Interviewed by Tianna Sheree
How did you start your journey in acting?
While attending high school in Bridgeport Connecticut, we had a substitute teacher who was an aspiring actor. That teacher’s name was Michael Jai White. As his career began to unfold, it made me consider that there were other possibility for brothers in the hood besides rapping, sports & being on the other side of the law. Around 10 years after that, I auditioned for & booked a few roles in New York. My employer relocated me to Atlanta in 2009 & in 2011 I shot my first project as a co-lead in a Studio 11 short film entitled “The Promise” which was co-directed by LisaRaye McCoy, who along with actor Mel Jackson, featured in the short. That experience is what gave me the confidence to continue.
What character do you play on The CWs Black Lighting?
My character’s current alias is Slim, but he started off on season 1 as a lieutenant for the 100.
Do you relate to your character?
I can absolutely relate to Slim. Slim has done a lot of dirty work to climb the ladder of the 100. He started as a runner, who was eventually promoted to lieutenant. From lieutenant, he worked his way up to Capo. Stay tuned, because Slim may be working his way up again!
What is it like working with an amazing cast?
Phenomenal! Not only are you working with some great talent, but you’re learning as you watch them in action. Also I must say, the crew is top notch!
Were you familiar with the Black Lightning comics?
There weren’t many black super heroes to admire back when I was growing up, so he was one of a few that me & my friends could pretend to be as kids.
What is one role you would love a chance at playing?
Definitely the Pharaoh Akhenaten, the African King Memnom or an action film like Predator where I can give an alien/monster this work!!
What actor do you admire?
I can’t just name one to be honest. Michael Jai White, Lawrence Fishburn, Samuel Jackson, Morgan Freeman, Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ed Norton, Terry Cruz, Matt Damon, Jim Carrey, Denzel Washington, Forest Whitaker, John Travolta, Bill Murray, Joe Peshi, Robert DeNiro, Steve Martin, Dwayne Johnson, Cress Williams, William Catlett…..those are just SOME of the actors I admire….my list of actors I admire is just as extensive!
It is often said that creating is healing. How does being an actor heal your spirit?
Acting forces you to step outside of your own personal experience to explore the what if’s & ebbs & flows of an alternate persona. Not only can that be gratifying at times, but it also makes you reach down deep into your core in order to find out who your character is & during that process, you can also learn about yourself.
What encouraging words do you have for inspiring actors?
Belief is the 1st tool in your toolbox for success. Next is DO THE WORK! Study your character, learn your character so you can do whatever is necessary to bring that character to life. Also, hard work is not just exclusive to being in front of the camera. Take your health seriously. Lastly, be PROFESSIONAL. That includes set etiquette, being reliable & being personable. These things go a long way in this industry.
What else can we look forward for you?
There is a lot on deck for me in 2019! NDA’s limit what I can share, but what I can say is stay tuned & I will drop hints when the time comes! IG: @aqenatenIMDB & Facebook: Alphonso A’Qen-Aten JacksonWebsite: www.aqenaten.com
Anything else you would like the world to know?
I’ve been locked up, I’ve been homeless, I’ve been hopeless, I have been my own worse enemy for more times than I can count. But in addition to all that, I’m also a father, a fighter, a role model & dammit, I’m a King who will not rest until I achieve my goals!