We had the good fortune of connecting with Keith Hamilton Cobb and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Keith Hamilton, why did you pursue a creative career?
“Pursue” is a tricky word. Did I “pursue” an artistic/creative career, or was I just a dreamer who loved to play at things more than I liked to work at them? It’s never really gone the way that I had intended it to go. So perhaps I should have done the “pursuit” thing a little harder. But I’m still living the only life I ever understood how to live. It’s all playtime. Of course, the real world comes crashing in regularly, but it hasn’t changed what I do. Whether I’m acting or writing or banging some boards together to make a piece of furniture, whether I’m doing it well or totally screwing it up, it’s the only time I’m happy. So the question of choice isn’t a real one. I didn’t choose to do what I do. I didn’t choose to be me. It’s just who I am.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’ve always been an actor first and foremost. Or I should say that’s the thing a most always wanted to do above and beyond anything else. If you want to know about “my art,” well that’s a big part of it, but that being true has never equated to what you might call “main stream success.” If I’m proud of anything, I’m proud of walking that creative path of mine with passion and integrity irrespective of how it has or hasn’t been embraced by the world at large. How did I get to where I am today, professionally? I don’t really know where that is. It certainly can’t be measured by the standards that I think we’re trying to apply here. I’m not wealthy, and not really very famous. I’m making art. I wrote an award-winning play called American Moor that ran off-Broadway in 2019, and is the subject of much academic study. I’m excited about that. I’m working as a director on a project interrogating one of William Shakespeare’s most challenging plays, Othello, with a group of actors in a process that is attempting to redesign how we make theater in American, and I’m excited about that too. It’s not the sort of shiny stuff that celebrity is built on. Has it been easy? No. Not at all. And we could argue that I have not overcome the challenges, but that often they have overcome me. But isn’t that the warrior’s journey? The lesson seems to be the same again and again: There is nothing to do but to do. Just continue to be who you are and trust that it is precisely who you are supposed to be. There is purpose in it.
I’d like the world to know that I have always been right here…
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
It’s not a “who” that deserves the credit, but a “what…” I have to shout out to BELIEF. I think that my most constant support along my road has come from believers. I don’t have a lot of them. I don’t make friends easily. So those who have shown up in my life and remained have genuinely wanted to be here. And to be someone’s true friend, I think you have to believe in them. It has been the trust and comfort offered by those who truly BELIEVE in my worth and purpose that has made manifest any “success” that I’ve ever enjoyed.
Chris Lang Donna Davis Nina Wurtzel