(AllHipHop Features) Jamie Hector entertained audiences for three seasons on HBO's seminal crime drama The Wire. The 37-year-old seasoned actor has parlayed the success of playing Marlo Stanfield into a successful acting career that includes Noel Calloway's tragedy-to-triumph tale Life, Love, Soul about the effects of absentee fathers in the African American community.
The New York City based drama also stars Chad Coleman (The Wire), Terri J. Vaughn (The Steve Harvey Show), Tami Roman (Basketball Wives), Valerie Simpson (Ashford and Simpson), radio personality Egypt Sherrod, model Mia Michelle, and newcomer Robbie Tate-Brickle.
Jamie Hector's extensive work does not stop with Life, Love, Soul. The Brooklyn native has numerous other projects on the horizon as well. AllHipHop spoke with the artist about his work on Life, Love, Soul, The Wire, and his upcoming film and television roles. Hector also shares his thoughts on hard work, Pusha T's My Name Is My Name, and which Hip Hop artists stay on his radar.
AllHipHop: How did you get involved with the movie Life, Love, Soul?
Jamie Hector: I met Noel at screening of another project, and he told me about the script. I enjoyed it and said I wanted to be a part of it.
What attracted you to the role of Mr. Roundtree?
That’s probably one of the closet parts to my life. I’ve been mentoring for a long time and having the opportunity to express it on film has been a passion of mine, so when I read the script I was like it’s a go. I really enjoyed how Mr. Roundtree took it a few steps further and really went out of his way to get those kids involved in college, went to visit their parents, and stayed after school or before school. I really enjoyed that process.
What do you think is the ultimate message the movie is trying to convey?
Hope. Never give up, no matter what the obstacles or struggles may be. Everything will be a challenge and everything worth getting is worth fighting for. I think that will be the ultimate message of the storyline, that you don’t have to give up. Even if you have newborn baby. Even if your circumstance seems like it’s over. It’s not. As long as you have breath in your lungs you can fight the fight and get it.
You mentioned before about your work in mentoring. What inspired you to start the Moving Mountains Theatre company?
I was involved in the community and mentoring way before I was working on The Wire. This is when I was on stage doing plays. I was a part of a theater company called Tomorrow’s Future Theater Company that changed my life, so it was a response to what affected me when I was a kid. I see that was pivotal - the arts in the community. Without that, there is no telling what direction I would have taken, so I decided to start Moving Mountains Theatre Company.
You’re probably best well-known for playing Marlo Stanfield on The Wire. During the show’s the last season Marlo tries to go straight, but the last time we see him he’s back on the street confronting two corner boys. How do you envision Marlo’s life would have turned out if the show had been able to continue?
He seemed like a very smart guy, so hopefully he would have taken a different path and decided, before he went to prison, to put his finances in a different area. To answer your question specifically, I don’t know. That’s for the audience to tell me. That’s a journey in itself. That’s a conversation to have.
A lot of the stars from The Wire have gone on to very successful careers which is not always the case when you have such a large ensemble cast. Why do you think so many of The Wire alum have managed to become so productive in the industry?
Hard work and I guess respect for the show also. Everything is just not giving to you. The Wire being what it was and doing what it has done and being a part of such an extraordinary show has opened doors, and people recognize [that]. But it’s still hard work. When I say hard work I mean nurturing a character, just loving the work, and being passionate about the work. Whether it’s on stage, on film, or television go hard. I read a tweet from Kevin Hart the other day, and he said, "I’m going hard yo, I’m going hard." He was on the set of his new film. That’s the name of the game - no rest. Hard work and dedication.
What was your reaction when you found out Pusha T was naming his album “My Name Is My Name” after a quote from your [Marlo] character?
I respect Push T. I dig what he’s doing. Him and his brother. I actually gotta reach out to Pusha cause he’s a real dude. I was honored. You got to be. It’s a quote from the show, “my name is my name.” That stands for so much. It’s powerful in itself. IBM, that’s their name. Apple, that’s their name. Pusha T, that’s his name. You can’t let anybody taint your name or throw your name in the dust. You just got to respect that. My name is my name, and don’t try and disrespect my name in any way. Also, I respect the fact that he respects the show.
You were raised in Brooklyn. What’s your opinion of the new generation of rising emcees from the borough like Joey Bada$$ and Mr. MFN Exquire?
They’re coming through. There’s some good water in Brooklyn, if you just see the guys that came from Brooklyn, and the guys that are going to come from Brooklyn also. We’re drinking that quality water. It’s one of those things where again, an art form, there’s no getting past the fact that you are going to have to work hard even if you are coming from Brooklyn. Now you have a couple of dudes out of Brooklyn going hard with it, and they’re just going to have to go even harder. There’s no ifs, ands, or buts about it. No matter how good you are, it’s just not going to fall in your lap like that. So how I feel for them? I respect what they’re doing. I respect the game to go hard, but go even harder than that. We’re global now.
You’re appearing in the upcoming movie The Magic City. Can you describe your role in that film?
I really had a good time on that project. We shot it in Miami. It’s directed by Malcolm Jones [and stars] Keith David and Jenifer Lewis. The reason why I appreciated the character is because I worked on a play in Germany called Ajax. Ajax was a solider suffering from PTSD, post traumatic stress disorder, and he wasn't alone. This character in The Magic City was another character, the brother of Jenifer Lewis, back in his home and suffering from the disease post traumatic stress disorder. It shows how he copes with that and the obstacles that come along with that. So the film shows how he can be in such a dark place and still be an angel to somebody else.
What Hip Hop artists are you listening to now?
J. Cole. The young boy Kendrick Lamar. He’s really trying to make the heat. He’s really trying to make the boys get back in the room and put their pen to work. Also, I never stopped listening to the boys of that culture that kind of shaped me. I always wish Rakim was still making music, but definitely Jay and Nas. They will definitely stay the test of time. They are still putting out those good albums. Meek Mill. The kid he’s got a mean flow. His flow is ridiculous. I really dig it. Of course Pusha. Drake. I coped his first album, and I really respect what he’s doing on the remixes also. All these cats that are coming up in the game and their ability to keep up with the rest of them. Kanye. I’m listening to these guys right now, making sure that they stay on deck.
You’ve got Life, Love, Soul out now. You have The Magic City hitting festivals. What’s next?
Life, Love, Soul is On Demand and in Walmart. I just finished on a pilot called Quarry about a vet just coming home from Vietnam trying to reestablish myself in my hometown in Mississippi in ‘73 when America hated me and my boy, a Vietnam vet. Things turn up, because all they taught him how to do is kill and then we come back and we can’t get work. And then a couple of other projects, but primarily right now I’m really focused on The Magic City and Life, Live, Soul. I’m working with Diggy Simmons and Teyana Taylor on a show for BET called The Start Up. They’re doing their thing too. I like what they’re doing. It’s like a new Entourage, and I play the C.E.O. of a magazine company. That was a good look. I had a real good time with them down in Atlanta. [The pilot was] directed by Mara Brock Akil, the same one that created The Game and Girlfriends. When BET sets it straight and puts it on the air, I can’t wait to see it.
Do you have an idea when that will start airing?
We do the work, and we let it go. I’m big on that. The powers that be decide when it’s going to come out.
Anything else you want to add?
Check me out on Twitter at @JamieHector, and also come check out The Magic City screening at the Riverside Church on the 17th as well as the Urbanworld Film Festival on the 21st. Come check it out and let me know what you think afterwards on Twitter.
Watch the trailers for Life, Love, Soul and The Magic City below.