So FN Dope Magazine Issue 9

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PHOTO BY: Omar “YXCVLI” Zapien STYLED BY: Mr. Highclass and Designer Telley

PHOTO BY: Christopher





hat’s good! Thank you for your interest in So FN Dope Magazine. We are a brand new magazine based on the West Coast looking to make an impact in the entertainment industry by highlighting music, performance, and the entrepreneurial spirit of independent artists, all across the country. Our staff constantly spends countless hours scouring for dope content to feature including, but not limited to, new music, music videos, artwork, interviews, comedy, models, live performances, photographers and bloggers. In other words, we are always looking for new content for our digital magazine as well as our website. It is going to take dope independent artists like you to help build our brand, but it will also take magazines like us to give indie artists a platform to be heard. We would love to feature your music, videos, mix-tapes, photography, artwork, as well as set up interview arrangements for future issues of So FN Dope Magazine. Let’s work together and leave our mark on the industry to show the world why we are So FN Dope!

DISCLAIMER: Here at So FN Dope Magazine, we have done our best to provide content that is up to date and correct. However, changes may have occurred since the content was submitted that may affect the accuracy of this issue for which So FN Dope Magazine holds no responsibility. The views and opinions of our contributors are not necessarily shared with So Fn Dope Magazine or its staff nor are we liable for their views and opinions or how they may be interpreted.


FOUNDERS / Editors in Chief Walter Michael Welch Jr. Corey Norwood Sr. Director of Marketing and Advertising Servon Moss Director of Arts and Entertainment Ashton Francois CONTRIBUTORS Eaden Myles Miichael W. Eaton Photography NO MORE LUCK JB & Benny Blue Review Beauty Fetish Curve Brows Caravan Film Crews Unique Image Entertainment Shadow Promotions YXCVLI Seven Cognac UNFAZED RUBY RUTH COVER STORY CRESS WILLIAMS CREW Interviewer: Sy Sayonara Photographer: Michael W. Eaton Groomer : Lurchero Make-up: Sandye Lomax Wardrobe: Eaden Myles FEATURED Marcus Goss Denim Richards Cress Williams GUEST WRITERS Merc B. Williams Aaryn Spates Romero Davis Cover Photographer Michael W. Eaton Contributing Photographers Omar “YXCVLI” Zapien Diana Ragland Curt L. McAfee









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ENTREPRENEUR: MARCUS GOSS FOUNDER OF SEVEN COGNAC: Meet this young ambitious entrepreneur from the Bay Area California and see how he plans to make an impact on the wine and spirits industry. MERCENARY CHRONICLES Be prepared to “laugh out loud” as you check our the latest installment of the Mercenary Chronicles with Merc B.

21 WAYS TO SUPPORT BLACK OWNED BUSINESSES IN 2019 Get tips on how to support black-owned businesses in your community. DOPE QUOTES Stay Positive! Dive into some inspirational quotes both the past and present from some very influential people in entertainment





DENIM RICHARDS Somebody make room for rising actor Denim Richards. Check out his full interview on page 22 as he talks about his upcoming film The Chicasaw Rancher.

VOICES OF HOPE Check out this section of amazing poets as they deliver powerful messages through the freedom of expression.

CRESS WILLIAMS Get a shocking dose of DC’s Black Lightning star Cress Williams in his exclusive interview with So FN Dope Magazine.



Photographer: Diana Ragland Groomer: Thea Istenes Wardrobe Stylist: Gaelle Paul














ith every single issue released, it becomes more and more exciting to see the overall progression of So FN Dope Magazine. As our platform grows, we realize that we must grow with it. We want to ensure that we continue to expand our brand to every corner of the globe while maintaining our original vision which is to ultimately deliver dope content to our audience. This is why we are extremely juiced about issue 9. This issue covers a dynamic actor who has starred in some of our favorite television shows over the last two decades, from the hit 90’ sitcom Living Single, to more recent series’ like Grey Anatomy, Prison Break, Friday Night Lights, and Heart of Dixie. Currently, he

Corey Norwood Sr. Co-Founder So FN Dope Magazine


stars in DC Universe’s Black Lightning on the CW. We are stoked about our exclusive interview with Cress Williams and can’t wait to share it with all of you. We also have another young actor on the radar by the name of Denim Richards as well as a young black entrepreneur by the name of Marcus Goss who is the owner of a rising cognac brand in Dallas. This issue will definitely be one for the books. We sincerely hope you enjoy reading this issue. We thank you in advance for your support and hope you will continue to spread the word by telling a friend about us. As always, Be FLY... Be ORIGINAL... Be So FN Dope. Sincerely,

Walter M. Welch Jr. Co-Founder So FN Dope Magazine

“We want to ensure that we continue to expand our brand to every corner of the globe while maintaining our original vision which is to ultimately deliver dope content to our audience.”



In this day and age, it is pretty normal to see celebrities, hip-hop moguls and public figures endorsing alcoholic beverages. Some of them are partial owners, and others may simply have money invested in the products, but very few have spent the time into creating and developing and the brand from conception to fruition. You know... all the difficult things that really go on in the wine and spirits industry. We were lucky enough to catch up with a young black entrepreneur from the Bay Area California who has done just that. Meet Marcus Goss, founder and CEO of Seven Cognac. Photographer: Omar “YXCVLI� Zapien





FND MAG: First and foremost, Marcus we want to thank you for interviewing with So FN Dope Magazine. We are definitely glad to have you. How have you been?

MARCUS GOSS: Man, I appreciate the opportunity to share my story and brand in So FN Dope. I have been good, just working on getting this brand up and going as well as being a full time dad to my five year old boy. SFND MAG: So you are from the Bay... What part are you from? MARCUS GOSS: I am from Vallejo, USA Born and raised. SFND MAG: Now, you currently reside in Dallas? Is that home base for Seven Cognac?

