WOW! It has been waaaaay to long since I wrote something here. I feel like I should get back into this blog because I feel so grateful for everything in my life I could burst. This post will be short but I just wanted to share that I have become eligible for the SAG-AFTRA union.
My fellow actors know how huge this is!!! I am so excited about this monumental step in my career as an actor. What this means is I have the opportunity to now compete for larger roles in television and film. This could potentially put me directly in the forefront of your favorite show instead of always scoping for me in the background. LOL
Now if I could just find the $3000 to join. Let me know if you want to give to the “Let’s get Michael into the Union fund” but seriously.
Since January I have made the decision to focus on my acting career and things have been taking off amazingly. Now I am ready to compete in the global industry of my peers. I am blessed with incredible opportunities. I will share more later but I have an audition to get to! Much love.
Ok so I am going to give a quick run down of my thoughts on Las Vegas followed by a more in depth explanation of my experience at the 2012 Billboard Music Awards.
With this being my first trip to Vegas I was totally excited. I obviously wanted to gamble a little and walk the strip and eat awesome food and just take it all in. I absolutely did all of that and then some. Vegas is one of those places that can kill you if you dont have any restraint. Thankfully I have learned over the years how to have some self discipline…but not much. One thing that was overwhelming was the volume of people walking around. Living in LA there is a perfect balance of population and surface area but Vegas, especially the strip was to much…I found myself going into casinos just to get away from the people outside. But that didnt protect me from the gaggles of bachelorette parties that wanted pictures with me. As a performer I love the attention but as a human being I just wanted to go to a quiet corner. REGARDLESS I had a BLAST. Alot more i could say but lets just let it stay where it belongs…in Vegas.
The epicness of the weekend continued into Sunday! Since our checkin time for the Billboards wasnt until 2, Justin and I decided to get brunch at Emeril’s in the MGM Grand Hotel.
This was an absolute treat to say the least. The ambiance was great and the food was spectacular and the mimosas were just how I liked them…full of champagne. Given how were were dressed our waiter even thought we were important people going so far as to wish us luck on the evening. Then it came time for the Awards festivities to begin!
After check in we went through all the protocols of removing cell phones and cameras and processed into the Grand Ballroom. Whenever I go to awards shows like these I am always excited/anxious about who I will sit next to. In the past I have sat among the likes of Sandra Oh, Samuel L Jackson, The Mowry twins, Lawrence Fishburne, Brett Ratner, Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Ryan Gosling, Taye Diggs, and Emma Stone. This night was no different…I sat at my seat and immediately looked behind me and there was Nelly Furtado all dolled up and ready to perform later than evening. We smiled at each other and shook hands and Katy Perry came down the aisle with her grandmother and sat directly in front of me. I helped her grandmother out of the
wheelchair and into her seat.(I had no idea that katy is like 6’2 in heels. I was very surprised.) We said some words to each and then took our seats and then Ceelo came to sit next to me with his entourage of equally as big black dudes. The show started with a lively performance by LMFAO and if I wasnt so self conscious I probably would have “shuffled” in the aisle but as it is I needed to compose myself. But what was even more exciting for me was the surprise that the Dumfy’s from Modern Family were the host. I LOVE THAT SHOW.
One thing people may not realize is that during commercial breaks there is alot of chaotic musical chairs going on. People are moving all over to sit next to people they want to talk to or fill in empty seats all in the minute and a half of commercial time. Eventually I joined the festivities and ended up sitting with the Usher/Bieber crew along with the guys from The Wanted (whose performance sucked by the way. Where do they find these people??) Anyway most of this posse was very stoic and emotionless with the excepti
on of the minors who were tossing back so much beer ***cough cough The Wanted and Bieber cough cough *** If you didnt notice something was way off about Biebs when he doing his acceptance speech for his award…blame it on the alcohol (his performance was affected as well I think. While enjoyable it was both uninspired and lackluster NOT TO MENTION THE OBVIOUS LIP SYNCHING). But I digress While sitting there I found myself in conversation with this guy who I recognized but didnt know why…it turned out to be Biebs body guard. You know the one who gives Justin piggy back rides…all I am gonna say is thats not swagtastic at all Biebs.
After trading enough menacing glares from Mike Tyson (why the hell was here there, I cant begin to understand) I decided to go goof off with LMFAO’s party rock crew and they were soooo much fun! They were like excited for all the success and just making the most of it all. Not taking themselves to seriously and shooting off confetti cannons…they even gave me a couple to shoot during the show. Their stylist even called me “Red Carpet gorgeous” (one of many highlights). Carrie Underwood’s performance was AMAZEBALLS and Jordin Sparks had me in tears. The best performances of the night hands down. The show ended with Stevie Wonder being honored as a billboard icon and then a incredibly classy performance with him and alicia keys. I MISS GOOD MUSIC!! I love Stevie Wonder. This was my first time being able to see him live and to say I was inspired would be the understatement of the decade. Next to Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder is one of most iconic influences to me musically because his musicality is legendary and doesnt require smoke and pyrotechnics to enrapture you. THAT IS TALENT! I aspire to that!
