bus. Seriously, out of this whole interview ( The Kick-ass issue being but a small part ) you discerned that Omari has a chip on his shoulder??? REALLY?? SERIOUSLY??!! No, truth is, YOU have issues that you need to get off your chest (That's probably why you're here making these unfounded accusations) so I understand . Look, I knew I was reading a foolish individual when you gave your ridiculous... totally absurd assessments of what "whites" and white Europeans do differently than blacks. "They" have different communication "skills"...? "they" see things as poor and harsh etiquette...? OH REALLY!!?? Could you please give something (a shred of proof) to support your ridiculous and woefully ambiguous claim? Lastly, your predisposition and lack of understanding could not have been more evident than your response to "deviant" and "throwing under the bus". Listen, pay close attention... Omari DID NOT call gays deviants. Okay, ONE MORE TIME... the actions of the character "Carl" (lying, cheating, being deceptive, deceitful and dishonest) are not actions or behaviors that one would champion nor consider socially acceptable norms, thus... Carl's actions spoke to DEVIANCE! NOT his sexual orientation. Here's another way to look at this issue --> "you would think some of the people on here who are being overly defensive about playing a gay character would applaud him (Omari) for approaching the role like that as opposed to him saying that he tried to act/play gay because they'd be the same people saying " how in the hell does a gay person act?!?" ~ by Mantan. So Ms Anonymous, in short, miss us with your prejudice and don't stray too far away from that little yellow bus. You might get hauled in for being white and stupid.

  • Taz | September 2, 2012 4:42 PM

    @Nadine. I got a little peeved because I work with many who misinterpret and assume. Reading these comments had my neck all twisted and it mainly comes from those whom I believe are in their 20's. Normally, my response is always look it up yourself - make sure you search for a primary source. but dang! The primary source is the interview printed right above! And they still got it twisted! Ugh. "I paused at his use of "deviant", but I thought he meant it of the behavior of the husband, not his sexuality," You were right, he did mean it that way. Masha's 7th question specifically asked if Omari focused on Carl's sexual orientation and he specifically said no. He focused on the character's deviant behavior. That is the problem I have with Boomslang and others. I don't think they truly know the definition of deviant and Boomslang's deliberate attempt to redefine the word saying it almost exclusively refers to gays was plain mean and evil to me. Truly - a google search on the phrase "definition of deviant" says that it is abnormal social or sexual behavior. Now if Omari said he did not focus on the sexual orientation of the character, but the deviant side and proceeded to say his lying to his wife, his lovers, etc. is what he knew he could relate to - then the only thing he focused on was the social aspect. And if I understand Boom's comment, he didn't even see the dang movie so he is comments in the blind. I don't even want to tell folks to look up the definition of homophobia in order to understand why a homophobe wouldn't have take the role yet they so carelessly label people. That is why Black Hollywood over the age of 32 or so has that concern. It is that lack of work, that lack of knowledge and lack of understanding and labeling folks willy nilly that has us where we are today. Which goes to.....your comment - "We used to have our own sh!t... our own style of dress, our own music, our own uplifting literature... as late as the mid 90s, we didn't care what they were doing, we were thriving." (Taz is jamming to Eric B and Rakim, "Follow the Leader") Yes, yes! Every 10 or so years, the next new set of 20+ African Americans took it to another level, plane or planet! And because it was so fresh, it was enjoyed by several generations and still enjoyed today as we without artistic genius awaits the next thing. What is still being enjoyed that we created, some reading this comment may ask? Jazz, Swing, Blues, Gospel, Rock n' roll, R&B ....we even had a big influence on techno and country music....Rap and Hip-Hop....Can you say almost every major CATEGORY at the GRAMMY'S? ..........and nothing since then. This is just a tenth of our history and legacy and all we see now is laziness. We are now following and instead CREAM is leading.

  • bondgirl | September 2, 2012 3:22 PM

    @Boomslang: Homosexuals are not a race, therefore people can be homophobic against gays, but racist? Not quite. Prejudiced? Yes. As for the "deviant" term, I suppose O could've used a less inflammatory word. "Deviant" was always a term in human sexuality to define sex outside of Puritanical constraints. In early definitions, it referred to almost any sex aside from missionary position. So I agree with you on the intent with which it is being used for a gay man. Being a Christian, with a mother who thought he'd be a minister, indicates someone struggling with being a religious actor. Hindsight being 50/50, passing on the role would've been better, because he may be concerned with what his parents and church think. @Nadine: Don't you think there is an inter-connectiveness with blacks and whites in America? Maybe you can give examples of how we copy and they laugh, bc I don't see it. If anything whites, particulary studio execs, feel blacks don't assimilate enough with them the way Hispanics do. 90's style was the least inventive of any decade for blacks and whites. 70's & 80's was a better reflection of self-improvements in the community. The insistence by leaders to "love yourself" brought music like George Benson's "Greatest Love of All", Marvin Gaye's "Wake up All the Children", and Bob Marley's "Babylon System". The 90's brought in a self-serving mentality (encouraged by corporations buying into our culture-don't forget our leaders sold us down the river) that has carried today.

  • Boomslang | September 2, 2012 11:07 AM

    @ K

    I get your point but the multi layered nature of racism means , if you mess with a gay white person , you know they are aware like the rest of caucasians of the power of white privilege.They will shut you down. What is Isaiah up to these days ?

    The mainstream demands black people be "saints" .

    And when Tracy tried to mess with gay people. He had to apologize to the white ones lol! See what's going on ?

    black people do not have to accept homosexuality, they just don't have to make life difficult for homo people. Just let them be.

  • K | September 1, 2012 2:36 PM

    @Boomslang: If there are black people that don't accept homosexuality as a collective lifestyle, are they wrong? Why do we as a collective have to be the most accepting of homosexuality? What about white people that don't support homosexuality? "This is racism". What??? What about the white gays that say that black people in not only America but also Africa are the most homophobic of all? That's a form of racism, right?

  • Boomslang | September 1, 2012 10:36 AM

    @Taz, sorry naw! mate.
    I did NOT redefine the word. The online dictionary is available for everyone to use.Plus a definition of a word is never complete without its homonyms and associated words.For those of you who feel we are just banging on about the use of a simple "word". The meaning of deviant starts with treachery and follows with a very specific aspect of sexuality that is attributed to homosexuality.

    Also Hardwich has talked about a character with duplicitous attributes before; and in great details too. That was the character he played on that TNT cop show Dark blue ( BTW , great show ). A caucasian female writer interviewed him , y'all can lift that that interview online and compared it with this one.