VALLEJO, CA MARCUS GOSS: Yes, I moved to Dallas, TX in 2010, a few years after graduating from Langston University. Currently, it is a company based in Dallas, TX but is made in Chez Richon, France. SFND MAG: You are one of the few black owned companies in this industry. Typically, we see black entrepreneurs invest in companies that are already established. What initially inspired you to get into the wine & spirits industry and to actually start it from the ground up? MARCUS GOSS: I’ve always wanted to start my own liquor brand. I saw all of these Vodkas and I want to have a drink that not only I created but enjoyed drinking. So for me it was a “why not” moment more than anything. This was also a way that I could show the world that Black America is more than athletes, rappers, dancers, and lawyers, but we can also start a

Cognac brand from the ground up. SFND MAG: Seven Cognac is an interesting name. What is the story behind the name of your product? MARCUS GOSS: The name Seven was actually one of three names that I came up with, but it was the name that represents family and business so it made it easy for me to go with that name. With me being one of seven boys that my dad has, also, the number seven being the number of perfection, it was just a perfect fit to a great taste. SFND MAG: What are some of the challenges you have faced so far? MARCUS GOSS: Surprisingly, I haven’t faced many challenges. I would have to say the one challenge and only challenge that I truly have faced is not being able to produce the bottle design that I wanted initially. The FEB / MAR 2019- SOFNDOPEMAGAZINE.COM -


bottle that I wanted to create was a bottle shaped like a Cognac glass, but after talking with my manufacturing glass company, he told me that that bottle would not be able to support the weight of the liquor inside of it without breaking. So, I switched to the design that we have decided to go with currently. SFND MAG: Why Cognac? MARCUS GOSS: Being from the Bay Area that’s just what we drink so I wanted to create something that my home could enjoy. SFND MAG: Why not Vodka or Gin? MARCUS GOSS: Again, I wanted to be true to myself and where I come from. So it was easy for me to pick it tasted I was there with and they would allow me to stay in my own lane. I knew the Cognac taste better than any other taste out there. SFND MAG: Was it a personal preference or a strategic move? MARCUS GOSS: It was both a personal and a strategic move honestly. I wanted to not only give the Cognac drinkers a new smooth taste but also become Cognac brand that took over the vodka market as well. Seven is a Cognac that is created with vodka drinkers in mind. SFND MAG: Now from our limited knowledge of this subject. In order for it to be considered a true cognac, it has to actually be distilled in France right? MARCUS GOSS: Yes that is correct, for it to be called a true Cognac it has to come from France. SFND MAG: You must have done some serious networking to hook up with the right people. MARCUS GOSS: Honestly, it was a blessing how I met my producer. We actually had a tour set up with another known Cognac brand but we when got ready to go on the tour our driver explained to us that nobody confirmed with him the tour and he couldn’t get the people that we talked on the phone that day. So, after


Photographer: Omar “YXCVLI” Zapien

telling him what we were out there to do he said he knew some producers that we could talk to. Once I got in front of my current producers we just sat down and made Seven go from a dream to a product. They are a small family business so it made it easy to connect with one another.

SFND MAG: Where would you like to see Seven Cognac 3-5 years from now?

SFND MAG: With that being said, would you say this is a difficult industry to break into especially being African American?

SFND MAG: Do you plan to expand your brand to other spirits or alcoholic beverages as well?

MARCUS GOSS: It is a difficult industry to break into due to, if you have not made the right connection or do not have enough resources it can be a long battle on getting it off the ground and running. I would not say being an African American makes it harder to get into the industry, but it is just like any other industry just knowing the right people and being at the right place at the right time plays a big part in your success. SFND MAG: How does Seven Cognac compare to other popular cognac brands, like Hennessy, Remy Martin, or Courvoisier? MARCUS GOSS: I believe that we compare right there with them when it comes to taste.

MARCUS GOSS: They can go on our website at or follow us on all social media @sevencognac.

MARCUS GOSS: In 3-5 years I would love to see Seven being a recognized liquor brand that is standing out among the rest of the Cognacs.

SFND MAG: When and where can it be purchased? MARCUS GOSS: They can purchase through the website or look for it in stores or a near restaurant in 2019.

MARCUS GOSS: I plan to stay in the Cognac space with Seven. If we expand the brand it will be in the levels of Cognac such as “VS”, “VSOP”, “Black Label” or flavors. SFND MAG: What’s next for you? MARCUS GOSS: What next for me is just getting Seven off the ground and running at a smooth pace before I break off into anything else at the moment. SFND MAG: What can we expect from Seven Cognac in the very near future? MARCUS GOSS: You can expect Seven to be the new face of the Cognac world.

SFND MAG: Last question before we let you go. Could you name another entrepreneur that you feel is So FN Dope and why? MARCUS GOSS: Yes, I would like to shine a light on my man Mr. Nicely Seasoned out of Vallejo CA. Mr. Nicely Seasoned catering is a premier BBQ and Seafood catering company. Whether you need to feed 10 people or 500, we can customize the perfect menu to accommodate your plate and budget. Without cook and delivery service, food is prepared at the Mr. Nicely Seasoned location, and delivered hot off the smoker to you in eco-friendly, recyclable containers. You can reach him at 707-332-4276 or

SFND MAG: Where can people find out more about Seven Cognac?

“This was also a way that I could show the world that Black America is more than athletes, rappers, dancers, lawyers but we can also start a Cognac brand from the ground up.” --MARCUS GOSS





“Just knowing the right people and being at the right place at the right time plays a big part in your success.” --MARCUS GOSS


14- SOFNDOPEMAGAZINE.COM - FEB / MAR 2019 Photographer: Omar “YXCVLI” Zapien



The Podcast taking you Behind The Curtain in the NFL, Sports, & Entertainment // No Hot Takes, Just Real Talk! . Hosted by former NFL offensive lineman and current coach Jeremy “JB” Bridges, and comedian and music/sports publicist Ben “Benny Blue” Rhinesmith Available on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, TuneIn, & CastBox















It is no secret that acting is a tough job and an even tougher industry to break into however, this newcomer is making it look easy. Our next feature is an emerging actor who is definitely making his mark on the film industry. Check out our exclusive interview with Denim Richards.


Photographer: Diana Ragland Groomer: Thea Istenes Wardrobe Stylist: Gaelle Paul FEB / MAR 2019- SOFNDOPEMAGAZINE.COM -



EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW FND MAG: Denim, Thanks for interviewing with us! We greatly appreciate this opportunity man! How have you been?

