We had the good fortune of connecting with Cheray O’Neal and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Cheray, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
The most important factor behind my success is to walk in courageous risk taking. I was able to produce a philantropic performance event collaborating with the American Cancer Society and a wig company to raise awareness around breast cancer and be of service, all the while fulfilling my creative mission in telling stories raw in spirit and content. My sole goal in my writing / performing/producing endeavors involve breaking generational trauma and finding your own voice in this maze we call life. I take full responsibility for my own happiness and make it a mission to ride the ebbs of flows of life knowing I will get to the other side. What we may perceive as failure, I see as a blessing and am grteful for the lessons it teaches along the way. Success is getting back up and trying again with full conviction to live out your purpose one moment at a time. I find the arts the greatest platform to give voice to the voiceless and the most powerful way in inciting change. A single person’s human revolution can change the destiny of all humankind, we are that powerful. From my two time NAACP nominated play ‘Journey this’ to the award winning short film ‘Weep not’, the truth telling in both those stories, the resilience of the human spirit, the sanctity of life, bridging the gap between generations and carrying on their legacy, sitting in your power, that is SUCCESS to me. We are truly the cause and the effect of our joy and our pain, so why not choose to live creating value for yourself and others and being apart of a greater mission in realizing the peace of this world. . Do what you love and what you love sustains you.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’m a glass half full, passionate, nature loving, house music dancing, bohemian chic zen like kinda woman. I love sunsets and traveling the world. I care deeply about the youth, senior citizens, being of service, speaking your truth and doing what you love with integrity. I manifest those things in my craft of acting, writing and producing. I’m a long time company member of the LAByrinth Theater Company of NYC and I’ve published two poetry books. I prefer gems over diamonds and would pay a taxi driver $200 to drive me around their country. I was raised by a family of artist more specifically my mother Patti O’Neal(modern dancer) and grandmother Rubie Johnson (Jazz singer) both strong, willful, courageous women who used their passions to be of service and make their footprint in this world, it was a natural progression for me to invest in acting. I also witnessed first hand the impact performing, and writing had on audiences and quickly realized this is a medium that can really influence on a massive scale. For me there is no separation between how I live my life and my creative passions, they are one in the same. I believe in creating platforms for others including myself to speak truth to power. I’m very passionate about self-expression and expanding my heart and courage. Art is a form of healing for me, so really I had no other choice. I’m most proud of performing and producing a philanthropic theatrical event that raised awareness, funds and wigs for women battling cancer. Through performing my two time NAACP theater nominated play, ‘Journey this’ we were able to gift 269 women with wigs. It was outstanding, It mean’t even more to me as my mother lost her battle to breast cancer. I’m equally proud to have grabbed a snap shot of the play ‘Journey this’ and co produce, act and co write along with director Lenore Thomas Douglas the award winning short film ‘Weep not’ that addresses the power of forgiveness and the sanctatiy of life. There will always be obstacles and challenges along the way, yet it’s vital to keep moving forward with a tribe of like minded individuals who contribute to the greater good of the whole. The greatest lessons I learned were to trust the tribe youv’e asembled to exercise their unique gifts. You will get to the other side with determination, collaboration and honest communication. Fighting self doubt demons and financing the production was a great lesson to experience during the journey. I fought for every dollar made. YOU CAN’T DO THIS ALONE and you are not alone. You may never get what you wanted in the fashion you desired yet you will always get what you need on time and that is what counts. I want people who witness my work in the theater or on film to walk away inspired to be and do better, be kinder to themselves. and know their destiny lies intheir own hands. I want people to value the preciousness of time and to know we have a say in our destiny. We are not the sums of our tragedies and just taking one step towards the light will create a whole new world for you if you take that step. Every individual person can be a part of something, there’s no size to what your impact can make. I believe the vulnerability in my work gives people permission to tell their own truth, share it and ultimately heal. Do what you love. Know that every little footprint you make contributes to a ripple and that ripple contributes to the world. UP NEXT: I will be making my directorial debut with a four part mini film series I also wrote and am producing called “Breathe”. It’s a commentary on the recent murders of people of color by the police and the impact stains its left on our youth and society as a whole.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Best time ever always includes Ice cream at Mashti Malones, lunch at Lukshon in culver city, a full Goddess body massage at The Korean Day Spa , a visit to Leo Carillo State beach and closing the evening with cuban influenced La Descarga dancing, great people and vibe surrounded by a delicious full bar.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I have to recognize my grandmother Rubie Johnson who taught me grace and kindness oils the most rusty of things, especially when dealing with your self. You have to polish yourself daily and make daily determinations to keep moving forward. My mother Patti O’Neal for her courage and strong sense of self. I’d also shoutout my creative Queen comrades Ntosake Shange, author, creative force in her own right, and Maya Angelou a memoirist of raw story telling. My siblings who I love dearly. I also acknowledge my humanistic spiritual philosophy which I practice daily. Nichiren Diashonin Mayahana Buddhism reminds me of everyone’s including mine own’s unlimited potential in becoming a person of strong character, determined to be the ripple in the ocean of life. Everything we say, do and be has an effect, and that effect reaches far and wide.

Website: www.cherayoneal.com
Instagram: cherayoneal
Linkedin: cherayoneal
Twitter: cheray oneal
Facebook: cheray oneal
Youtube: cheray oneal
Other: IG weepnotfilm and journeythisevent

Image Credits
1. Andrew Douglas 2. Andrew Douglas IT ONLY ALLOWED FOR ME TO UPLOAD TWO PICTURES

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