    His "Carl" character is supposed to be a cheat, a liar and unfaithful , and the central characteristic featured is the fact that he is gay and I suppose the wifey doesn't know about it . Tyler's work aren't my forte , and I admit I do not favour chick movies; I'd wanna know if the Carl character was actually messing with some cliché gay dude on the side or the work was the usual boring trope " denial and thuggish masculinity" .

    Also he's shared that information about his deceased child a couple of years ago.I assume it is now a part of sequential time line , which is the reason this is being mentionned again. I can't quite see how this would be relevant.A death is already tragic enough.

    Yes I do know that quite a number black people are visceral homophobes of the same caliber as the KKK ;but the truth is most of the world is homophobic. I agree however that this special brand of black homophobia is being fed to the media because of this idea that "we should know better" . It follows us in our private lives too. This is racism.

  • Nadine | September 1, 2012 8:19 AM

    LAWDY - Yes, @Trix, yes... a little harsh at times, but yes.... ALL THAT... "Hence the remakes in movies, music, clothing....the focus on cars, money and reality tv. Lack of inventions, etc. And we can see the damage wide as an eagles' wingspan as our natural ability to be creative is dying with the elders. For the first time in 20 years, WE don't have anything for others to copycat and steal......" - Trix.... THANK YOU... We used to have our own sh!t... our own style of dress, our own music, our own uplifting literature... as late as the mid 90s, we didn't care what they were doing, we were thriving. Now WE copy and they laugh while they continue to make money off of our co-opted culture. Yes, Taz... yes... as for Black acceptance of homosexuality, per usual, Black are frontloaded with all of the stigmas and scolding. Please ask White evangelicals what they think of homosexuality. White evangelicals (18%) who outnumber the total Black population (13.1%) in this country. Why no stigma for the evangelicals... I paused at his use of "deviant", but I thought he meant it of the behavior of the husband, not his sexuality, but the duplicitous qualities of the cheating husband (whether he cheated with a man or woman), but I understand the sensitivity to the word. Thug, used more with Black males and Ghetto with Black females... linked in this society. I am not familiar with "deviant" being linked with homosexuality in the younger generations, but if so, I understand that sensitivity.

  • Taz | September 1, 2012 7:55 AM

    Boomslang (and the rest of you young ostriches whose head is under the sand or in the clouds) - Nobody threw Black folk under the bus. Many of US hid under the bus and refuse to move. Some of US dart out from under, stir up trouble and come back and hide. A few of US came from under the bus, ran to another vehicle and now refuse to recognize the bus or the people left underneath. WE won't allow ourselves or others to be who we/they are. WE don't accept them or US as is. WE spend so most of our time judging others so that we don't have to look at ourselves and put in the work. WE speak without thinking. WE don't do research. WE don't try to learn more about other perspectives. And lastly, WE are too freaking reactive vs proactive. Now - Please note the CAPS on US and WE means collective, not singular. WE - As a people. As a Race. As a culture. And despite the dogged attempts to rewrite history, only speak YOUR truth and not acknowledge others, the collective truth is that Black folk has always had an issue with homosexuality. I do not care if it is right, wrong or indifferent - the fact is Black culture as of today, inclusive of ages newborn to 120, collectively has more members who has a problem with it. Ergo - therefore - as a black man who is not gay, Omari did not throw "us black people under the bus" and tag us as homophobes. COLLECTIVELY, as a people, we have always been there because WE CARE TOO MUCH ABOUT WHAT OTHERS THINK. WE have not fully embraced our sense of culture, our sense of accomplishment, our sense of esteem and our sense of identity. Hence the remakes in movies, music, clothing....the focus on cars, money and reality tv. Lack of inventions, etc. And we can see the damage wide as an eagles' wingspan as our natural ability to be creative is dying with the elders. For the first time in 20 years, WE don't have anything for others to copycat and steal.......But I digress.

    Lastly, Boomslang's definition of deviant is self serving and his/hers alone. To all who don't know the definition and really would like to know the definition, just google it and see for yourself. My rant is over. Trix is for kids.

  • boomslang | September 1, 2012 5:33 AM

    Um.. yes Omari threw all of us black people under the bus and had us tagged as homophobes .
    The mainstream acknowledges very few black voices ; and because the picking's small ,elocution , articulation and knowledge of the subject at hand are absolutely paramount.Its not our fault things are set up the way that they are. There is too much at stake here. Both the interviewer and the interviewee have to have an etiquette. As far as I am concerned it is Zero on both sides.

    If the interviewer was caucasian. He'd probably be here tryna say " Let me clarify.. I didn't mean to.. aehm" but as black people we are not even allowed this basic courtesy.

    I am tired of hearing actors say how "difficult" it was to play a gay person. But they gladly take the role , because there is money and the role's meaty too. Do they think an actual gay person should get the role ? phuck NO. Is it difficult to play a liar ? I suppose lol!

    There is a reason why this job's called acting.That's because you inhabit a character you know nothing of. That specific role was no Oscar bait anyway , it was a subplot , just that.

    The word deviant is almost exclusively applied to gay people. Just like N.igger is to black people. Plus enough black people who are being called both a N.igger and a deviant at the same time.A quick look at the words associated with deviant in the dictionary reveals that deviants are mostly " Sadomasochiest , degenerate, pderast etc.." , and because the subject he's analyzing is GAY . Then why do you not want people to get up in arms ?

    Lastly , some of us have a gay relative. Those of you who claim there is some sort of "gay agenda" , the existence of shadowandact alone , means this part of the web site is a "black agenda" ; this is blackvoices on a film strip.

  • Shannon | August 30, 2012 4:50 PMReply

    I thought his last film was For Colored Girls... sorry I did! He was opposite Janet Jackson how could I miss that role! I have not seen any of his other films but Kickass. I liked Kickass, but he was a supporting character. I'm not sure why he made a big deal out of not getting that role --- so dramatic. He should focus on films where he is a lead. I need to find something else w/ him in it. He's interesting. He seems very conservative, in a liberal industry. I like how S&A took the time to interview him b/c most black actors put in a lot of time w/ their careers, but never end up featured in mainstream publications. This is a good interview. I felt like I was reading a Vanity Fair interview - High and low points.

  • Helluva | September 1, 2012 10:54 AM

    Supporting character or not that "Kickass" paycheck probably was a huge one compared to the indie films where he's a "lead."

  • Carey | August 30, 2012 5:16 PM

    Linewatch with Cuba Gooding Jr., and Evan Ross. (On screen most of the movie, cold, hard, killing drug smuggler. Decent acting all around). I Will Follow with Salli Richardson-Whitfield. ( Soft side, understanding lover, underutilized role, on screen but a moment, they used his name but not his talent - that much. But when he was on screen he very very good . The movie gets a C+ from me). Sucker Free City with Anthony Mackie. (nothing compelling about this Spike Lee directed "street creed" flick.)