DENIM RICHARDS: Thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate the opportunity to speak with you guys! I’ve been wonderful! I just got back from a three-week vacation in India and Dubai so I’m excited to be back in America and getting back to the crazy yet wonderful grind that we call Entertainment! SFND MAG: For our readers let us start out by telling them a little about yourself. Where are you from and how you initially got into acting? DENIM RICHARDS: Well I am originally from Orange County California! Wow where to start! I guess I would have to say that I caught the acting bug at about the age of five when I auditioned to sing a solo at our Christmas celebration that we were having at our school. However, I went to a big school so my performance was in front of about 600 people and, I loved every single minute of it. It’s funny because I remember the teacher specifically asking me to only sing the first verse of the song “away in a manger,” but because I was so in love with the attention I was getting from the audience I continued on into the second verse in which the teacher probably started after I got about five notes in! So, I would say that was the moment that sparked it all. SFND MAG: So, we see you have quite a love for the theatre. How does acting in theater compare to say acting on television and which of the two do you prefer and why? DENIM RICHARDS: Yes, I love theater very much! I would say that that is where my roots come from. Well I think I would have to say I love both of them equally because they both offer something completely different emotionally. Theater is very external, you get to show everything that you’re feeling internally

on the outside with singing, acting and dancing so, you really get an opportunity to be completely free and limitless in your movement and in your emotional state. Television and/or film is usually very internal where you have all of these feelings and emotions that are boiling inside and you’re trying to find a way to allow them to release in the most subtle and impactful way. This can be very difficult because usually you have a camera a foot away from your face so the art is to really accentuate using your eyes! Which I think is an amazing challenge. SFND MAG: We hear that you are also a singer as well. How long have you been singing? DENIM RICHARDS: Let’s see...I’ve been singing for about 25 years now! After I sang that solo at five years old, I never stopped training. When I was 16, I started my opera training, which still to this day is the hardest thing I’ve ever done as it pertains to the arts. I remember being in my second or third lesson and crying in the lesson because it was so difficult. However, still to this day it’s something I practice every morning to keep those vocal muscles as strong as possible. Then about eight years ago, I got into singing jazz ballads, which really speaks to my soul! SFND MAG: Have you recorded any records of you own or do you sing mostly on-stage during performances? DENIM RICHARDS: I have to say if I have a regret this far in my career it’s that I have not recorded an album. I do have a single that I did about a decade ago, but I never released it because I was too embarrassed! So primarily the only time I’m singing publicly is if I’m either on stage doing a theater show or in some quaint jazz lounge. SFND MAG: So awhile back, you won first place at an NAACP competition in L.A. for singing and acting. That’s pretty dope! Tell us about that experience. DENIM RICHARDS: Man, that was such an awesome experience, and very life changing I would have to say. It was the first time that I had ever competed on a national level for singing or acting. I was


surrounded by such phenomenal talent that it really gave me a much greater appreciation for the art. I remember being so nervous going into the competition in LA because I was singing this ballad on the musical “Jekyll and Hyde.” It’s a song where you are essentially playing two people and vocally I’ve never done anything that difficult, but I was kind of in a go big or go home mentality... [LAUGHS], and luckily for me it paid off! Plus, the NAACP has always been such a supportive organization in really highlighting the arts so, I just felt blessed to have had the opportunity to compete! SFND MAG: You now play a role on a series called Yellowstone by Paramount Network. We’ve watched a few episodes and must say it is really good. What is it like working on set with such seasoned actors like Kevin Costner, and Wes Bentley? DENIM RICHARDS: Yes, Yellowstone is quite an amazing experience! Well, first and foremost working with Kevin Costner is kind of beyond words for me as he’s been such an influential person in my continuous growth as an artist! Anytime you get an opportunity to coexist with the legend such as Kevin you just soak in everything. One of the things I admire most about Kevin is that even after all the years of his star power he is still so humble! He really seems to enjoy helping the other artists around him in bringing the best out of their performances! Wes Bentley...what can I say? He’s just such an amazing person! He really knows how to light up a set he’s so positive and no joke he’s probably one of the funniest men I’ve ever met! I feel so fortunate to have had the chance to spend so much time with him. He really allowed me to pick his brain especially when it came to having longevityin this business, and the importance of reinventing yourself and continuing to hold yourself to a high standard. Not to mention he’s also a great actor so that’s just icing on the cake. SFND MAG: You’re also in a feature film that is scheduled for release later this year entitled The Chickasaw Rancher. What can you tell us about the film?

Photographer: Diana Ragland Groomer: Thea Istenes Wardrobe Stylist: Gaelle Paul

“Yes, I love theater very much! I would say that that is where my roots come from.” --DENIM RICHARDS




" I definitely feel like I'm blazing the trail and I'm going to stay on it ." -DENISIA

Photographer: Diana Ragland Groomer: Thea Istenes Wardrobe Stylist: Gaelle Paul


EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW DENIM RICHARDS: Yes, the film Chickasaw rancher follows the journey of these two sharecroppers Montfort T. Johnson and Jack Brown (who I play) as they fight for their lives to just have a future with their family. The story takes place in 1866 in Oklahoma during which time Native Americans were still fighting with the United States government to have rights and opportunities to own land. Similarly, African-Americans still didn’t have rights because it was during the time of slavery, so any of the slaves that ran away from the plantation would actually run to Indian reservations seeking asylum and work. This film follows them as they fight off United States soldiers and Texas scalpers. In my opinion,

this film offers a unique perspective in allowing the audience to get a very immersive experience into the lives of these two men. One of the things about this film that I’m most proud of is, that it’s based on a true story! So, anytime you get to play a character that actually existed it brings even more life and energy to the performance. SFND MAG: You seem to be drawn to these types of roles. Are you a true cowboy at heart or is this just pure acting? DENIM RICHARDS: It’s funny, I never saw myself as a cowboy! If you had asked me five years ago what projects do you think I would

be doing the most I never would’ve guessed cowboy. But now playing a cowboy almost feels like home it’s become something that I feel extremely comfortable in doing and thoroughly enjoy! One of the things I love most about it is that there’s not really anything to hide behind meaning, you really have to be able to ride a horse, and learn how to wrangle cattle and be in a field and be in the elements! Especially working on Yellowstone I never feel like I’m acting. I always feel like I’m just going to work and I am a cowboy who loves what he does! SFND MAG: What else do you have in the works for 2019? Anything else we can be on the lookout for?

“I’m a very firm believer that the youth are our future and so what they do tomorrow is going to be influenced by what is happening today. ” --DENIM RICHARDS


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Photographer: Diana Ragland Groomer: Thea Istenes Wardrobe Stylist: Gaelle Paul


DENIM RICHARDS: Well, currently I have a couple national commercials out! One for NBA2K and the other is Simply Mobile. And right now, it’s pilot season so the goal is always to be able to book one of those! But if anything I’m really focusing on getting my feature film entitled “The Forgotten Ones” completed! So that’s definitely at the top of my list. SFND MAG: So we hear that you also have your own production company. Give us some insight on Lazer Focus Productions LLC, and what you hope to accomplish with this organization.


tomorrow is going to be influenced by what is happening today. So in a way I feel a responsibility to help them pursue their dreams and aspirations! SFND MAG: From what we can tell, you are involved in the community as well. Tell us about your nonprofit organization Youth Empowering Success (YES). In what ways does the organization help benefit the youth?

