On Wednesday, October 12, actor, author and soon to be director, Delroy Lindo spoke to students from the Success Center at Independence High School. When our very own Tracy Green told Mr. Lindo about the work we do at Success Center SF he was eager to help in any way he could. Tracy asked if he could speak to some of the youth and offer them some advice and words of wisdom. He was happy to oblige.
He spoke about his childhood, his discovery of acting as a profession and about being a dad. At the early age of 5 he knew he wanted to be an actor. His passion for his work was evident as he described his career journey. He sought out the best schools that taught acting. He applied to the American Conservatory Theatre in Chicago and was accepted and studied there from 1977-79. He worked in New York’s Public Theatre for 10 years and in 1988, Mr. Lindo earned a Tony nomination for his portrayal of Harold Loomis in Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, a play written by August Wilson.
Director Spike Lee discovered Mr. Lindo while he was working at the Public Theatre and asked him to read for a role in Do the Right Thing. Mr. Lindo read the part and turned it down, saying he didn’t think it was right for him. Imagine, turning down a role in one of Spike Lee’s movies?! That takes confidence! Years later the director approached him again with another role which Mr. Lindo accepted. He eventually starred in three of Spike Lee’s movies, Malcolm X, Crooklyn and Clockers. He said he really got discovered by Hollywood when he appeared in Get Shorty.
Mr. Lindo told his young audience that they must finish their formal education first and foremost. And if they wished to pursue a career in acting they would have to have a thick skin and get used to rejection. He encouraged anyone who wants to be an actor or director to write their own material. He also told us all to practice, study and learn as much as we can in our chosen fields. And if there were anything else we were passionate about to pursue that instead of acting. It’s a tough profession and few really succeed, even if they’re extremely talented.
When asked by one of the members of the audience what advice he had given his teen age son about being a Black male in America, Mr. Lindo replied, “I tell him that I love him every day. I also tell him to pull up his pants, comport himself well, walk tall and be respectful and follow instructions. Don’t be confrontational. The important thing is to get out alive! We can straighten out the details later, not in the heat of the moment.” He also said that it’s OK to talk slang but be able to speak normally as well.
Mr. Lindo is currently writing a screenplay called Hide and Seek about his life and plans to direct the movie.
Valerie Camarda from Marketing Sense has worked with the Success Center SF for the last 17 years and serves as the organization’s marketing and PR consultant.