Actors Michael Franklin, Isaac C. Singleton, Jr. and Marques Houston reflect on Black History Month
Up-and-coming actor Michael Franklin has played multiple supporting roles on TV shows such as Truth Be Told, Euphoria and Apple’s new series Lady in The Lake.
Isaac C. Singleton Jr.’s talent and distinctive voice have landed him multiple roles in blockbusters such as Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Planet of the Apes and Transformers: Fall of Cybertron.
And last but not least, Marques Houston, who became known worldwide as the child actor who portrayed the role of Roger in the classic comedy series Sister, Sister, now runs his own film production company, Footage Films.
These three creative talents, who are forging their own unique paths in Hollywood, reflect on what Black History Month means to them. All interviews were conducted via Zoom.
What does Black History Month represent to you personally?
M.F. Black History Month for me is every month because I’m Black [winks]. It’s a time to recognize the people who came before us. Trailblazers such as Hattie McDaniel, Sidney Poitier, Martin Luther King and Malcolm X. These leaders have built and laid the groundwork for me to do what I do. They put me in a better position to be here today, having this conversation with you.
As a young actor, I’m stepping into the game where we have successful shows such as Euphoria, Marvel box office hits like Black Panther 1 & 2 and legends like Eddie Murphy making a big comeback. All these accomplishments opened numerous doors for me. Not to forget the Black Lives Matter movement, which has also created enormous opportunities for many other ethnicities beyond my community. I feel like now everyone’s getting a chance to win a statue, while in the past they wouldn’t. This momentum has really produced chances for me, while also shining a light on diversity.
I.C.S. I love working, I love being on set and bringing an array of characters to life. I’ve worked with so many diverse talented people in our industry. Black History Month is important, although a comedian would tell you, “Oh, they gave us the shortest month of the year,” but we’ll take it [laughs]. African Americans have made a lot of contributions to our country. When you think about pop culture, sports, music, even politics and not to forget: inventions. We would not have peanut butter if it wasn’t for a Black man. Also, if you were to get in a car accident and needed a blood transfusion, that was invented by a Black man. You know, even the streetlight was imagined by a Black person. It’s a well-deserved month. African Americans have contributed a whole lot to our society.
M.H. For me, Black History Month represents growth and any time you represent growth, it’s simply amazing. You see countless successful Black entertainers and entrepreneurs, be it in basketball, football, sports, acting or anywhere and everywhere in entertainment. To appreciate such acceptance and evolution, not only for Black people but for many ethnic cultures, is growth. You know, I’m 41 years old, so I’ve been able to see change, generations after generations. I feel blessed to still be able to continue a career after all this time. I started in the industry when I was 8, and most child actors don’t have longevity. I think my most important role Roger (in Sister, Sister) was a big challenge. There were a lot of dynamics to that character which was really fun for me. So, being able to start a career and to continue to grow and going strong today is a tremendous blessing.