DENIM RICHARDS: Yes, I started this production company seven years ago for the sole purpose of being able to create and control my own content in the terms of narrative and storyline, but also for my friends who are extremely talented and creative! What I hope to accomplish with this production company is that I would be able to create provocative and thoughtful content! I’d like to consider myself a very heavy thinker and so I love work that forces you to think and question. So naturally, in that I would hope that I can create content that allows the audience the opportunity to do the same.

DENIM RICHARDS: Y.E.S. is an organization geared towards mentorship. So essentially, what we do is go into underprivileged areas such as section 8 homes, boys and girls clubs, and elementary schools and speak to the kids about things that they would like to see changed in their community. Our hope is to be able to start a dialogue with these kids and allow them to express their feelings and/or frustrations in positive and constructive way through the arts whether it be singing, dancing, poetry, etc. Through that we provide them the tools to help express what it is they are feeling. The overall goal for the organization is to encourage the kids to not fall victim to their circumstance, and to be fearless in their dreams, and tenacious in their efforts in acquiring their dreams.

SFND MAG: Now, are you trying your hand at directing as well?

SFND MAG: Where will Denim Richards likely be 6 years from now?

DENIM RICHARDS: Honestly, after being around such amazing directors I don’t think I’m ready to direct yet! LOL! I’m not sure I can handle the pressure of all of the personalities as well as the production aspect! If anything in the past year I’ve gained even more respect for directors! It’s definitely not for the faint of heart. But, one day in the future I will be directing! That I can promise.

DENIM RICHARDS: Six years for now I hope that the Y.E.S program has made it on a national scale! Also, that my production company has produced multiple provocative films and TV shows, and that I have continued to grow as an artist and never tire of learning. I hope to still be is happy and healthy as I am today!

SFND MAG: Outside of your career in acting, what other things are you passionate about? DENIM RICHARDS: Outside of my career in acting, I would have to say I am most passionate about giving back to the youth. It’s something that’s always kind of resonated with me and as I’ve gotten older I’ve just done everything that I could to be more involved in any capacity. I’m a very firm believer that the youth are our future and so what they do

SFND MAG: Where can fans go to follow you on social media. DENIM RICHARDS: You can follow me on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook @ denimrichards

think that there is a more remarkable and talented man! He has virtually taught me everything I know as it pertains to the entertainment industry and much of how I view life! He’s an artist who has seamlessly been able to star on Broadway, do television, work in film, and continuously give back to his community. I always tell him that I hope that I am able to work in this industry for 45+ years as he has done & doing it at the highest level.

“I’d like to consider myself a very heavy thinker and so I love work that forces you to think and question. ” --DENIM RICHARDS

SFND MAG: Before we go we ask everyone we interview to give us another actor, person, you feel is SO FN DOPE and why? DENIM RICHARDS: Another actor and person that is SO FN Dope for me would be Mr. Obba Babatunde! I don’t FEB / MAR 2019- SOFNDOPEMAGAZINE.COM -







Photographer: Curt L. McAfee (IG:@kutfit @242Creative)


S E L C I N R Written by Merc B. Williams

Happy New Year!!! And yes, I’m smart enough to know that by the time some of you all read this we will be well into the New Year BUT for those of you like me who’s January was PURE HELL, the new year started February 1st (or February 5th if you reserved the Chinese New Year)! A LOT has gone on in the world and we’re not even a full two months in yet! I love to always start the year off with some “randoms,” so here’s some random “advice” to carry throughout the New Year. We’ll call this the “encouragement” aka “Live Your Best Life” edition of the chronicles. LEGGO!


Musty is NOT an option.

Listen man. It’s time out for adults to be musty. We let you make it in 2018. It’s a new year and hopefully a new smelling you. In the words of Sweet Brown “AINT NOBODY GOT TIME FUH DAT!” When you know better you smell better man. Goodness.


Don’t forget to brush your tongue. Folks brush their teeth. A lot of folks forget to brush their tongue. This is important because that’s really where all the funk sits (and that row of back “teef ”). If you know you have body odor issues in your mouth keep mints or gum on you. And I’m talking about the good mints


granny or that old lady on the mother board at church used to have. The good soft ones that melt and dissolve on your tongue so the minty freshness would stay there those. If my grandfather were alive he would say “ya breath smell like a brick s*** house”! ROTFLMAO!


Do you!

This seems so simple but it’s so difficult for some folks. Man really do you. Find your lane and stay in it. There’s so much power and purpose in doing you. Want to know why? Because nobody can do you, the way you do you, when you do you, because nobody can do you like you! Got it! Good...

F*** Fear This Year!

1st annual is NOT a thing.

Man look... This is wrong. WRONG. Stop putting this on flyers please. The correct word to use is INAUGURAL. Call me snooty (or a grammar snob) but I’m not coming to the 1st annual anything. Ever!



This is for me but can follow it too! Lol! It’s time to jump. Whatever it is you’ve been saying you want to do this the year to do it. You only die once but you LIVE every day. Take full advantage of it and LIVE. Go on a trip. Start that podcast. Start the business. Buy the house. Just do it man. (I made sure I put “man” at the end because I don’t want Nike to sue me because I ain’t got it! LOL!)


“Keep them squares up outcha circle!” - Future

Men can get hairpieces too! Let’s stop the double standards! Look. We’ve dealt with women putting extra Clydesdales in their heads for years now. It’s our time. Let us be great. If we want to add some hair to our already baldhead and bring ourselves back to life then let us do so without judgement. If you can buy a ponytail then I should be able to buy some waves. Fair is fair man. #ReclaimingMyLINE

Who you’re destined to become and what you’re destined to do has everything to do with who’s around you. Once you find that purpose and passion get around people who have that same energy and feed off of each other to watch your dreams manifest. Winners surround themselves with winners. Simple and plain. Alright that’s all I got! I believe a “shift” is in the atmosphere for everyone this year and everything that you’ve been working for and believe for is going to come to fruition! I truly believe that for all of you...just don’t forget to wear deodorant and brush your tongue! LMAO! Y’all share that! Stay Up! Stay Blessed! Stay Free! -Merc









Ask for a few business cards!