All in all the night was extremely memorable and inspiring. I am further convinced of my aim to be as engrossed in the music industry as humanly possible. Not just for the accolades and attention (although I want those too) but for the chance to make an impression and a major difference the way so many artists do in the lives of their fans. I will fight for this dream until it is realized! Thanks to Ceelo and Goody Mob last night I found my new LIfe Anthem. “If I lose, then it was worth fighting for. If I win, then I only live to fight again!” So until next time folks. Be the person you always dreamed of being. MUCH LOVE!
Im not going to say much other than watch the trailer and get EXCITED! You guys have NO IDEA how crazy this is gonna be but get ready for “TAKE THE STAGE” JUNE 5TH! To get ready just go to http://www.yobi.tv and register, this will make it possible for you to vote for yours truly. I am excited to share with you this project as I am mentored, developed, and transformed. also go ahead and like my fanpage http://www.facebook.com/officialmykell for more up to date information!
I have been so angry these past couple of weeks. My anger comes from a mix of the Trayvon Martin case, the fact that the large majority didnt give a crap about it, and then being totally blindsided by the racial bigotry, ignorance, and apathy that PLAGUE this country I call home. Not knowing what to do with my anger I took to Facebook and twitter as my soapbox just to get it out. But it just made me angrier…because I felt like my non black friends just couldnt grasp the brevity of my broken heart….angry because I felt like there was nothing I could do to make the world better. I hear my friends agree that our world is broken and then add the statement “the only remedy is the gospel”…I agree, however, what good is the gospel if it to is muted by our own self righteous bigotry and cultural exclusivism that is a mainstain, it would seem, in the American church. But i digress, this post isnt about the church.
I went to a rally today in downtown Los Angeles…I just wanted to do something for Trayvon, for his family, for Justice. What I found there were hundreds of other angry black people trying to figure out what to do. Some had petitions, others wanted to react violently, while others chanted spirituals…I wanted to scream because I felt like I had been transported back to the Civil Rights movement. I kept thinking “Have we really digressed this much that we have to protest for Justice?” I feel like a bandage of pseudo equality has been cheaply plastered over seriously infectious disease that has been festering for 50 years and the bandage is coming off. When non white people’s response to racial injustice is “Well black people are racist too” DAMN RIGHT WE ARE!! My racism comes from a place of warranted mistrust. I have spent my life being the only black guy in a sea of white people, or being that black guy who isnt quite “black” enough. I have been the safe black poster child for majority white organizations in their attempt to show their “diversity” I had made it my objective to prove to EVERYONE that we weren’t the less than intellegent, grotesque, unworthy charity cases that they take us for. All the while enduring hateful looks and words of disapproval from every imaginable angle…in my attempt to help make our world a little more…whole. And here we are just as broken as ever…blindly angry on the verge of violence or sitting idle waiting on Jesus to come and right the wrongs we perpetuate. Sure we have a black president (which shows some progress) but that has seemed to stir up the racial indignation and give people cause to show their bigoted hearts. I recently read an article about the fans response to the movie ‘Hunger Games” and it was filled with people hatred that 2 of the fans favorite characters were casted as black. People were in an uproar saying to diminished the movies emotional draw because they couldnt feel anything for the blacks. WHAT THE HELL! I mean did MLK die for nothing? Did my forbearers break down racial barriers only to have them built right back up behind them?
I read a letter from Sinead O’Conner and wept as it gave me reprieve from my anger. (FOUND HERE)
This letter caused me to look inward for the strength to BE change. To be reminded that everything that makes me who I am is capable of making a difference. Do I want everyone to sit in a circle and sing kumbaya? Not really. I just want for people to really recognize where we are racially as a nation and take steps to remove ignorance and bigotry out of our hearts and personal lives. I dont know where to go from here or what to do about any of what I feel but I felt it absolutely necessary to write my jumbled thoughts out in an attempt to understand them but also perhaps to cause internal dialogue in others. If you think you know all you need to know about a culture different than your own, chances are you there is a hell of a lot more you need to know. If you are one of those people that says ” I have black friends, or my best friend is asian” then I say get more black friends or have 2 asian best friends. Whatever your social situation looks like….just remember HOPE IS YOU!
HOPE IS YOU PLEASE GIVE A LISTEN!!
So I am not usually a big proponent of superstitions and wivestales and things like that but after the week I had I am a firm believer in this statement “when you remove the negative no good people from your life it leaves room for the positive to flow in.”
