Stereotypes do exist, but we have to walk through them.
There's a thing you confront when you're going into something new and you come to this sort of abyss, and then you push yourself. It makes you try different things.
In high school, I did some musicals, but I never took acting until college. I was studying opera, classical voice, and a speech teacher asked me to audition for this play, and I got the lead.
It rests in the hands of the common person as well as those with the power to shape humanity's course toward a world where every child, woman and man's most basic needs are met.
I was a curious child. I'd debate with anyone who came to the door -- people from the Islamic community... Jehovah's Witnesses... anyone.
When children and youth are deprived of their right to education, their community is deprived of a sustainable future. It is all the more true with refugees.
I go back and forth between indie and studio because I feel like it, not because I feel obligated to do one or the other.
It's a unique experience when you're doing an independent film where you have one person who puts up all the funds to make the film.
If there is inequality, and that equates with colour, then I'm going to deal with it.
I always stand up for what I believe and what I want to.
Filming in Africa touched something really deep inside of me, really. It changed my matrix, my insides. My blood even feels kinda different. I don't know how to describe it. It's really kind of Eucharistic. I feel like I ate the place and now it's part of my system, part of my being. I'm not claiming that now I know what it's like to be African, but that now I have a deeper understanding of myself.
I think that cinema and the arts are central in our lives because we grow up and learn about the world through our exposure to stories. Parents use them as a tool to teach their children fundamental truths and values, much as adults can view them to gain exposure to cultures and individuals that they'd never be able to view in their own lives.
As human beings, we all have reasons for our behavior. There may be people who have certain physiological issues that dictate why they make certain choices. On the whole, though, I think we're dictated by our structure, our past, our environment, our culture. So once you understand the patterns that shape a person, how can you not find sympathy?
I was in middle school right around the time the Bloods and the Crips started taking root in Compton and a lot of the other neighborhoods around me. I saw way too many of my peers -- smart, kind, good kids -- who got drawn into gangs and violence, and their futures were going to be forever scarred by that.
On the whole, I now see my work as being an expression of my spiritual life and, because I look at it that way, I have a different centre. I go through the stress and pressure, but I think I'm lucky because I come from a different source point.
I've been fortunate, I guess: I've gotten to play a lot of very diverse roles for quite a long time. But in the beginning, I was thinking, 'I'm not gonna do certain characters. I will be willing to say no and live on a couch.' And I was really happy.
I think 'The Color of Money' was very instrumental in opening up other opportunities. People started to recognize me as an artist after that film. And then, after I did 'Bird,' it was more solidified.
I'd spend every summer in Longview on my grandfather's farm. It was a tiny little town divided by a river, which was the segregation line: that side white, this side black. And meanwhile, I lived in Compton -- basically, another whole world sealed into 10 square blocks. It's interesting how insular an environment can be.
I've been trying to understand conflict and violence ever since I was a kid. You know. There were a few things that happened even on my block -- the Black Panthers used to be right around the corner from where we were.
I can play a man who's despicable. But I'll still look inside him to find a point of connection. If I can find that kernel, audiences will relate to me.