News travels fast and word of mouth is always a good way to spread the word about something new. If you like a particular product or service there is no harm in asking the owner or an employee for a few extra business cards to hand out to your friends and family. This simple gesture could go a long way.


Pay full price Stop looking for the hookup! If you are going to support someone’s establishment, then do it wholeheartedly. You would pay full price elsewhere so let us actually support and stop sucking the life out our black businesses.


Open an account at a Black owned bank. Putting our money in black banks means that black owned start-ups get loans with black dollars...



Shop online

It can be difficult to buy black owned products in a single place. Purchasing your products online means you can buy what you want from whomever you want and have it shipped directly to you.


Blog about it. For those who blog; Writing about an experience at a Black owned business could spread awareness about a product, service or storefront. This is a great way to support.


Follow them. Following and engaging on Facebook, Instagram and other social media outlets is a great way to support and share with your entire network friends and family.


Tell a friend

Making referrals are the perfect way to get people who trust your judgment to give a new black owned product or service a try.


Research Once or twice a week take a chance and find something that you use frequently and try it out. What do you have to lose?


Network / Partner If you are a black owned business owner, try to collaborate with other black businesses for special events or maybe even purchase products or services from each other.


See the Diamond in the rough. Understand that not every establishment may be on the same level. Realize where they want to be and help them get there. Everyone has to start somewhere.



Leave a positive review.

Sign up

Do not be afraid to write a few words on Yelp or other review sites about your experience with that business.


Do not forget to sign up on their email list. It is a great way to get information via newsletters or to receive emails about upcoming sales or events.



If you are looking to invest, do your research and take a look to see what black owned companies are seeking investments.


Connect via online Connect with sites such as and for huge list of black owned products, services all over the country.

Stop comparison to larger companies.


There is a misconception that larger companies have better products. Fancy packaging in large department stores does not necessarily make the products better. Often times it is quite the opposite.


Be consistent! If you find a product or service you like, then continue to use it. Do not just try it once and not go back. Consistency is the key to building and supporting strong black owned organizations.

Sponsorship Many of us have sought out sponsorships for our kids little league team or church event at one point or another. The next time that opportunity comes around try seeking sponsorship from a local black owned business. It is likely that both parties would benefit from the sponsorship.


Download apps that locate black owned business. There are a few apps out there that are available for download pinpoint the location of black owned businesses in your vicinity. Great way to discover places you may have otherwise overlook. Check out Official Black Wall Street app.


Understand what buying black truly means. Realize that supporting black owned business does not mean you are opposed to shopping elsewhere. It only means that you are making a conscious effort to circulate money back into our communities. If we do not support us, who will?


Support local events Check out local farmer’s market, festivals and other neighborhood events to see what types of businesses may be in your area. you never know, you may find something you like.


Work together

Realize that this only works if we work together. It will take all of us to rebuild our communities. Create new job opportunities, and restore balance to the economy. an enema.” That’s exactly what hap-




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DOPEQUOTES “You’ve got to always go back in time if you want to move forward.” – Snoop Dogg

Don’t sabotage your own greatness by succumbing to failure.” – Terri McMillan

That’s what hip-hop is: It’s sociology and English put to a beat, you know. -Talib Kweli

“I could let these dream killers kill As much as I am my self-esteem, hip-hop, I’m soul. As much as I am or use my arrosoul, I’m a turntab- gance as a steam list. As much as I’m to power my a DJ, I love jazz and dreams.” – Kanye rock. -DJ Jazzy Jeff “Worrying is stupid. It’s like walking around with an umbrella waiting for it to rain.” – Wiz Khalifa 40- SOFNDOPEMAGAZINE.COM - FEB / MAR 2019

DOPEQUOTES “Life is a wheel of fortune and it’s my turn to spin it.” – Tupac “We can’t change the world until we change ourselves.” – Biggie Smalls “Trust your own judgement, live with it and love it.” – Nas


“Just don’t give up what you’re trying to do. Where there is love and inspiration, I don’t think you can go wrong.” – Ella Fitzgerald

“I had to make my own living and my own opportunity. But I made it! Don’t sit down and wait for the opportunities to come. Get up and make them.” - Madam C.J. Walker Hip-hop reflects the truth, and the problem is that hip-hop exposes a lot of the negative truth that society tries to conceal. It’s a platform where we could offer information, but it’s also an escape” - Busta Rhymes












My History is Black as Religion by Aaryn Spates My history is black as religion Black as scripture Black as the Epitome of a modern day village Black as a stereotype Black as the middle of night Black as diamonds Before the pressure decides That a rock is worth more than my life. Black as section 8 babies Black as silver spoon toddlers Black as the country club children Black as the working mans palms My life is die or know prosper I’m black as the blackest of coffins I’m black as the blackest of homes Sheltering the blackest of paupers My ancestors experienced hurting Their black is no blacker than mine My history etched in the stone Repaved and white washed in due time I’m black as my homies that’s jugging Black as my homies in college I’m black as my brother behind desks in a office Black as my brothers in bondage I’m black as stolen inventions And the math to get Rockets blasting to another level I’m black as the block Black as the pots Black as the countries kitchen kettle I’m black as the OG Americans Guarantee there’s no one blacker than the I’m black as the wish of the world In other terms I’m black as they’re wishing to be.



Yesterdays Dreams by Romero Davis If I ever smell a flower, let it be a Jasmine Sweet scent of it, reminds me of yesterday Sitting between my mother, Twisting my hair while singing with God, That ol’porch door is open, wind blowing, Sending aromic memories into my soul, Not knowing it was being implanted, Into the deeper parts of my existence, Grandma cleaning the greens, Been up early she has, Live long she will, Her eyes tell stories when we talk, I just listen, Just listen until my mother is done, Then I get up, get out and run, I am free, Running past the field of Jasmines, Taking in the smell, As time passes, It only takes the scent of 1 single Jasmine, Still reminded of yesterday’s dreams, Sweet scent of it takes me away, Removed, sitting between my mother legs, Twisting my hair, while she sings with God…. Twisting my hair, while she sings with God….