  • mantan | August 29, 2012 8:38 PMReply

    i get what he was trying to say by saying there's no way to play a gay man and so he went about trying to portray the character in other ways such as him being deviant in lying/being deceitful to people. you would think some of the people on here trying to call him homophobic or trying to be overly defensive about playing gay character would applaud him for approaching the role like that as opposed to him saying that he tried to act/play gay because they'd be the same people say"well how does a gay person act?!?!!?", lol. anyway, i like the interview save for a couple of the questions that i didn't find too relevant but at same time there are some people who are asking for more information regarding those segments of the interview, so even though they meant nothing to me they were relevant to someone.

    he seemed to have taken it pretty hard that he didn't get the part in kick ass 2, i watched the first one and i didn't think it was all that great, so i think he'll be alright. i think he's shown more range/talent in some of his other lessor known movies anyway but i understand the need the be in big marque movies. he seems like a cool, intelligent thoughtful bro. and so i'll keep supporting him and his projects and wish him the best.

  • LIL NUT | August 29, 2012 6:34 PMReply

    omari's a good brother, working hard and faithfully pining to figure out the madness that is this industry. i wonder how better off we'd all be if even half you naysaying muthafuckas would comment as much on the the very worthwhile posts on haile gerima or pearl cleage? yall crabs in the barrel stop talking that shit and applaud the efforts of this man! masha too! keep banging, baby.

  • LeonRaymond | August 29, 2012 5:12 PMReply

    @POE,ANTON,BOOMSLANG -What it is, is that he's having a problem projecting to an audience that he has not yet fully engaged yet, why say what he said unless and I could be wrong, out of fear he will loose his Home Boy, Ride or Die types, he was vastly uncomfortable doing that role, well he better, get used to the doing one dimensional roles that don't ask him to tap into any sides beyond what he's comfortable with. I know he wants to transcend into the realm of real strong actor. What is he really saying?

  • Starry118 | September 5, 2012 3:10 PM

    @Wow: Thank you, that is the truth.

  • WOW | August 29, 2012 5:43 PM

    Wait LeonRaymond, you've unconsciously uncovered a problem that's playing right into the hands of Poe and the boys. Omari DID NOT say he was "vastly uncomfortable" doing the role. If you read the interview, Masha keep digging around for an answer to SOMETHING? that she had a hard time of defining. Omari simply said there's no way to play "gay", so he had to find other aspects of Carl's life (other than his gay orientation) that he could embody. This IS NOT a gay issue, even if some folks are trying to make it so. Besides, in the end he did took the part. Now, how did he do? Did he do "Carl" justice? Was he true to a gay man on the down low? The answers are YES and HELL YES. He played the part of a man on the DOWN LOW. So basically all this yick-yack is nothing more than an platform for gay folks to preach an agenda that's self-serving. In short, all the kneejerks, sh*t starters and uniformed bellyaching kids can take that drama someplace else. Omari did his job ( and did it well) so what are try really crying about?

  • Poe | August 28, 2012 4:46 PMReply

    If he wants to blame his own internalized homophobia for the discomfort he had playing a gay character, he should have done it. Stop casting a huge net to blame the entire black community as homophobic. While there are bad seeds among us, NOT ALL OF US are hateful bigots when it comes to gays, especially our own sons, daughters, uncles, aunts, moms, and dads. Fed up with this blanket homophobic tag. Moreover, it is call "acting" for a reason. If an actor cannot commit himself or herself to playing "any" type of character, they why are they in the business to begin with. There are pleny of black actors who happen to be straight and will play gay without being disparaging to their "gay" brothers and sisters and that larger part of the black community who isn't homophobic!

  • WOW | August 29, 2012 4:10 PM

    I see the gay gangsters are in the house. Did you guys read the whole interview? I'm just wondering becuase poor Poe and the boys are stuck on this gay issue which is not even an issue. And see, you guys will be the first to scream bloody murder if your actions provoke someone into calling you guys a bunch of drama queens. I mean, I should say I'm sorry for saying that, but you guys are giving me an image of In Living Color's "Men on Film" starring dragged out Damon Wayans and sissy-fied David Alan Grier). So STOP IT, YOU'RE MAKING ME SICK! Please, try to find a different topic of the interview besides "homophobia" and gay life.

  • Anton | August 29, 2012 3:28 PM

    Glad I wasn't the only one who was offended when he said that. Like another poster said, he needs to get over himself.

  • boomslang | August 29, 2012 3:07 PM


    He basically threw all black people under the bus. Like another poster said Why playing a coon, a gangsta or a dope dealer is never problem though ? he's played the hardcore gangsta 3 times already .

  • mlm | August 29, 2012 9:08 AM

    I remember an associate was telling me that people think her son is gay and she said she'd rather him be gay than a gangster. It felt like the interviewer was try to get him to say he called on his gay friends or something or he watched too wong foo a bunch of times to gather the stereotype of a gay man. This is like reading a text message his tone is like overly serious and borderline self-consumed. I don't know the man though. I like him though. I've enjoyed seeing him in the pictures I've watched. Never a he sucks moment. I first saw him in next day air then linewatch. I started to think he would be a gangster in every film until I saw I will fllow. In Sparkle I kept thinking why do they have this tight ass shirt on him and he so ins't convincing me he's some soft hearted guy. But sparkle had it's own problems

  • Poe | August 28, 2012 5:06 PM

    Just for the record, I rather see to two black gay men on the big and small screen expressing their love for one another than see them killing or providing drugs to one another!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Hasani | August 28, 2012 3:51 PMReply

    I could live to be a thousand yrs old and I'll NEVER understand why portraying a murderous, drug dealer, a sociopathic, serial killer, etc., causes black "actors" no concern; yet, portraying gay sends them into group therapy. Really??? I think Omari successfully told the interviewer in a roundabout fashion that he is a phenomenal actor as long as a role doesn't call for him to be someone he isn't. Hey, not every "actor" subscribes to Jeffrey Wright & Meryl Streep's brand of chameleonesque artistry. Now, Omari fans, run and tell dat!

  • Banta | August 28, 2012 4:07 PM


  • ROB-EL | August 28, 2012 3:46 PMReply

    Are he and Ava Duvernay beefing or something? He talked about everybody else he dont like and parts he didnt get but not the black woman who put him in two of her movies which are his best performances cause Sparkle was cool and Kick Ass was cool but I wouldn't even know who this cat was if I didn't see him in the Sally Richardson movie. He apparently has something people like to cause this much comments on here. I wish I knew what it was.

  • Priss | August 28, 2012 5:03 PM

    @Akimbo: Brilliant!

