We had the good fortune of connecting with Malachi Rivers and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Malachi, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
“I am so hip even my errors are correct” My spirit lit up with possibilities. I didn’t fully understand the capacity of that brilliant poem by Nikki Giovanni at the time, but I knew the feeling it evoked in my soul by seeing “Kimberly Reese” played by Charnelle Brown recite those words. I knew that I wanted to take words and make them come to life. I knew that I wanted to heal through performance. I knew that I wanted to heal myself through transformation. I knew that I simply wanted to become! This was the start of my journey as an actor. The lights, the cameras, and the deliverance.
As I rewound the tape over and over again yes, I am seasoned (inserts laugh), I found myself enamored by every moment of that performance. The way she held her hand. The way she smirked at the onlookers. The way she unapologetically stood in her glory and demanded respect. Her diction, her enunciation, her articulation. This moment was everything for me. So, I begin to study. Not the kind of study where I go to a person and train but, the kind of study that involved mimicking and watching a vessel on an electric box. Yes, “Kimberly Reese” was my first acting coach, and my parents did not have to pay her a dime.
Later, I would go on to a performing arts high school, where my teachers would emphatically praise my bass voice. I wasn’t sold on it! I was a teenager sounding, like a grown ass man. Insecurities plagued me, what can I say. It wasn’t until I was told that I was going to be a young James Earl Jones, that I started becoming curious about this particular Earl. We have the same middle name, so I made it my mission to delve into this man’s work. Who was I going to become? I wanted his guidance. I had daddy issues what can I say. So, his image and personification immediately thrusted into my mind as to where my journey was to lead. Yes, I knew Coming to America, The Lion King, and Star Wars as movies but I became more curious about my “grandfather’s” previous works. Moreover, when I watched Claudine and The Great White Hope, I fell in admiration for his presence. However, when I saw his soul-stirring performance as “Troy Maxson” in Fences my world shifted. Once, again I was back to the diction, the delivery, the presence, the command of the character that I saw when I watched “Kimberly Reese” on that stage at Hillman College. I wanted that presence.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I have been fortunate to have traveled the world as an actor, spoken word poet, and rap artist. I have always been a multi-talented individual who understands the power of entertaining, encouraging, healing, informing, and inspiring through the arts.
I can currently be seen in the Oscar nominated film Mank on Netflix directed by David Fincher in the role of “Mr. Butler”
I am the Executive Producer, lead male actor, and music-supervisor of the award-winning digital series Poz Roz on YouTube. I won a 2020 Indie Series award for my work on that.
I think the thing that sets me apart from others is the thing that actually connects us all, my humanity. We all are in this human experience together and yet our experiences are so unique to us. I’ve learned early just be yourself, do the work and the rest will follow.
I have had a lot of battles and it was some rough moments that were not easy. Life isn’t easy but it can beautiful if you allow it to be and move out your own way sometimes. I am a big advocate of therapy and learning to be real with yourself. Wherever you run there you will be.
Lessons I’ve learned are that money, success, friends, associates will come and go. However, make sure you like the person you are looking in the mirror at everyday.
I’ve been grinding in the arts for a long time but I feel as though I am just getting started and excited about the future.
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?
It’s nothing like cruising the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH). Everybody visiting seem to really enjoy that ride along the coast. Los Angeles has so many great moments that it would be hard to choose.
However, I would say one of my new favorite chill restaurants is Nueva in Venice. It use to be Sunny Spot they made the place bigger and went to a Mexican style menu. The margaritas and tacos are great! Also, Hotel Figueroa in downtown. The ambiance is great from the restaurant bar vibe to lounging by the poolside.
I love Kenneth Hahn Park for a nice beautiful walk. Also, there is a dope Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial that overlooks the city at the top of the park. Also, a gorgeous pond with geese at the bottom.
Also, I worked really hard on my backyard. So it has definitely become a sanctuary for my family, friends, and myself.
Go down to San Pedro and the harbor its beautiful. See the Korean Bell and get some good seafood.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I was always the black sheep in my family. The one who had a passion for performing! Although, I did not come from a family of artists my mom allowed me to live in my truth. Even though she did not understand my journey she supported it.
Perhaps, another groundbreaking moment for me in my life was Sister Act 2. It was such a pivotal moment for me in my life. Whoopi Goldberg is my favorite actor of all time. So, I have always been enamored with her as an artist and person. Sister Act 2 really made me realize that a career in the arts was a possibility.
It’s so many people from family to friends that inspire me on a daily basis. So, much love to all of them!