Out of Sight, Dynamite by Romero Davis Astonishing, breathe taking, holding my visual Senses captive by one smile, I was wondering If it was deliberate, but beauty like that is not Deliberate, it’s only natural Shoulda saw her, felt her soul, The clouds lifted when she walked upon me, I started whispering to myself immediately, “She’s Beautiful” An angel in physical form, Innocently gorgeous… Lucky to be within that presence, She’s out of sight, dynamite….. Astonishing, breathe taking, her soul shined through everything Surrounding as senses captive by one smile, I was wondering If it was genuine, but a soul like that is not only genuine But it’s authentically patented by God, tailor-made, it’s only natural Shoulda felt her soul, I wish you could see her, The clouds lifted when she walked upon me, I started whispering to myself immediately, “She is love,” A kiss in physical form, Pleasantly refreshing, Blessed to be within her touches, She’s out of sight, dynamite



Pure Love by Romero Davis Papa loved me like he loved Mama, that’s how I learned how to love, shoulda saw da way he watched her, used to pull her chair out at the table every Sunday morning for 50 sumpin’ years at breakfast, told me he was lucky to love a woman like that, God’s gift he said, told me “Ramon”, cause that’s what he called me, dats da way to love a woman, dats the way to love, we used to lean against the ol’ car in the yard and I used to watch Papa watch Mama, he loved her, gardens the way to love, and Mama loved Papa too, she had this smile on her face when she saw him that lit up like evening glow flies and she did until the day she went home, and Papa still loved her after she gone, saw it in his tears, that’s how I learned how to love. I’m telling you, we used to sit on the back porch spittin’ out sunflower seeds, he tellin’ me stories about how much he loved her, and how much she loved him, all up until the day that he went home with her, so in love they had to be one, and I’m tellin’ you that’s how I learned how to love, just like Papa, just like Mama, saw it in his face, that’s how I learned how to love, unconditionally….. Just like Papa!!! Just like my Papa, forever in love.


49 48


Basement Knockin’ by Romero Davis I can’t be replaced, Nor can I be a replacement, Skeletons in my basement keep knockin’ at the door, I ignore and keep singin’ Sometimes I sing Jazz, Sometimes the Blues, But at least I choose to sing, Can I bring a smile to your face, It can’t be replaced, Neither can you, Whose knocking at your door, Who do you ignore, What are you singin’ Sounds like a sweet tune, I’m glad you know how to sing, It takes my mind off your door, And mine too, Maybe we can take time and sing to each other, But remember I can’t be replaced, Nor can I be a replacement, And if you hear something knocking, It’s just those skeletons from my basement…..



Just So I Know by Romero Davis I haven’t heard your voice lately, But I have remembered your smell, I haven’t seen your smile for months, I wonder if you’re doing well? I haven’t made you laugh lately, But I’ve smiled when I pictured our kiss, I haven’t stared at you when I bite on that food, I wonder if there’s anything about me you miss? I haven’t felt your arms next to mine at night, But I hug the pillow and pretend that it’s you, I haven’t seen you in the mirror behind me, I wonder if you still dream of me too? For all of you that have love, Hold on to it and never let go, When it’s gone and unreachable to your hands, You’ll get a deep knot that builds up in your throat. I will never have my love again, And I will never forget what I had, I would much rather remember my love, Then to feel so heart-broken and sad. I haven’t forgotten your voice, And I’ll always remember your smell, I wish I could see your smile again, Just so I know you’re doing well.




Photographer: Michael W. Eaton Groomer: Lurchero Wardrobe Stylist: Eaden Myles Makeup: Sandye Lomax

CRESS WILLIAMS Interviewed by Sy Sayonara

Our next feature is no stranger to television and film. In fact, he is a veteran in the industry with over 25 years invested in theater and acting. He has starred in some of our favorite television shows and series’ over the years. We currently know him as Jefferson Pierce aka Black Lightning a shocking new black superhero who fights crime with his ability to control electricity. The series airs on The CW and is taking the nation by storm. Check out our exclusive interview with none other than Cress Williams.




COVER STORY FND MAG: We are here with the one and only Cress Williams. It is very nice to have you. Thank you so much for coming through and interviewing with So FN DOPE Magazine.

CRESS WILLIAMS: I don’t know… [LAUGHS] I watched lots and lots and lots of television. It was my babysitter and my best friend and everything so. I watched old movies and I was just taken, by watching people perform and I just knew I wanted to do it.

CRESS WILLIAMS: Thank you for having me.

SFND MAG: So, in college you studied Shakespeare?

SFND MAG: We have a couple questions for you so let’s just get straight to it. Tell us a little about yourself.

CRESS WILLIAMS: Yeah, well it’s interesting… I didn’t know anything about it. I mean… I grew up a poor kid. I never went to the theatre. I knew movies. I knew television but I started studying theatre and fell in love with all of it and I wanted to be able to do all of it. I remember seeing Marlon Brando when I was a kid [for those of us who know Marlon Brando] I remember I was watching Guys and Dolls and old musical. Marlon Brando… Frank Sinatra… I was watching it with my mom and you know…I enjoyed it, and just went on, but a few weeks later, my mother was watching the Godfather. I had never seen the Godfather, I sat down and start watching it, and I’m like “Wait… that guy looks familiar.” Then I realize it was Marlon Brando and it was like a light bulb switched on and I realized that is what I wanted out of my career. I remember thinking, “That guy was just singing and dancing a while ago and now he’s Vito Corleon,” and so I wanted to do everything, so when I started to study I just wanted to take on everything. Shakespeare is like the hardest but yet the most rewarding thing. I used to teach acting and I would tell actors that doing Shakespeare is like lifting 200 pounds and the you go back to contemporary work and it’s like lifting five pounds. It’s so easy.

CRESS WILLIAMS: The beginning in general, or the beginning of acting? SFND MAG: Just in general. CRESS WILLIAMS: Well, I was raised in California since I was three years old but I was born in Heidelberg, Germany. My father was in the army and I was born there. As soon as I was born, we came right back. My family was actually from Chicago, and when I was three years old, my mother and I moved to California. SFND MAG: Have you always known that you were going to be an actor? CRESS WILLIAMS: Yeah... so, I’ve always wanted to be an actor since I was a little kid, so I decided to study it in college. I always wanted to complete college as well because no one else in my family had done that so I went to college and studied as a theatre major. Luckily, right as I was finishing college things fell into place and I got my first television job and I was off and running. SFND MAG: Wow! That is crazy. So, in high school, did you always want to do it though? With your height, I’m sure people would have loved to see you as a basketball player. [LAUGHS] CRESS WILLIAMS: [LAUGHS] Well, I love basketball even until this day, but even before high school. I just always knew that I wanted to perform. Even when I was like seven or eight years old, I just knew. SFND MAG: How did you know?