  • Akimbo | August 28, 2012 3:56 PM

    I wouldn't read too much into it; he was following the interviewer's lead & doesn't seem like he was asked to elaborate. If we're going to start a rumor, let's instead say that he & Ava are carrying on a secret affair & he just gets too emotional to discuss working with her. It's more fun that way.

  • CareyCarey | August 28, 2012 1:15 PMReply

    In defense of Masha -- (yeah, I'm riding with her to the end) -- in reference to the dying son issue, the central point of that part of the interview was his resentment at not being called back for Kick-Ass 2 (not his son). While listing the efforts he put into the first movie, he included --> " And at the time of its filming, I had a son that was passing away. I'€d go to London and not stay overnight, and fly nine hours to LA to handle that commitment." Therefore, since the focus was not on his son, how do you believe she could have, or should have approached that subject? Personally, I don't believe that's Masha's call. If Omari wanted to expound on it, that's his call because obviously it was very personal and life changing. It would have been highly inappropriate, not to mention unprofessional, for the interviewer to broach that subject. On the TP issue... as Omari stated, THERE WAS NO ISSUE other than what some folks have tried to infer. And seriously, the poetry issue was not relevant? Really? I beg to differ! Listen, poetry is many things for many people but basically it gives special intensity to the expression of feelings and ideas of it's writer. So keeping that in mind and given the fact that Omari has been writing poetry for several years, it's not about whether or not YOU or I will read it. It's about the man and how it played an integral part of his life. His words: "When I went to New York... I struggled so much. My poetry got so heavy during that time. I was always writing stories. Poetry has in a way been my bridge to my acting career. I had so many questions about my life, so I took to poetry to express my questions. I had questions about politics, family relationships, and more. I took to writing as my medicine to help me stay afloat in this career journey. [More importantly]My writing was therapy during that time. I wrote about me breaking hearts, and my heart being broken. I wrote about my views whether they were liberal or conservative. I wrote about everything. I wrote about my life. When I did not have paper coming in as green backs, I'd use random pieces of paper for stories. It was like, I got no money, but I have paper to write. SO I WROTE!" ~ Omari Hardwick. So Mr Wise, again I beg to differ because poetry is the man -- in so many ways. Without it in his life, it's doubtful there would be a Omari Hardwick as we know him today.

  • Wise | August 28, 2012 4:48 PM

    Again, you're assuming that a followup question is inherently a "deep, probing and possibly injurious examination," and it does not have to be. Particularly if you're a good interviewer. It is not your job to decide how deep an interview won't go. And it's certainly not your job to leave glaring loose ends untied. If you don't get an answer to 'How did your son die?' then you don't include the mention in the piece.

    Poetry: Fair enough. And for that, you are rewarded with the benefit of having your curiosity satisfied, and I do not.

    I'm plenty nasty, but Ms. Wise will do just fine. ;)

  • CareyCarey | August 28, 2012 4:05 PM

    "I don't have a penis" OPPS.... sorry Ms. Wise, I'll call you Miss Jackson if you're nasty... but please don't tell your daddy *lol*. On a serious note, your points are well taken but we remain divided. I do not adhere to the notion that when the subject merely mentions an occurrence from their past, that it's automatically fair game for deep, probing and possibly injurious examination. You may believe that's the essence of an "interview" but that type of "gorilla" interviewing has been proven to be a prescription for deep conflict. In most cases, if we're talking about a professional interview, the subjects (the interviewed and the interviewer, or their representatives) will discuss and agree on what subjects will and will NOT be spoke about in-depth -- before they go on record. Poetry: "It" was not as "illuminating" to YOU.

  • Wise | August 28, 2012 3:04 PM

    Carey Carey,

    First, I read and have access to the same interview as you, no need to copy/paste entire portions that I've already read. I can understand your points and their proper context.

    To answer your questions:

    Son: How does the interviewer broach the subject? Omari mentioning it on the record was the opening for a followup question. It is neither inappropriate nor unprofessional to do so when a subject makes an elephant-in-the-room type comment. That is, in fact, the essence of an interview. Listening and probing. If he declines to answer the followup that's one thing, but you have to ask. As a matter of fact, I would not be surprised if that human interest story surfaced in Ebony, Vibe or the like, when he promotes his next movie.

    TP: "Why were you never interested in his films before?" Again, you have to ask in order to assuage the readers' assumptions and curiosity.

    Poetry: I understood the importance of poetry from the first question and answer. There were 3 separate questions about it and frankly, I didnt learn anything from questions 2 and 3 that I didnt get from #1. And my point is that as deeply personal as poetry is to him, it's not as illuminating as how he dealt with the death of a son, as an artist and a man.

    PS...Mr. Wise is my dad. I don't have a penis.

  • bondgirl | August 28, 2012 12:52 PMReply

    Masha, I would say listen to your interviewee...if something is off the record, let it stay that way. Otherwise, few actors will give you the real scoop and stick to lying to your face like they do to some publications. Even if something seems juicy (like the beef with his workshop co-founders), you have to remember that this is someone you'd like to talk to about future projects. It'd be one thing if it was related to his film, but it was just gossip. If you were in a high-profile position, you would've gotten reprimanded for it, so I'm not sure why Tambay is holding your hand while you're walking over the coals. We all have had to be critiqued in our professions, so developing a thick skin is a beneficial survival skill. No matter what you say, it was too personal and unneccessary, hence why Omari had to check you. Learn from Jasmin about technique, while incorporating your own style, and you'll be on your way.

  • CareyCarey | August 28, 2012 4:43 PM

    Bondgirl, yeah... we'll rest this one. But I have to add that I wasn't suggesting (or didn't mean to imply) that anyone was lying. Nope, that's not my style, nor would I disrespect either of them like that. I was suggesting that it's possible they didn't discuss what was on the record.

  • bondgirl | August 28, 2012 4:00 PM

    Carey, she shed tears and he came to wipe them away. First of all, he could've sent her an email, but it was about letting "us" know he's backing her up (like we couldn't guess that). Could she present this interview to a magazine to get a paid job? Umm, no. If memory serves me correctly, this similar exchange took place for one of her other interviews as well...and she came wailing about the big, bad wolf. Whether he told truth is subjective, considering the impact it left with Omari. I read all the comments, and it doesn't seem like anyone said anything harsh to her, except they would've liked different questions. Was that unfair a request? On the contrary, most of what is being dissected are his words. Now defending O is understandable, due to things that may have been taken out of context. A rectal exam is "insightful, probing, and personal"....does that give anyone credence to give one? Anyway, we will agee to disagree this go 'round...gotta run and get my laptop to the repair shop! Be well.

