Humble and humor are the qualities that a “black-ish” star uses to reel his audience in, while telling his story and rolling out his career to listeners. Actor Anthony Anderson has a down- to- earth demeanor that speaks to turning his mother’s ambitions into his reality. Anderson shared his story recently at Saint Sabina Church, as part of the African American Speaking Series in Chicago, IL.
“It is my responsibility to share my gift with the world,” said Anderson. “It all started with a dream. I don’t go to work–I go to play, he said.
Anderson, 49, who is a man of many talents, said that it was his mother’s dream to be an actress, but instead she found herself 17 years-old and a single parent. “She put her life on hold for me,” he explained. “Black women are the strongest women on this earth. It is my responsibility to love, honor and uphold the Black woman.” he said.
Today his mother is the co-host of the television show, “To Tell the Truth.” It was Anderson’s way of fulfilling her dreams. Her name is Doris Bowman and she is the score keeper on the show.
Some of Anderson’s relatives live in Chicago, as he referred to spending time in the local housing projects and not having time to see an aunt, who was living a few blocks down from the church. He credits them and the family experiences with keeping him grounded, as he has never forgotten where he has come from.
Anderson attended Hollywood High School and won the NAACP’s ACT-SO award for performing a monologue from “The Great White Hope.” That honor lead to him attending Howard University on a full scholarship. He would later drop out for lack of money, as he had three brothers and sisters at home, who also needed to be supported.
Referring to Howard, Anderson said it was a “beautiful” experience. He attended college classes with P. Diddy, actress Wendy Davis, actor Carl Anthony Payne and many others. “We were up there, in that struggle and we figured it out,” he said about life.
In 2022, Anderson will graduate from Howard University with his son. Anderson said black-ish was based off of his child’s experiences, as an upper class child, who does not have a “hood” background. His son was having difficulty understanding his peer’s culture and vice versa. So while trying to sell the show to the Hollywood producers, he had a scrapbook and artifacts from his son’s life, so they could understand the cultural dilemma his son lived in.
Anderson ended by proclaiming encouraging words to the Black youth who were present for his evening. As the boys entered the sanctuary, they sat before him as he invoked some history.”You are feared because you are great. You are feared because you are the father of civilization. You are a king,” he said.
“Be respectful, love yourself…Be royal, Be kings men and Be intelligent.”