It’s safe to say that Ashton Sanders is Hollywood’s next biggest star.
Last Wednesday it was reported that the Inglewood, California native is in talks to join Warner Bros anticipated Black Panther’s pic Jesus Was My Homeboy, starring Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out), Lakeith Stanfield (Atlanta).
The Ryan Coogler produced project is about the assassination of Black Panther activist Fred Hampton. If all goes through, Sanders will play Black Panther Party member Larry Roberson.
The nod is yet another look for the 23-year old up and coming actor who turned heads in Moonlight, challenged viewers in Native Son and is currently playing RZA in Hulu’s new the series, Wu-Tang: An American Saga.
Born in Inglewood, California, it’s not every day you see actors start their careers off with the strength Sanders has shown. Beyond his clear acting ability, he also has a knack for landing roles that are the center of conversations and pushing culture and society forward.
So how did Sanders, in such a short time, manage to position himself in line to be Hollywood’s next biggest star? The answer is to that two-folded: support and because he believed he could.
A significant reason Ashton, as a young, Black man from Inglewood was able to successfully pursue a career in acting was because of the support he received from his immediate family.
While most kids his age and that looked like him were probably playing basketball, around the age of 13 Ashton was placed in the Amazing Grace Conservatory in Central Los Angeles where he learned acting, singing and dance. Ashton penned in a personal expose for the Spring/Summer 2019 issue of Another Man:
“My father was very supportive of whatever I wanted to do creatively though. He was a fashion designer, he would go around sketching all the time, he was definitely an artist, full circle. That support was a big force getting me to where I’m at right now.”
He would later go on and finished the theatre program at DePaul University in Chicago. That training prepared Sanders to be ready when opportunities arose, which is exactly why he was so successful with Moonlight.
The other part of how Sanders has, in such a short career, has been able to get the roles he has is because he only does what he loves.
“I’ll never sign on to anything I don’t feel is right. Each choice I make has something to say, that’s what I’m trying to build. It’s not just artistic fulfillment, but doing something right socially, and politically, through my work.”
It’s the reason his roles resonate, why he builds the relationship he does and he gets roles others wishes. Even in the Hule series, he didn’t even have to audition for the role. Sanders told Essence earlier this month:
“There was no audition at all… RZA and [co-creator] Alex Tse already had their mind made up that they wanted me to portray him. At first it was kind of overwhelming but, obviously, it’s an honor.”
When you think of the gravity of the story, the people tapped to play the roles and the eye behind the camera, Jesus Was My Homeboy already has the feeling of one of those films that will make a generational impact. Which is precisely on-brand for Ashton Sanders.
Blactor, Lakeith Stanfield is best known for staying true to self and for that you can’t help but respect his drip. His journey to becoming an A-list Hollywood star wasn’t easy but since his arrival, I couldn’t help but notice that he would do great as an OFWGKTA artist.
Facts or nah? To prove it, in a recent interview with Joe La Puma for Complex Magazine’s Sneaker Shopping series, Stanfield revealed how much he respects the low-key leader of the free world Tyler the Creator.
Stanfield shared his appreciation for the “BRONCO” rapper whilst looking at his green Converse Golf le Fleur shoe. He told Puma how he’s been an Odd Future fan from day one and shared an anecdote about Earl Sweatshirt pulling up to his car in the middle of traffic.
So, why would Stanfield be a good addition to the OFWGKTA squad? Check out these three reasons why below.
1. Stanfield could possibly out troll Tyler
Known for his perfectly weird personality and acting skills, the Sorry to Bother You blactor could definitely take on Tyler in the trolling arena. He even realizes it. During the Complex interview, he told Puma how if he and Tyler got together, “they would probably fight… Without hitting each other.”
Makes sense as Tyler is the OD troll. The two would troll one another until their heads exploded. Plus, as far as trolls go, there’s nothing better than trying to troll another troll while trolling.
Not to mention, all the other goblins that are in Odd Future like Taco, Jasper Dolphin, and Earl Sweatshirt. They for sure would accept Stanfield with open arms.
During Stanfield’s interview with Puma, he told an anecdote about how Earl Sweatshirt almost got hit by a car in an attempt to dap it up with the blactor. The story proves that if the Odd Future CEO is willing to almost die for a dap then they must be willing to at least consider signing Stanfield to the label.