  • CareyCarey | August 28, 2012 3:24 PM

    DAMN, I am starting to feel like Johnnie Cochran. But wait, he's dead so now I'm thinking Jose Baez, the defense attorney for Casey Anthony. My cross examination: @ Priss & Bondgirl, it's a fact that Masha dropped information that was "alledgedly" off the record. However, can you prove that it was indeed confidential? Granted, Omari said it was, but that was after the release of the information is question. But can either of you attest to the fact that it was explicitly expressed between the defendant and the claimant that said information was not to be divulged? I am having serious doubts that Masha was told not to post this-this-and-that, but yet took it upon herself to act like Benita Butrell ( Kim Wayans) of In living Color who airs her neighbor's dirty laundry... spilling the beans as she goes "ain't one to gossip, so you didn't hear this from me, but Omari said BOOM! BANG! K-POW!" Nope. I believe although by definition their exchange was an "interview", there was no defining lines between casual conversation, the hush-hush and the let it rip. Consequently, without a doubt the preponderance of truth will weigh on the side of the innocent and naive, defendant. She was just trying to do her job the best that she knew how. I rest my case.

  • CC | August 28, 2012 2:34 PM

    Carey Carey, quite contrary is back! You say white, he says black! You say fresh, he says wack!

  • Priss | August 28, 2012 2:03 PM

    Agreeing with Bondgirl. Breaking off the record confidentiality is cardinal sin #2 in journalism, right after naming a confidential source. It is not done. Now we all know this isn't the New York Times but do you consider yourself a journalist or just a blogger bound by nothing? If that is the case, then do you and break confidentiality all you please. But if this site aspires to be above par, which I believe it does and is, you've got to respect basic ethics.

  • CareyCarey | August 28, 2012 1:47 PM

    My friend... my long time friend, BONDGIRL. It appears we've reached a fork in the road. Think about it... is it fair to say Tambay is holding her hand while she's walking over the coals" I believe you're implying that he's easing her pain and in doing so, she's missing valuable feedback. Well, I don't believe Tambay's words did nothing but tell the truth--> "I thought it was a great interview. Insightful, probing, personal. Don't change your style". Yes, it was all the things he mentioned -- was it not? Granted, Masha might have divulged some things that were off the record, however, that does not negate any of the above "finer points" of the interview. It WAS insightful, probing, personal and much more. We can't take that away from her.

  • Nadia | August 28, 2012 9:11 AMReply

    Masha, this was a wonderful interview! I wouldn't even both responding to those who don't like it. What's the point. You can't please everyone, so don't try. There are those who like it, and those who don't. That's just the way it goes. Many folks didn't care for Oprah's personal interview style, bringing her own life into conversations, but she's done quite well with that approach. So nothing wrong with personal touches. Some will like it, some won't. You don't have to defend anything. I love it! The casual nature of it all. And I learned quite a bit about the man as well.

  • G.D. | August 28, 2012 8:28 AMReply

    Whoever interviewed him spent waaaaay too much time trying to find out whether he is gay or not by digging deep into the character he played on "For Colored Girls." All those extra questions on that role were really unnecessary and hell, I felt uncomfortable for him.

  • Laura | August 28, 2012 8:21 AMReply

    Thanks for the interview. I enjoyed it.

  • woh | August 28, 2012 7:33 AMReply

    The interview didn't mention that you can catch Omari Hardwick on the TVOne network on Verses & Flow on Mondays 11PM EST/8PM PST.

  • Orville | August 28, 2012 1:40 AMReply

    There is so much homophobia in the black community that some black male actors are fearful of taking on gay roles.

    I think there should be more gay roles for black male actors because there are so many stories that need to be told from a black gay male perspective.

    I just read an article that it took a long time for the LA Complex to cast the two gay roles because black male actors were fearful of taking the role. Thank goodness Benjamin Watson and Andra Fuller were up to the challenge. Watson and Fuller's gay black male characters on the LA Complex have received a lot of positive press from the media and the public. Watson and Fuller give a lot of passion and energy to their characters gay romance.

  • Orville | August 28, 2012 1:36 AMReply

    Wait a second, what does Omari being black have to do with taking on a gay role in For Colored Girls? I don't understand?

    I don't see how taking a gay role can hurt a black male actor? In fact, I think taking on a gay role can actually help a black male actor. It certainly helped Anthony Mackie's career showing he had range.

    Anthony Mackie also had a role in a gay film Brother to Brother and that movie basically launched his career. Anthony got a lot of critical acclaim for playing a gay man.
    And on the LA Complex show currently on television there are two black actors whose characters are gay. And these gay characters on the LA Complex are the most popular.

  • CareyCarey | August 28, 2012 2:08 AM

    You and others are making a big deal out of nothing. Omari said nothing wrong. He simply said "The black culture perceives roles like that one in a negative light" and that's true. Seriously, is there a large black culture that embraces the down low brother (which Carl was)? Nope, he remains in the shadows and in the closet.

  • Masha | August 28, 2012 12:37 AMReply

    Some of the comments below taking digs at me and the interview are silly... In this imterview theres a story of an imperfect person. I asked the actor the above questions so we could learn more about him... if you have a question for me...ask me...dont diss me w/o knowing me.

  • ojie king | August 28, 2012 12:43 PM

    Come on masha, this is life, not everyone is going to like what you do! At least they care enough to disagree with you. What if you had just one comment for the interview? Plus, is it really professional to hit the comment section for your own interview? hahahahahahahaha

  • Tambay | August 28, 2012 9:19 AM

    Masha, I thought it was a great interview. Insightful, probing, personal. Don't change your style. It's you. It works. There's absolutely no need to respond to those who don't like it, especially when there are so many who do.

  • Boomslang | August 28, 2012 8:29 AM


    People are not taking a swipe at you ;ain't nobody hating on you. You are supposed to be a professional. Maybe you have to accept some constructive critism from time to time and if you feel someone's taking the mickey , adress a particular portion of a comment you deemed offensive instead of posing as a victim.

  • CareyCarey | August 28, 2012 4:25 AM

    Masha, unfortunately that's the game at S&A. Some folks focus on the most trivial aspects of a post instead of the deeper issues. Don't worry about them, take the good and leave the rest behind. Heck, I enjoyed the little personal exchanges. In my opinion that's one of the finer qualities of a good interviewer. They have the ability to engage their subject in small spontaneous conversation which adds a touch of "realness". In many cases it loosens up the person being interviewed. Anyway, as I said in another comment, I think this was an exceptional interview. One of the best! And hopefully you know I would not say that if I didn't believe it was true.

