By David Jordan Jr.
There are many routes to success in life. For every successful person, no two streets are alike; one can attribute many factors to forward, progressive movement. Hailing from Indianapolis, Indiana, actor and music producer Dario Lee has achieved tremendous success in his careers in both film/television and music. Driven with a passion for success that stems from GOD given talent, humility and hard work, Lee’s continued path of excellence is an inspiration for everybody to see that how genuinely investing in yourself yields unlimited returns and endless opportunities. Lee recently spoke with ESHE about his career and upcoming projects.
ESHE Magazine: What inspires you daily in your life as an actor?
Dario Lee: Well, when I first moved to Los Angeles my very first role on camera was a principal role for Buick and The NCAA which was a National SAG commercial shown during the College Basketball National championship on all major sports channels (ESPN, CBS Sports, Fox Sports,etc.). I really didn’t have any aspirations or inspiration for acting kinda fell into acting due to being behind the camera, taking direction and seeing the results of the work done which inspired me to begin the journey as an actor.
ESHE Magazine: One of the greatest things about being an actor is the process in which you become a character or characters. From your first time reading a script to you playing the character in front of a camera, describe your process in becoming the person created in writing.
Dario Lee: That’s wild cause I literally finished shooting “The Education of a Negro” where I played cpl. Roman Duckworth jr. ; an army cpl that was murdered by the police for not moving to the back of the bus in Taylorsville Mississippi. Duckworth was mistaken as a freedom rider yet he was on military leave in route to visit his wife who was expecting to give birth to their sixth child. Gathering all that information put me in the same state of mind of where he was at the time and how to play that character out. Imagining being excited, nervous, confused, offended and militant all at one time before eventually being murdered by police is how I understood how to play Cpl. Roman Duckworth jr. or any character I take up, by interpretation.
ESHE Magazine: You have appeared in many different films, videos, commercials, and television shows. Do you prepare for different genres differently or do you have the same approach?
Dario Lee: I prepare the exact same way to every role with prayer and approach the situation differently because you really don’t know what the director could come up with on the spot; he or she may have a creative epiphany on set that may change the whole scene, script or even character so my approach is treaded upon softly to the directors discretion.
ESHE Magazine: What is the best advice you have received in life, which has helped you in your career?
Dario Lee: The best advice I have received in life is that Time Is God. While visiting my grandfather in Akron Ohio, on his deathbed, he had a cross and pocket watch necklace around his neck and I remember him looking at me while rubbing the cross and pocket watch together telling me these two go together. My grandfather was an ex-gang leader in his younger years and preacher towards the end of his life and he was full of wisdom. In my interpretation of him rubbing the watch and cross together, I gather that everything happens in Gods time. When you think about it, it is. The only thing in life that we do not control is time, yet time controls us. I believe God gives me all my abilities and controls all my limbs to act, make music, play basketball or etc… That’s who I count as my agent and source cause in a blink of an eye all of it can end. Time is in control of me, not me in control of it. Do we control a car accident or national disasters? Unexpected things happen that we have no control over that trumps what we may deem as our time yet when I give into time I learn I don’t control it; it controls me. That’s why Time is God has been the best life advice I have ever received.
ESHE Magazine: You have currently begun work on a major new project, “The Education of A Negro.” Talk about this project and what inspired the writers of this film and how important it will be to the world from a historical perspective.
Dario Lee: Wow, this film is something else. The historical figures shown through Americanized television, schools and books have forever been condensed to a few when their so many important stories we have never heard. The fact that this film story focuses on major stories that were swept under rugs is so pivotal. The first day on set I arrived a little early to step in on the filming of the Emmit Till scene and it was so powerful that I had to leave the room. To think of all the stories that are being shown and depicted in this film gives me so much joy and gratefulness to be working with so many genius minded writers, producers, actors, and directors. There will be the story and depictions of silent stories of Emmit Till, Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, Carol Denise McNair, Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner and Cpl. Roman Duckworth Jr. These stories are so important for the community and youth; like I said that are not being taught this. I’m glad that these stories are finally being brought to the big screen February 2019, well overdue.
ESHE Magazine: Describe your outlook on life in three words
Dario Lee: Time is God!