SFND MAG: Right… So do you like acting on film better or do you like acting in the theatre? Which one do you prefer? CRESS WILLIAMS: Um… If they all paid the same [LAUGHS] then I would do stage all the time. SFND MAG: Really? CRESS WILLIAMS: [LAUGHS] Yeah, because first of all you get a lot more rehearsal time so you have a lot more


time to play, but stage is that once the curtain goes up it’s really the actor’s game. You have the utmost freedom to deal with what is going on, and if you feel off then you’ll have another night. That live interaction, you’ll know when it’s clicking from jump. With film and television, you’ll do a scene over and over and over again with all these angles and then you’re not in control of how they edit it, so it may not be the best take you liked. But yeah, theatre is so much fun. SFND MAG: I think that is So FN DOPE [LAUGHS] because you are like the first actor to ever say that. [LAUGHS] Seriously. Everyone always says film, or always says TV. CRESS WILLIAMS: But I did say… If they paid the same. [LAUGHS] But that’s the thing. It is hard to make a living as a theatre actor, but I think film and television is flashy and gets the most attention, so I think that is why they may want to do it. SFND MAG: So you were the first person in your family to finish to college. How important was it for you to break that cycle? CRESS WILLIAMS: Immense, because I thought that if I could break it then hopefully it would continue on. Everyone I knew in my family had maybe started but not finished, and there were a lot of unrealized dreams in my family that motivated me. My father, “God rest his soul” was a singer. Growing up, everyone would say that all he ever wanted to do was sing and yet he never really pursued it. He drove a train. My mother had other aspirations as well and they settled. I said I never wanted to do that. Even when I was a kid, when people would ask what I wanted to be when I grew up , I’d say I wanted to be an actor, and before they would even say anything else I would say “I’m prepared to be poor”, because I knew the chances. But, I did not want to look back and say “Oh man, maybe I should have tried” or “What if?” It is very important for me to enjoy what I do. I also did not want to begrudgingly going off to work and trying to live for the weekend because I hate my job. I didn’t want that for myself.


“Even when I was a kid, when people would ask what I wanted to be when I grew up, I’d say I wanted to be an actor. ” .


Photographer: Michael W. Eaton Groomer: Lurchero Wardrobe Stylist: Eaden Myles Makeup: Sandye Lomax



COVER STORY Photographer: Michael W. Eaton Groomer: Lurchero Wardrobe Stylist: Eaden Myles Makeup: Sandye Lomax



“It is very important for me to enjoy what I do.” --CRESS WILLIAMS



COVER STORY Photographer: Michael W. Eaton Groomer: Lurchero Wardrobe Stylist: Eaden Myles Makeup: Sandye Lomax


PHOTO BY: Omar “YXCVLI” Zapien STYLED BY: Mr. Highclass and Designer Telley


SFND MAG: Did your parents have an opportunity see any of your success? CRESS WILLIAMS: Yeah, my mother is still alive and my father he did. He saw me graduate college. He went to my graduation. He passed away about thirteen years ago so he’s seen me act. He even came to auditions with me and been on set and all sorts of things. SFND MAG: So he got to experience that a little bit too. CRESS WILLIAMS: Yeah SFND MAG: [LAUGHS] Was he singing to the ladies? [LAUGH] CRESS WILLIAMS [LAUGH] My father had this low voice. I mean I can get my voice down low but he had voice that was just permanently low. SFND MAG: Like… Barry White low? CRESS WILLIAMS: I can still hear him in my head like when he would leave a message. “Hey Cress, this is your father.” [In a super deep voice]. That’s how he talked. So when he drove the subways in Chicago, he would also announce the stops and he would pull ladies just with his voice. They’d be like “Who is that man announcing the stops”. [LAUGHS] Yeah, he was smooth. [LAUGHS] I wish he were around to experience this whole Black Lightning thing. He was already proud but I think he would have been extra proud. SFND MAG: I think he is. Definitely. So… You were an acting teacher for 9 years or so. As the saying goes, once a teacher you are always teaching. [LAUGHS] Do you find yourself teaching onset, is it difficult to shut that part of you off? CRESS WILLIAMS: Yeah, it is hard to shut it off. Internally, I have to think about it because there is this unwritten rule among actors. Unless somebody asks you, you do not give advice. So I try to keep it to myself but if I see something and I feel like I could fix it really quick and they would be much happier, then I just step in. Even when I got the part and the girls that play my daughters were auditioning, I read with them. I had to tell

myself “Be quiet. This is their audition. Don’t give them any advice.” Because it is always on, I just want to fix them. SFND MAG: OK, but what if it someone that you are actually filming with? You do not want them to make you look bad and you want to make them look their best. CRESS WILLIAMS: So… I do step in. Well, that’s the adjustment. I realized that people do look at me to lead the set because I think I can communicate with actors really well because sometimes we have different directors who aren’t the best at communicating. I saw this disconnect with a director and an actor once. The director was giving him a note and the actor was still kind of doing it the same. I had a feeling that if I said something to the actor then he’ll get it and so finally I did and it worked. Everyone kind of looked at me and said thank you… thank you… and I was like “Oh, I guess I’m allowed to do that here.” SFND MAG: You’ve made quite a few appearances in a number of other TV series’ over the years... ranging from Prison Break, Grey’s Anatomy and Heart Of Dixie just to name a few. Of all the sets you have worked on so far, which was your favorite? CRESS WILLIAMS: Ahhh. You know what? My favorite was probably a show called Friday Night Lights that I did and really it was just because they shot in a way that was different and it was kind of closer to theatre. We had like four cameras and they never put any marks down. We were allowed to just try different things every single night. You didn’t have to match you just tried things. If you wanted to change a line, you could just change the line. If you wanted to throw out a line, you could throw out a line. They were just trying to get it the best it could possibly be and so it felt like the closest to theatre and I think that is why it was my favorite. SFND MAG: Do you think it takes some of the fun out of it when everything is so by the script? CRESS WILLIAMS: Oh without question. Sometimes you have a writer, maybe a white middle-aged man who grew up in Beverly Hills writing for a urban dude in


Dallas who had been in the joint. Like… he is not going to know exactly the dialogue you know. So, it’s good to have that freedom to change that up when you know what they are trying to say and get across.