A week ago I finally made that decision to do just that. Even if it meant removing people from being involved in my career and my apartment. Even if I looked like a villain to some, I knew it was time…I needed to do a spring cleaning both physically and emotionally. As I was cleaning my apartment and having a conversation with God I got booked as a featured face on the show 90210 for the following day. Episode 422 be on the look out. I am all in the camera hahah. I was even chosen to be in the promotional photos with the cast for the episode. It was such a great experience for me. While we were filming I got a call informing me I had been hand picked by a director to be in a new Pilot show. It is pilot season and Actors out here are all clawing at the chance to be in a pilot. For me to be cast was mind blowing for me. I of course said yes. Turns out the Director who wanted me for his Pilot was Rob McElhenny who created and stars in “Its Always Sunny in Philidelphia.” So I was stoked! My roommate Justin also recieved a call that day hiring him to be an assistant on a CBS pilot complete with office keys and a parking spot on the studio lot (BIG DEAL)!
I arrived on set bright and early tuesday morning to find out Donald Sutherland was the lead in the show. IF you dont know who he is then just go google the name. The cast was rounded out with Kaitlyn Black from the CW show Hart of Dixie, Larry Wilmore from The Daily Show, and Mike Vogel from The Help and PanAm. Needless to say I spent the rest of the week soaking up so much from these guys. Asking questions and listening intently to their advice and stories of being in this industry. Towards the end of the week I came to work to find out I had been given a pay raise and a Taft Hartley. A Taft Hartley basically makes me immediately elligible for the Screen Actors Guild…this is something that usually takes most actors years to get but this production likes me enough to pay the $1000 to make me eligible. What this means is even better pay for every job I do from here on out and more featured roles as well. Also if the pilot is picked up I will have the chance to return and resume my role! WE are hoping FOX will pick it up but we wont know until May if it has been green lit! Fingers Crossed! I have lived in LA for 5 months and done alot of amazing things but to land a spot in a PILOT during my first pilot season and get SAG eligible is WILD!!
On Wednesday I had a conference call with YOBITV and Johnny Wright. We talked for a while then Johnny says he wants to see me succeed in my music career and he proceeded to tell me that I had been selected as one of the 9 artists to be flown out to meet him and be coached and mentored by he and his team for a week and a half. Then given the chance to be signed with his management. NOW if you dont know who Johnny Wright is what ROCK have you been living under. This guy is a SUPER manager! He makes stars!
Over the last 20 years he has been manager to New Kids on The Block, Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys, Nsync, Justin Timberlake, and the Jonas Brothers. To just be mentored by him is an incredible opportunity but to be signed to his management would be monumental for my career! I am going to be a freakin sponge around this guy! HOLY COW! To be the best you have to put yourself around the best and JOHNNY WRIGHT is one of the best in this business! YOBITV creates these MEGA opportunities for aspiring actors and artists like myself. I LOVE YOBI SO MUCH!!!!
If that weren’t enough to make me explode, God saw fit to add a cherry on top! About 3 months ago I was cast to play the love interest in a music video for an up and coming R&B artist Tiffani. We filmed the video and it was alot of fun. Well Friday I received an email from the director stating we had to do some reshoots. The reason was because David Kershenbaum is wanting to have a viewing of the video. Mr Kershenbaum is a super producer over at Captiol Records and has worked with Janet, Duran Duran, Tori Amos, and bunch of others. He even has a star on the Hollywood walk of Fame. So this is a HUGE deal for Tiffani but its really a big deal for all of us involved. So today we will be doing reshoots and I am so excited to see what happens with this and amazed that I even get to be a part of it.
A dam burst in Heaven when I got rid of the negative in my life! I am so humbled and thankful to God for being so kind to me. GEEZ! I couldnt do any of this without Him going before me or placing the kind of friends, fans, family, and supporters I have in my life. I LOVE YOU GUYS!
