*Without a doubt, the murder of Trayvon Martin and acquittal of its perpetrator, George Zimmerman, continues to rock the African American infrastructure to its core.
EURweb’s Lee Bailey caught up with actor and producer Omari Hardwick, who demonstrated his own rage by taking action in a way that we are all encouraged to do in times of great pain (channel the anger in a value-creating way) and the response has been nothing short of remarkable.
At the moment he is in the midst of a power outage in the Cayman Islands; where he took a short vacay following his work on “LITTLE BLACK BOY WONDER: A Dedication to Trayvon Martin.”
In this exclusive two-part interview, we hear how extraordinarily humble this hardworking actor truly is. How deeply touched he was … is … about the death of this 17-year old young man, and subsequently, the verdict given to Zimmerman, the man who triggered the fatal shot that ended Trayvon’s young life.
A poet by nature, Hardwick’s words penetrate deeply as he speaks of the emotion he felt when he first heard the finished product.
Lee Bailey: Well, congratulations on that PSA. From what I can see, you obviously put in some serious work to make that happen. I can truly say you’ve got a masterpiece here in a number of ways. What were your thoughts when you saw the finished product vs. when you had the idea? I mean, from my perspective it’s incredible. Your thoughts?
Omari Hardwick: That’s really, really cool of you to say first of all; and that was my thought when I saw it as well. I saw it here (The Cayman Islands). In such a relaxed setting, and away from the hustle and bustle of L.A. where it was done and of course just to be able to sit here in my own solitude and really take it in, it was an extremely emotional experience for me man. I cried, and the tears kept rolling, and then they turned into tears of joy and I immediately, just immediately went to Sabrina and Tracy (Martin) and Trayvon’s…brother, and the family and immediately felt just a kindred connection to them in hopes that my response and your response will be the same as their response once they saw it.
LB: So are you saying you haven’t heard from Sabrina and Tracey?
OH: I have, and this is what’s really ironic. About a year ago I was at the NAACP Image Awards and ironically I was…connected to the poet side of myself…“Verses and Flow” was nominated and I was the host and I’m still the host of that show on TV One and so for me it was an interesting introduction to them because I had already committed and dedicated the year to the memory of Trayvon. I put it all over Twitter and let the world know, let my fans know – which always feels weird to me to say fans; that you even have fans is crazy, besides your family, but I let all of those people know, that found what I’m doing interesting, and I let them know that I’m dedicating every other part of my work for the remainder of this year to him.
And of course when you go to the Image Awards you never know who you are going to meet so…she [Sabrina] approached me and said, ‘you know, one of Trayvon’s favorite movies, if not his favorite is “Gridiron Gang.”’ She got so excited to meet this character who of course again is not necessarily a hero of the movie…but it struck a chord…as it still does with so many young men in general, but specifically Brown and Black men; and so I then told her very quietly, I whispered to her, I think with Tracy nearby, I said, you know, I dedicated this entire year to him. And so we were connected at that point and [I] reached out to her a week ago and …I said, ‘This will soon be coming you guys way’ but I didn’t want to send it to them until it was perfectly polished and out to the other media outlets like [EURweb] …They are as equally proud as you, so that makes me proud.
LB: Great. The inspiration came because of the acquittal or had you been thinking about it before?
OH: How it came was…we’re in this incredible group that was started by two beautiful women, Adrienne Alexander and Tamara Houston, and they have coined this group of a collective of men, Icon Mann and about three months ago, when I finished my work on “Being Mary Jane” and returned to L.A. from Atlanta – which is my hometown…upon returning just for a weekend, I returned for that specific introduction of this collective, Icon Mann; Went to a dinner, it was an Oscar dinner, they introduced…the first invites to the group, which I was one of…and then the next thing we had – which was just a week ago, and a conversation, quote unquote, with Blair Underwood.
David Oweloyo and Blair basically hosted the luncheon and all of us again were invited; some new faces this time, but still Icon Mann…And the next morning, of course, they responded in their ill feelings about all of us going from a luncheon on top of the world, feeling incredible about this and just supporting each other, and feeling a level of self esteem that oftentimes maybe we under rate…and then we go home and all of that just drops when you find out that this kid’s life was made kind of flippant in terms of the decision.
Omari says, at this point, the women emailed their feelings and he responded in the form of a poem (as opposed to saying ‘yeah, ain’t this crazy that this happened.’) That poem, “Little Boy Wonder,” beautifully expressed by a bevy of high profile black actors, in all its glory, is what we see and hear in the PSA.
Take a look at “LITTLE BLACK BOY WONDER: A Dedication to Trayvon Martin” and stay tuned for Part II of this illuminating interview with Omari on Monday.