#Teatrolatinegro is invested in introducing you to Afro-diasporic artists who are out there doing the work. I came across actor Delpaneaux Wills (pronounced Del-pawn-o) on twitter and I quickly became interested in his work. Not only is he talented, but he has been on the critically acclaimed show Criminal Minds! Wills is both inspirational and transparent about his experiences navigating show business. Here are six things that you can learn from this amazing actor.
You should embrace your identities.
When we talk about about the diaspora, we usually talk about two communities steaming from the same tree. Wills embodies diaspora in his blood. He is both Afro-Cuban and Sierra Leonean. Raised on the continent with his mother’s side of the family, he did not learn of his Afro-Cuban side until about 7 years ago. Wills recognizes that learning about his various identities is a never-ending process, and he is proud of both of his cultures. Whatever you decide to pursue in life, be proud of your culture because it makes you unique.
You can find your passion later in life.
When Wills returned to the United States from Sierra Leone, his passions were football, medicine and theatre. In college at San Diego State and Whittier College, he played wide receiver and studied to become a doctor. He later realized that he passionate about acting and has been going after it wholeheartedly ever since. Just because you start out in one occupation or career doesn’t mean that you can’t change your course later in life.
You can be a role model for your generation.
If Wills looks familiar, it may be because you’ve see in him on Lifetime. In 2009, the thespian portrayed Seneca Keflezi, an African track star in the original film Chasing a Dream. The movie was an inspiring story of an athlete pursuing his dreams and honoring the memory of his late friend. While we are bombarded with shows that portray Black and Brown people in harmful stereotypes, it’s great to see us triumph.
If you keep working hard in your dream, you will be in great company.
Wills has worked with on shows like Criminal Minds and How to Get Away with Murder. He has shared the spotlight with the likes of Shemar Moore and Aja Naomi King! It also goes to show that if you keep working, you will eventually get to the point where you are in the company of the greats. Because you are great.
You can change the world.
Since moving to Los Angeles, Wills has become an active presence in theater, television, and film. He uses his films to portray people of color in positive ways that counteract the dominant negative narrative. Wills has played track stars, detective and business men. Seeing a person of color in those roles gives people hope to fulfill their own dreams. And hope is what we need right now.
Follow Delpaneaux Wills and his work:
His Demo Reel