  • bondgirl | August 27, 2012 11:37 PMReply

    I like Omari more now that I know another side of his personality, but wished the banter about what connections the interviewer had in common with him were edited out. Bringing up her own childhood was kinda...weird. It was like reading a transcript from a first date. Other than that, it was an interesting read.

  • Melanie | August 27, 2012 10:32 PMReply

    I liked him before, but I love him now. I wish him luck. I wish Masha had of asked him more questions about the black greek program. Is there a link or footage we can see? Its great to see him so honest...he did not hold back!

  • ojie king | August 27, 2012 9:19 PMReply

    And yes, we know you're straight. Playing a gay character is just that, playing a gay character. No one is going to think you are gay if you aren't. Will Smith has played gay so......... Well i get his point, if he couldn't relate, he couldn't relate. Also, i think that black actors especially should stop hating inTyler Perry. Fine, his films are not critically lauded, but please, he has made a name for himself and he gives black actors work and his films actually make money. I find it silly that when these actors become somewhat successful, they bite the hand that fed them, which I dont think is fair.

  • Critical Acclaim | August 27, 2012 9:16 PMReply

    Why would he repeat that about Terence Howard and Salim? A little full of himself it seems. That was not cool. In lifting himself up he took down somebody else.

  • Melanie | August 27, 2012 10:39 PM

    That seems cool to me... b/c he was telling a story. He pretty much said he played himself with that audition. I got the point... now the question is...who booked that audition?

  • justsaying | August 27, 2012 9:50 PM


  • ojie king | August 27, 2012 9:13 PMReply

    Well, show business is hard! But, i wish him all the luck. I believe he wasn't picked for the sequel because blatantly he is an unknown. If he was a big star, he would have been picked.

  • AccidentalVisitor | August 27, 2012 8:46 PMReply

    Appreciated the mention of "Sucka Free City". The "movie" that came from the failed-to-get-off-the ground series was terrific; some of Spike's best work in the past ten or fiftten years. Anthony Mackie was great in his role. A bit uncomfortable with remarks regarding the gay discussion. Thought Hardwick may have thrown the black community as a whole under the bus a bit. And I thought Hardwick was going a bit too far to make sure it was clear to all involved that he was not gay. Hey, I believe he isn't. So no need to go overboard to prove one's manhood. And though I understand what he was trying to convey I think using the word "deviant" so often when describing how he got into the mindset of playing a homosexual character is a little of a misstep. Not only can it be interpreted in the wrong way, it could become a bit of a hindrance in Harwick's goal to climb the ladder in Hollywood which happens to be a very gay-friendly town. Again I realize that he is probably refering to his character in that particular film as being a liar and a cheater, but other folks may see it in a different light. As we know just by this political season your words can be twisted and turned against you.

  • Kim | August 27, 2012 8:18 PMReply

    Cant wait to see him in Middle of Nowhere. He was great in Sparkle. I like his relationship with Salim... I want to see the BET project.

  • boomslang | August 27, 2012 7:17 PMReply

    most of the interview is incoherent and poorly structured.I detest interviews that end up sounding like a meaningless barbershop chatter. This is what I got from this. We've got to do better than this.For real.

  • Joseph G. | August 27, 2012 11:59 PM

    @CARL Stay on topic. You don't have to talk about his username and grammar. Instead address why you disagree with him. That's how adults debate.

  • Carl | August 27, 2012 7:28 PM

    And this coming from a guy who goes by BOOMSLANG? But what question would YOU ask -- to do better?

  • Helluva | August 27, 2012 6:28 PMReply

    Well, you know how there's a rumor about EVERY brotha in Hollywood so I think "Wise O" was just letting the author know what's up just in case she was going there lol. No harm, no foul. I remember seeing dude at the Actor's Lounge in LA back in the day & his stage skills seemed underwhelming (although he was already working steady in films). But it's apparent he's worked hard to get good at what he does (his performance in "Everyday Black Man" is particularly solid). Good to see a Poetry Lounge alum do it big! Only please, please, please do it Adam Sandler style (not the Jim Carrey way) and look out the homies lol...would love to see IN-Q get some run too...continued success brother...

  • bohemian princess | August 27, 2012 5:01 PMReply

    "OH: No, because it’s like how could I do that really well? I focused on being deviant."

    Is he being serious here? I find this portion of his interview to be offensive. As if it requires some special effort to play someone that is gay. Being an actor is about tapping into the complexities of ourselves and living in the moment and reflecting the human condition with honesty and truth. Would someone tell this joker that he doesn't have to be gay to play gay. He doth protest too much. It's a shame Oprah'a show is no longer on the air. Whose couch is he going to jump on now?

  • Starry118 | September 5, 2012 2:41 PM

    @Saadiayah and @Wow...

  • Starry118 | September 5, 2012 2:31 PM

    @Saadiyah: Agreed...that's exactly how I read it, as well.

  • saadiyah | August 27, 2012 7:21 PM

    I was caught off guard by the "deviant" part too. I think being deceptive to the people in his life was the deviancy, not the homosexuality. His quote: "I focused on being a deviant person. I focused on doing something wrong. I was lying to my wife. I was lying to these men. I prepared for the role by closing my eyes and thinking of times when I had lied. "

  • WOW | August 27, 2012 5:41 PM

    @BOHEMIAN PRINCESS, YOU found it offensive? First, you have to look at the whole conversation regarding the gay character to understand where he was coming from. When you do that, YOU actually said EXACTLY what he said. You said: "As if it requires some special effort to play someone THAT IS GAY". EXACTLY! One CAN NOT play a sexual orenitation UNLESS the character is defined as an over-the-top, bent wrist, sweet-sissy walking homosexual, which Carl WAS NOT! Now check out the entire conversation to see if you may have missed something. Shadow and Act: How did you prepare for that role [The role of Carl in FCG's]? OH: I focused on being a deviant person. I focused on doing something wrong. [BECAUSE] I (Carl) was lying to my wife. I was lying to these men. I prepared for the role by closing my eyes and thinking of times when I had lied . Shadow and Act: You DID NOT focus on the sexual orientation of Carl to get into character?

    OH: No, [NO! BOHEMIAN PRINCESS] because it's like how could I do that really well [HOW DOES ONE PLAY A SEXUAL ORIENTATION]? I focused on being deviant. Shadow and Act: Did you tap into your own sexuality to build the role? OH: [THE IS QUESTION VAGUE AND CONFUSING, SO] You want me to explain HOW I used my heterosexuality to build this role? Shadow and Act: Yes, I do. OH: [ Masha apparently didn't understand his answer of how one can not "play" a sexual orientation, so he continued] Okay, let me know if this is what you mean. There was this one time while we were filming in New York, where I was testing myself. l challenged myself to run through Central Park and behave like Carl. I wanted to see how I would run and LIVE DIFFERENTLY as my character (Carl). Shadow and Act: And what did you find out about your character during this run? OH: I did not get through the run without checking out women. It’s a natural instinct. So, that’s why I solely focused on being deviant [Remember, Carl was a liar, deceitful and a usurper... character flaws of many humans -- REGARDLESS OF THE SEXUAL ORIENTATION]. So Omari used them to prepare for his portrayal of Carl. What's wrong with that and what did YOU read?