Stanfield told Puma,
“My car came to a red light and Earl saw me, ran to my car, and somebody almost hit him… Somebody almost hit him when he ran in the street and he was like ‘fuck you.’ Then he came over to the car and showed some love. That was dope because I was fucking with them from when they first came out. Shouts out.”
Gang shit only.
3. Stanfield has fire bars
Lowkey, behind Stanfield’s acting talents, lies his rap skills as if he couldn’t get any doper. The Atlanta actor first showed the world his lyrical skills in Short Term 12 where he played a character named Marcus who was working on the rap for his group home supervisor.
The rap song which was co-written by Stanfield, actually, went on to get a nomination for Best Original Song at the 2014 Satellite Awards. From the movie, Short Term 12 Stanfield then dapped it up with LA-based producer HH aka Hrishikesh Hirway to create a rap duo called MOORS.
The musical relationship proved itself progressive and in 2014 the dropped their self-titled EP. Incredible stuff. Now you see why Stanfield has to sign to Odd Future. Truly this is his destiny, no?
While fans mainly attend NBA games to see their favorite athletes perform, it’s the faces behind-the-scenes who transform a professional basketball game into a night they’ll never forget.
As the floor director and coordinator of game presentation for the Brooklyn Nets, Troy Press has made a career out of breathing excitement and joy into timeouts and halftime.
From overseeing the creation of new dance routines to arranging various talent and celebrity influencers, Press has obsessed over every detail to give fans something to remember.
In a one-on-one hour long interview with Kulture Hub, Press gave us some insight on his journey navigating the world of NBA entertainment, his aspiring career as an actor, and his passion for bringing people together to create everlasting moments.
On the court, you’ll find Troy rehearsing events and scheduling appearances for the Nets, but off the court, you’ll find him memorizing lines, hustling to become an established actor. Coming off his first feature film The Second Son, Press has been keeping himself busy with acting and improv classes to round out his schedule.
“If you’re not in the mix in New York City, I don’t know what you’re doing; there’s other cities to chill in.”
As I asked him about his journey, Press revealed his passion for interacting with people from all backgrounds. From having done gigs on ESPN Radio to hosting on Fox Sports 1 for events like Monster Jam, Troy explained his takeaways from his past experiences and how he applies them today.
“I realized I have this talent for being able to interact with people, and bringing smiles to everybody of all ages. I knew I kind of wanted to take performance to the next level, and that’s when I really started taking into acting.”
The world of entertainment is typically recognized as a diversified collection of crafts; whether you’re an actor, a musician, or even the floor director and head coordinator of game presentation for the Brooklyn Nets, there are a slew of nuanced differences and similarities among each profession.
When asked about the commonalities and distinctions between his roles as the leader of Nets entertainment and his endeavors as an actor, Press made it clear that at the end of the day, his job is to bring an experience.
“There’s so many times our amazing Nets entertainment team and crew are able to bring an experience for 18,000 or 19,000 people. Whether it’s making someone laugh off the dance cam, or seeing Brook Lopez [the Brooklyn Nets all-time leading scorer] get emotional for his tribute video… you rehearse it, you create it, and exactly like acting, you see it come to life.”
Analogously, acting on stage offers that same exhilaration of rehearsing, performing, and living with the results. Press said,
“I truly truly enjoy theatre because when the character/actor walks out onto that stage, the audience is living, breathing, and dying with that character. If I come out and I mess up, there’s a moment of me feeling some type of emotion, and the audience is there to live it with me.”
Because Press assumes more of a director’s role at Barclays, it clearly has helped him appreciate the other side of performance. Throughout the day, Press is the director, and in the evening, he becomes the actor.
With both of his positions offering him angled perspectives of the liveliness and excitement that comes from the fine arts, Press confirmed that it was his siblings, and specifically his sister, that first gauged his passion.
Press’ sister, Jessica, began as a Knicks City Dancer for three years, performed in a couple of Broadway shows, and eventually moved to Vegas then LA to pursue her acting career. She made her movie debut with John Stamos in My Man Is A Loser. And though his sister has stepped away from the limelight to care for her newborn son, there is no denying her influence in Press’ own professional career.
Due to his sister’s time as a Knicks City Dancer, she was able to land him an interview with the Knicks for an intern position the summer of his junior year in college.
Although he came ready to sell himself, Press soon realized that his family’s reputation had preceded his introduction. Because of his sister’s rigorous work ethic as a dancer, the Press name had blossomed into good fortunes, landing Troy the internship on the spot.
