We had the good fortune of connecting with Clinton Roane and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Clinton, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
I pursued an artistic/creative career because it has always felt like the best place to truly use my voice. Growing up, the arts were always a safe space for me and where I truly felt like I could be myself. It lifted me up in times I needed light and inspired me in moments where I wanted to give up. Now, as a creator, I hope my work will inspire young Black boys like myself to shoot for their dreams.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
After attending Howard University, I was blessed to make my Broadway debut in “The Scottsboro Boys”. After performing in theatre for over 10 years, I knew there were more stories that I wanted to create/tell. I had been writing scripts for a while, but kept that part of my artistic being to myself. Then one day, I decided to take a leap of faith and move from New York City to Los Angeles. Within my first year here, I re-worked a pilot I had written into a short film titled “Love Therapy” along with friend/collaborator Lauren E. Banks. I felt like I was gaining some really good momentum…then the pandemic hit. I felt like I had moved to L.A., was making small but amazing strides, then everything came to a screeching halt. My career has never been easy and I’ve always had to fight tooth and nail for everything I’ve accomplished, but you can’t really fight a pandemic. However, instead of letting it get me down, I decided to create more. I was able to truly refine the type of stories I wanted to tell and in doing so, I was able to learn more about myself. I learned that I have much more power than I thought. I learned that my words have the ability to touch people and inspire them. And in learning this, I discovered that I can’t worry about what the industry or “gatekeepers” want. I can only stay true to me, my vision and making art that speaks to my people.
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?
Well, I was only able to enjoy Los Angeles for a year before the pandemic hit, so I can’t say I know of too many places. However, I’d take them to Runyon Canyon for a good hike. Then we’d maybe hit lunch at Real Food Daily (which is definitely a favorite of mine). After that, we’d probably go to a friend’s place for a fun dinner/game night.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are SO many people I am thankful for. When they say it “takes a village”, that’s truly the case when it comes to my journey. I have to thank my family for always being in my corner. My best friend Gabrielle Jackson for showing me what true love/friendship looks like. Robin S. Walker for being the definition of chosen family that will love you no matter what. Isaac Robinson-Smith for being the best brother a guy could ask for. Reggie D. White for holding my hand, but also giving me the honest truth when I need it. Symone Crews for being a ride or die to the fullest extent. Stephanie Koenig for always believing in me, my art and my potential. Chantal Nchako for being my heart since our HU days. Telmyr McCoy for being my bestie since birth. Ashley Blaine Featherson, Corene Johnson, Talibah Atiya. Lulu Fall. Courtney Daniels. Jude Tibeau. JC Montgomery. Norm Lewis. Riki Lindhome. Zakiya Young. Rodney Hicks. BB Arrington. Lauren E. Banks. Jasmine Ashanti. Chaz Hodges. Lael Van Keuren. Erica Spyres. Jacob Fishel. There are SOOO many more to mention, but then this would be a novel. I’m extremely grateful to everyone who’s been there along this journey. Thank you.
1. The Emma Experience 2. Stephanie Koenig 3 & 4. Jim Carmody