  • CareyCarey | August 27, 2012 4:37 PMReply

    I am perplexed... no I am burdened... no, I am intellectual "challenged"/deficient. That's it, I can't find the right superlatives to express my feeling on this interview. So, in my best "say it like it is" way, this interview was simply -- THE SH*T. Question by Question from start to finish, this interview gave us a deep look into the man, the actor, his family, his failures, his heartaches, loves and journey, now and "then". From the opening question, one could surmise that Omari is a thinker. When asked if he needed "college" to make it in Hollywood, his short response said so much. He didn't speak about a degree. He basically said the "experiences" of those years, helped prepare him for the battles ahead. On the subject of love and intelligence, he gave these thought provoking words--> "Actors are intelligent. Yet, many of them do not communicate well. That’s what makes it so hard to have a relationship with one".
    Shadow and Act: Actors tends to get really emotional in love. They really act out their feelings.
    OH: "but what happens when you need other communication? What about beyond the emotions?". Damn, WHAT ABOUT BEYOND THE EMOTION?! WOW. That man went some where that few venture. That reminds me, in respect to his acting, I always thought he used subtlety and "nuance" in the finest way. So, when he said he went to Playhouse West, where he studied the Meisner technique, I now know why. Again, this post had loads of insight into the making of the man. For instance, check out these words on his family and how they played a roll in developing his character. "My priorities are leaning more towards family"... "I credit my southern upbringing to that"... "I was raised in the church as well, and God plays a big role in my upbringing and my life".. "I actually need help from my family". Talk about being grounded, and not forgetting where he came from. RE: His writing poetry. Again he let us into his life by sharing how he coped during his trying times. Some folks drink, or smoke, or run to the doctor for a pill to ease their ills, but he put his pain on paper. That's big because many of us do not know how to discharge our pain. This man Omari is a thinker. Now, on the subject of playing a homosexual, when he said "Well, I can’t relate to being gay" I knew exactly where he was going. Listen, I believe acting is about expressing emotions. Consequently, since he said he can't relate to "being gay", he had to find something he shares with all humans and then run with those thoughts/actions, not the "sexual orientation" of the character . I believe anyone who read anything different, or negative in his comment, is looking in the wrong place. In short, I'll have to check my memory banks, but I believe this was the most thought provoking, unpretentious, courageous (the interviewer and subject), insightful, in-depth, rounded interview to hit S&A. Some folks said it was long. I'd call it just right. GOOD JOB Masha!

  • Starry118 | September 5, 2012 2:29 PM

    Thank you, I agree with all you've said here. It was a very engaging, open & honest interview, and I enjoyed reading it. I haven't seen any of his movies, but I'm getting ready to watch some now.

  • Anton | August 27, 2012 3:01 PMReply

    "I did not necessarily have an interest in working on any of his projects, but it was that film, that role, that I wanted." ---- Ha! He pulled an Idris on that one!

  • the black police | August 27, 2012 2:17 PMReply

    WOW! I didnt even know he had a son. What an insightful interview. Its so sad that they dropped him from Kick Ass 2. Such a shame. On a sour note: he doth protest too much on the gay role thing. He should have focused on the emotions of the character.

  • Cara W. | August 27, 2012 1:49 PMReply

    This was a great interview. A very long interviews though. It should have been split up into two parts. I would of liked to know more about his work with Ava. He was in two of her films. I wish him much luck. I didn't know he was an Alpha either.

  • Banta | August 28, 2012 3:33 AM

    Same here on the Duvernay collaboration.

  • julius hollingsworth | August 27, 2012 1:21 PMReply

    Omari is a fine actor.I just like to known who he was studying with @The Beacon theater.Good Luck,keep doing good work.

  • ALM | August 27, 2012 1:04 PMReply

    Acting as a pulpit, interesting. This quote was also interesting, "But, it’s a weird thing, because I invite them into my life, and then I am quick to be told that I have changed. It’s a balancing act, especially with my mother. I have a hard time communicating to her that I am learning how to manage this celebrity thing." I think his mother may have literally wanted him to be a minister, not figuratively. He is an adult, though. He must follow the dreams that make him happy.

  • Masha Dowell | August 27, 2012 1:59 PM

    I really liked that quote as well. He seemed deeply spiritual.

  • Kenneth | August 27, 2012 12:58 PMReply

    Long read, indeed. There's too much irrelevant info here. We didn't need to know that he had a falling out with Rasheed. (He probably didn't even think that part was on-the-record.) And the not-so-subtle dig at TP? I hope Omari doesn't need that brother's help in the future, because that door has officially closed.

  • MLM | September 7, 2012 12:24 AM

    love the clear up. I was totally thinking maybe the article just needed some omissions.

  • CareyCarey | August 28, 2012 10:35 AM

    @ Kenneth, A straight buster, you say? Is that right? I've been called many things but NEVER a buster. However, I 'll take your words and flush them down the toilet because you're talking straight OUT-OF-YOUR-ASS. You's the buster. Listen -- if you didn't know -- in the interview Masha did before this one, I gave her feedback on how I thought she could improve on her interviewing style. Although I am just a Joe-Smoe black man in the crowd, I suggested that she loosen up and ask questions that others may not. You know, stay away from standard cookie-cutter questions. Be creative and fearless. Well, in this post I believe she hit the mark. So if you believe my "praise" will give her the big-head and throw salt on Omari's displeasure (as you alleged) you're a bigger fool than Henny Penny (That chicken thought the sky was falling down). In reference to Masha getting "better", I am sure that will happen because she's made like that -- without me kissing her backside (whatever in the hell that means). But unlike you, I am man enough to give props when props are due and I'll leave the heckles for envious punks like you.

  • CareyCarey | August 28, 2012 6:19 AM

    NO... thank you Omari. Thank u for being the person that you are. Thank you very much for dropping by to clear up the confusion in the interview. I certainly didn't agree with the references being made about your relationship with Tyler Perry. From what I read, your persona/character/integrity didn't fit what many were implying. On the gay tip... nuff said, thanks for clearing up that unnecessary drama. Best of all, thanks for coming back to give our newbie... our rookie... our newest interviewer -- MASHA! -- some priceless, honest, no holds barred feedback. I am sure your words might sting a weeeeee bit, but I KNOW she'll reap many serendipitous rewards from this experience. It's a win-win with no sin. Thanks again, Omari.