With his foot in the door, Press carried the same mentality, being as proactive as he could to create his own identity within the organization. When he went back to Wingate University in Charlotte for his senior year, Press was able to coordinate a position as the assistant game night floor director for the then-Charlotte Bobcats. His dedication as an intern had landed him a job working with the GOAT himself, Michael Jordan.
While Press did receive free Jordans from his time in Charlotte, his role was limited as an assistant director. He recalled how it felt, standing in the room as an assistant and seeing how MJ’s presence alone took the breath out of people, himself included.
Now, Press, who’s on the verge of completing his third year with the Nets, finds it funny that he’s the one at the head of the helm, directing and leading the show behind the NBA camera.
Press’ continual efforts to learn and grow has earned him a spot as one of the main floor directors for NBA All-Star weekend, the NBA’s largest event of the season. Press said,
“The Game Entertainment Committee selects their own ‘All-Star team,’ if you will. They bring in around 10-12 of their favorite and most reliable stage managers, people from the the Brooklyn Nets, New York Knicks, Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Clippers, Miami Heat, etc … [But to grow from an assistant in Charlotte] to leading the charge, speaking to Team LeBron and Team Curry, telling them where they’re going to be standing for intros and how they’re getting off stage… To think about those moment from kind of being just somebody in the room, to actually owning the room and delivering was cool.”
Evidently, Press’ tenure with the now-Charlotte Hornets acts as a friendly reminder of his winding journey. Upon graduation, Press returned to the Knicks for a full-time position. But after a year, he found himself wanting more, ambitious to take on as much as he could. “A position opened up in Brooklyn just across the river, and I was looking to grow and take more on my plate and it felt like a great fit.”
Now, even though he’s at the top of his Brooklyn hierarchy, Press is even more attentive to detail and eager to learn. Whether he’s collaborating with celebrities for Brooklyn appearances, or picking the brains of accomplished actors, Troy Press has expanded his network to one day make a bigger splash in the acting industry.
“I think if you’re not networking in any field, you’re doing yourself damage. There are so many great people to learn from. I’m always open to learn, to take someone out to dinner or invite them to a game to learn about what they’re doing and how we can help each other… Most importantly though, just being good to people. You never know when the right time could click. I treat the custodian, the ushers, the security, the celebrities all the same. If I have a chance to bring a smile to somebody and change their day, I’ll do it.”
Open-minded and hungrier now more than ever, Troy Press is making his mark on the entertainment world. Whether it’s at Barclays or in front of the camera, he’s looking to create moments that’ll go the extra mile.
At 60 years old, with three Oscars under his belt, actor Daniel Day-Lewis is retiring from acting, according to Variety.
Although there was no given reason for the actor’s sudden retirement, Day-Lewis’ spokeswoman said in a statement,
“Daniel Day-Lewis will no longer be working as an actor. He is immensely grateful to all of his collaborators and audiences over the many years. This is a private decision and neither he nor his representatives will make any further comment on this subject. ”
Widely considered to be perhaps the greatest actor in recent film history, Day-Lewis has played some of the most iconic roles of the past decades.
As the film kid on your freshman year dorm floor would have told you, Day-Lewis is one of the last method actors in film.
Method acting requires the practitioner to delve deep into the role, becoming the character that you are pretending to play.
It is a complicated and intense practice, wherein the actor often remains in character even when not on set.
Method acting can be a dangerous proposition, some actors lose their sense of self, but Day-Lewis’ performances are a testament to the craft.
Day-Lewis’ accomplishments are bountiful, becoming the only actor to win the best actor Oscar three different times.
His Oscar-winning portrayals came as Abraham Lincoln in Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, Daniel Plainview in There Will Be Blood, and Christy Brown in My Left Foot.
His performances as Bill the Butcher in Gangs of New York and Garry Conlon in In the Name of the Father earned him two other Academy Award nominations.
Daniel Day-Lewis will leave film as one of the most elusive and fascinating actors in the modern era. He kept his private life completely out of the spotlight and seemed more committed to the stage than film.
Day-Lewis’ performance in There Will Be Blood as the marauding oilman Daniel Plainview is perhaps the best performance I have ever seen on a screen.
Daniel Day-Lewis will surely be missed. Although his roles were few and far between, his selection process for films was as rigorous and intense as anyone’s, there will be a large void left in the upper echelons of acting in his absence.