I just got back from the 43rd NAACP Image Awards and I just feel so ALIVE right now. I went to the awards hoping to be inspired by something or someone. I have just felt really jaded recently as it pertains to humanity and specifically my generation and the one that follows me. I needed to believe that we as people can do monumental history altering things. I needed to be inspired to live a life that counts and not just do things that get me a paycheck. Tonight I was in the presence of great men and women who fought with unwavering strength to blaze trails for me and those like me to live out our dreams uninhibited. And to say I was inspired is an understatement…
I sat in my seat on the 3rd row and at first noone was seated around me but then Kenny Latimore came and sat next to me (if you dont know who he is look him up he is awesome) and while we were talking Tia and Tamara Mowry came and sat down behind us with their husbands and then Loretta Divine, Sandra Oh, James Pickens Jr, and Chandra Wilson sat down to my left. I was already so giddy with the cast of Greys Anatomy and The Mowry twins around me but then Gabourey Sidibe, Jennifer Hudson, Laurence Fishburn, Samuael L Jackson and Wendy Raquel Robinson sit down in front of me. I am literally surrounded by all this incredible actors and they just keep pouring in. I am beyond star struck as they all greet each other and introduce themselves to me (probably because they think I am someone important since I am sitting in the middle of them all). For a moment the room stops as Sidney Portier and Cicely Tyson walk in. I found it so beautiful to see the kind of admiration these actors have for the legends that made it possible for them to live out their passions. I actually teared up (it wouldnt be the last time of the night). Right as the show starts Taye Diggs and his wife squeeze in next to me. I was floating in a sea of stars and that wasnt even the beauty of the night…
One thing I realized tonight was how much my generation has robbed ourselves the richness of our heritage…and I am talking about African Americans. Generally speaking, we know Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks did something important and thats about it. I refuse to believe we as a people know what was done for us because if we really did we wouldnt squander our education, our music and films would be overflowing with the same ripe passion poignancy as those of the past instead of the trite garbage we produce that reeks of “quick buck”. Being constantly reminded of the degradation of my culture I have been saddened and jaded and at a loss of what to do but tonight I watched in tears as the surviving members of the Tuskegee Airmen stood with a huge sense of accomplishment as they were honored for fighting with pride for this country when they were barely seen as human.
I wept as Sidney Portier and Harry Belafonte walked out on stage with such regality as representative of the black men and women who blazed trails and knocked down walls in Hollywood for themselves and those who would come after them by saying we will NOT just play slaves, and maids, and tapdancing servant boys WE are leading men, We are leading women, We are artist with WORTH. They were joined on stage with two more legends the elegant and beautiful Diane Carrol and Cicily Tyson to pay tribute to the Black Stuntmen Association who were fighting for those same rights in Hollywood for stuntmen. When I saw all these men and women I saw lives lived with passion and purpose and courage. I was in the presence of people whose very existence altered history, whether they intended it to or not. That is a powerful thing to take notice of. I think I take forgranted what I have been given and push aside the things that have been given on my behalf. I was reminded tonight, however, that humanity in all our flaws and imperfections can stand for something beautiful. A person can decide to be more than their circumstance. A human heart can choose to be selfless at any given moment and live with the future of others in mind. I can create something that embraces the human condition with love until its better somehow. I can be a proud black man with class and dignity and regality and humility. You can love where you are from but seek to make it better.
I am sorry if this makes absolutely no sense but I just wanted to type something while the experience was right on the surface. I am still processing some things but I am sure you will get another blog about it sometime soon. Until then, Much love!
If you have never had the opportunity to see a Sunset over the ocean, it is one of the most majestic and eerie things I have ever seen. Yesterday for the first time in my life I got to witness a sunset over the ocean. While hanging out in Santa Monica with friends it never crossed my mind that I would see the sun set but as a crowd gathered to watch I was instantly swept into this glorious display that occurs daily. Before I knew it people surrounded me to watch in awe as well.
As the sun went down over the horizon, to the left of me was a kid and his parents. His father lifted him over his head as he said “goodnight sun, see you tomorrow.” To my right was a hispanic family with a kid around the same age as the one on my left. His words were similar “Buenos Noches Sol!”
As the sun went down behind the horizon everyone applauded. I think I shed a tear. For me, it was poetry in motion. Not to be to overly dramatic but it touched my soul.
Ten minutes later I learned that while I was watching the sun set, Whitney Houston died. Suddenly the poetry that I observed moment before took on a whole new meaning. There have not been many celebrity deaths that have personally impacted me. Michael Jackson was one…Whitney Houston is another. Her music, like Michael’s, is the soundtrack to my childhood. She was so iconic to my mother and my aunts which in turn, made her iconic to me. For years she embodied the essence of what a classy black woman is inspiring girls of my generation and the generation before with her music and her grace. Even after years of a turbulent lifestyle, people idolized the Whitney we all knew and loved. Her voice is unmatched to this day and I fear the world may never have a voice like hers again.
However, I think her passing hits me harder from an artist perspective. The music industry just doesn’t have iconic voices anymore. We autotune and make everything into club and dubstep remixes because the industry just wants to make money and the younger generation has NO appreciation for VOCAL POWER! Whats even worse is lyrically these artists are lazy and insincere and flat out stupid. The potency is gone. What happened to the days when an artist could stand on the stage with a mic and just move you to tear with their voice alone. Whitney did that…OFTEN! With the passing of Whitney, Etta James, Michael Jackson, Luther Vandross, and many other iconic voices, what is going to happen to music? Artists quality is digressing for a chance at a quick buck and the quality artists are dying…it sucks that an artist like Adele’s total appeal is that she is QUALITY vocals in an industry filled with Ke$has and Akons.
The sun always sets…but the sun always rises. Who is going to rise up and bring music back to a place of quality iconic musicality and vocality. In the words of Barney Stinson “Challenge Accepted.”