  • omari | August 28, 2012 4:43 AM

    Hey masha. first off, u did a very good job on the interview. hats off to u. and thank u. and the reader careycarey nailed what i was trying to convey overall! thank u as well carey. BUT i compleeeetely was thrown by the story of corey and rasheed and my mother and father. yes....unneccesary info and it was us just talking bout mutual friends and unions many of us artist have with our dear moms and pops. i DID NOT WANT ANYYYY OF THAT in this article. and there's zero need for it. we could have still conveyed what i was saying about juggling family and career without anyyy mention of my parents. and the rasheed (who i told u is a CLOSE friend of mine) and corey comments were off record. and the comments about the brilliant actor terrance howard were not that i upstaged him in ANY audition. IMPOSSIBLE. period. it too was just a humorous point of the joke salim made about my ability that he saw as an actor. BOTH of us are doofusly aware of terrance howard's immense ability. that part of the story i wish u would not have included either. so I'm in agreement with the points made by our readers, that these little side comments should have remained at the table with u and i masha (not for the readers who could obviously be thrown by the TOO MUCH INFO). Just not needed in your FINE article! and yes EVERYONE reading into the "gay" character question way to deep....u are proving my point. i did not throw any of our people under any bus! stop with the dramatics please. READ!! NO one loves our people more. ALL our people!! hence, why i take on playing as many colors of our people as i can! & and yes, in my original answer i added to the list of great actor having played such a role....will smith, heath ledger, michael beach and others. and i very much LOVED working on that movie with my friend tyler perry. so masha, we definitely should have not conveyed anything other than that. i loved it, loved the cast, loved the opportunity, loved the character!! had zero judgement of him. and used what ever i could to reflect him in TRUTH. simply my job as an actor. thank u dear readers and supporters of shadow and act, of the writer and of me. I'm truly humbled. love u. peace.

  • Masha Dowell | August 27, 2012 2:01 PM

    You may be right... at least he gave some publicity to Rasheed's business. I was not going to include that part of the interview --- actually I left out a lot. But I wanted to paint a picture of his persona for the readers.

  • Roberto | August 27, 2012 12:02 PMReply

    Dude sounds really full of himself and overly defensive/insecure about having played a gay role

  • justsaying | August 28, 2012 1:33 PM

    I think the commitment was the job/movie...not tending to his dying son! I think the syntax and order of words suggest differently, but I'm confident he meant he flew back and forth between the two locations while tending to his son to fulfill his duty as an actor on that set (handle that commitment). Lol the other way around is just trifling!

  • CareyCarey | August 28, 2012 7:48 AM

    And Blutopaz, I have to call foul on your assessment of Omari's statement concerning his son. The central point of that part of the interview was his resentment at not being called back for Kick-Ass 2. While listing the efforts he put into the first movie, he included --> " And at the time of its filming, I had a son that was passing away. I’d go to London and not stay overnight, and fly nine hours to LA to handle that commitment." Therefore, since the focus was not on his son, how do you believe he could have, or should have approached the subject more appropriately? I believe he handled it with class. He wasn't looking for sympathy, nor was he expressing an emotion.

  • CareyCarey | August 28, 2012 5:23 AM

    Look folks, one more time, the dude (Omari) was not being defensive nor did he show signs of being insecure. Masha asked him a direct question ( in fact, several question) and he answered them in an open and honest way - period. Damn, what's this world coming to? In this day and age if one makes the mistake of mentioning a homosexual in the slightest UN-politically correct fashion, they might be called a homophobic or WORSE... as many of these comments will attest to. Anyway -- some folks got it -- while others will get what they are looking for -- MESS! SAADIYAH got it--> "I think being deceptive to the people in his life was the deviancy, not the homosexuality"

  • Masha Dowell | August 27, 2012 2:02 PM

    I think he kind of mentions this part of his persona when talking about his relationship with Salim Akil. He seemed like a high strung, frank, yet artistic man. A very smart man.

  • Keith | August 27, 2012 1:46 PM

    It would be cool to see a panel on black men, film, and sexuality. Dope interview. Hope he keeps up the work.

  • BluTopaz | August 27, 2012 1:05 PM

    ITA: It's not like method acting was required for that role, especially since Janet had the most emotional lines during their big scene together. Did OH even have scenes with another gay character? And I know everyone handles grief differently, esp, in public, and we have to be careful about relying on a few written words to always assesss someone's character. But losing his child was a "handling a committment"? Wow.

  • Wusai | August 27, 2012 12:51 PM

    I think the point is that he should get over his defensiveness because he's playing a universal human emotion and behavior. Love, guilt, secrecy. For example, if he played a person who secretly loved inanimate objects, he wouldn't say "I tried running through a park only looking at benches, but I couldn't get through that one park run without looking at a woman." I'm pretty sure the man could muster up enough self control to run through a park without checking out a woman. So that statement could come across as defensive or a way to exhibit how heterosexual he is. He may not have even been defensive at all. Will Smith claims he regrets not fully committing to his kissing scene and it was because Heath Ledger was so fearless in his role that he was cast in the Dark Knight. Omari did nothing close to Heath or even Sean Penn in Milk to warrant a comparison though.

  • aswilliams | August 27, 2012 12:38 PM

    @Roberto so was Will Smith and Heath Ledger when they took on roles as homosexuals what`s your point.

  • angie | August 27, 2012 11:57 AMReply

    Great to hear Omari in his own words. My only issues with this write-up are when Hardwick revealed he had a son who had passed away, the interviewer totally skipped over it! Have him expound! Just as when he offered that he was late for an audition due to a serious breakup, the interviewer ALSO let it slide. DELVE in! Get the details he was offering. Other than that, great talk.

  • angie | August 28, 2012 2:28 AM

    @Masha LOL I don't want to know about his "personal romantic life" in an intrusive manner. Just saying when an interviewee is THAT open during a profile you take advantage of the moment they are trying to share. Those are BIG disclosures. Especially about the death of the son. Deep Deep Deep. Just as was his family's struggles with his fame and career. You kinda brushed them right off. But anyway, I too wish he had chosen a better word than "deviant" to describe a man's struggle with his sexuality. I'm sure he'll learn and grow and have a more nuanced perspective. But again, great talk/post.

  • ojie king | August 27, 2012 9:11 PM


  • Masha Dowell | August 27, 2012 2:06 PM

    During the interview it was already a challenge -kind of - to talk about the TP role, so when he mentions the women through out the interview --- it was a lot. You guys can hit him up via FB or Twitter to inquire more about his personal romantic life.

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