SFND MAG: Writers Credits! [LAUGHS] CRESS WILLIAMS: [LAUGHS] PLEASE! I’ll take the extra check [LAUGHS] SFND MAG: Let’s talk a bit about your current superhero role as Black Lightning. What initially drew you to this character to want to take on this role? CRESS WILLIAMS: Ahhh, Black Lightning!!! Well at heart, I am a big nerd. I’ve been watching cartoons and superheroes, and Sci-Fi all my life. As soon as they started making superhero movies and television shows with the technology we have I have wanted to do it. I felt like I just needed to do it once, so when Black Lightning came around this was just like a dream come true for me. SFND MAG: How does it compare to other roles you have played? CRESS WILLIAMS: It’s kind of like the most fun for the child in me. When they first told me that I got the job, I thought of myself as a kid. All we had was Superman and Batman. The paler superheroes I should say. And so I thought, Black Lightning! Wow! I was like if I had known as a kid that this was coming on television I would have marked on my calendar a year in advance. This is just like a dream come true for the kid in me and that bucket list thing that I have always wanted which is to play a superhero. Check [LAUGHS] SFND MAG: On the show, your daughters also are super heroes ... A family of black superheroes! What do you want children of color to take from that representation and what does it represent to you? CRESS WILLIAMS: It’s amazing because also the alter ego of Black Lightning, Jefferson Pierce is such a great man. He is a great father. He is a great community leader and educator and so he’s really honorable on every level. I remember I




was in a grocery store in the checkout line and this little kid came walking by and all of a sudden, he just stopped. He looked at me with his mouth wide and shouted Black Lightning! Black Lightning! So we went outside and took a picture. After he left I asked myself,” Should I have said something like Stay in school or make sure you read” like I didn’t know what type of model would live up to the character, but it’s pretty special. SFND MAG: Does it happen to you a lot? CRESS WILLIAMS: Yeah, Especially here in Atlanta. If we go out. It will happen. SFND MAG: In what ways do you feel you identify with the character? CRESS WILLIAMS: Yeah, as a matter of fact, I look at Jefferson as two different people. Jefferson Pierce the principal and then Black Lightning. When I had the opportunity to audition, I was thinking about the character Black Lightning because I wanted to be a superhero, but when I read the script I realized, oh wait. I am Jefferson Pierce. I have kids and he is a big family man. I decided to go all the way through college and education is also huge for him as well. So I identify with him. Black Lightning I kind of like that cat, when I’ve been having a bad day and I want to use those powers for a little bit. [ LAUGHS] I remember I met this older woman in DC and we were doing publicity at this diner and she said to me. “I wish I had your powers just for an hour.” I replied “For an hour”? She said I have some people I need to talk to and take care of some things. [LAUGHS] So you have those days where you have just had enough… that’s Black Lightning, but most of my days I feel like Jefferson Pierce. SFND MAG: Do you guys do a lot of green screen? CRESS WILLIAMS: We actually do a fair amount of green screen. I’ve been on green screen on giant boxes. I have been on green screen on cables so yea we do a fair amount of green screen. SFND MAG: If you could choose one suPHOTO BY: Omar “YXCVLI” Zapien per power to Highclass have inand realDesigner life, what STYLED BY: Mr. Telley would it be and why?

CRESS WILLIAMS: I would choose teleportation. To be able to teleport anywhere, everywhere because my family and I moved to Atlanta from California. All of our family and friends are in California so to be able to just teleport like Boom! Pop! It would just bring us all together. SFND MAG: How do people typically respond to you when they see you out and about in public particularly the adults? We all know how the kids respond, but what about the grown-ups? CRESS WILLIAMS: They are really honored. It’s not like OMG! OMG! It’s just kind of like whoa. Man. Thank you so much, almost like a reverence, and then you have the funny ones that walk up to you and say, “You look like that guy from “Black Lightning.” I always just shake my head, and then they say” Is that you”? [LAUGHS] You get all types of responses. SFND MAG: Now is your family out with you during these times? What do they have to say about it? CRESS WILLIAMS: My daughter, she is thirteen and so it really helps her at school. I think that when we first got here and the show started coming on when was like “Oh this boy at school wanted to know if I had the fighting moves like you” and I said. Tell him yes. [LAUGHS] Because I do not want these little boys messing with my little girl. So yes, she always wants me to give pictures out helping her increase her street cred at school. SFND MAG: Do you think they will ever try to take Black Lighting to the big screen? CRESS WILLIAMS: I would hope so. No one has talked about it yet but yeah I would definitely do it. SFND MAG: Would you wear the costume for Halloween? CRESS WILLIAMS: NOOOOOO! I definitely not do that. Not at all. Two things. First of all, I don’t really like dressing up for Halloween. I dress up all the time so therefore I do not dress up for Halloween. Second of all, the suit is like sixty


pounds and it is no fun. I wouldn’t be able to trick or treat. SFND MAG: With the statistics of single parent homes rising, who is more important both literally and figuratively in the black household and culture; a man like Jefferson Pierce, or a man like Blacklighting? CRESS WILLIAMS: I think the father is most important. As great as Black Lightning is, a father in the home… any parent, honestly in the home is day to day is most important. They are like in the trenches they see and deal with the child day in and day out. The homework… the good days ... the bad days, the teenage times I am dealing with right now. The ups and downs and all the drama. You cannot substitute that for being there all day every day. Not to mention the example you set. Kids pay attention to what you say, they pay attention to what they read but the really more so pay attention to action and so a parent that is in the home that is saying but also leading by action, with integrity and strong character is important... Those things can’t be replicated or substituted. SFND MAG: We’ve heard that events like Comicon are both exciting and sometimes bazaar. Had you attended any Comicon events prior to you accepting the role as Black Lighting? CRESS WILLIAMS: No, I hadn’t… SFND MAG: Did you know it existed? CRESS WILLIAMS: I knew it existed. I’m a nerd… I knew it existed. I just didn’t want to go until I was supposed to go. I had friends that would say, “You should go to Comicon,” before this happened. I’ve been acting for a long time so I was still recognizable even before Black Lightning. I’m 6’5. I would have had to dress up as Chubakka. [LAUGHS] But, I knew it existed and I’ve gone since and it is madness, in a good and a bad way. There’s so much going on, but you also get to see people liking what you do. SFND MAG: So when you’re not working what other things do you do for fun? CRESS WILLIAMS: I am boring [LAUGHS] Sleep is always a must. I love sleep... I just like to be home with my

COVER STORY Photographer: Michael W. Eaton Groomer: Lurchero Wardrobe Stylist: Eaden Myles Makeup: Sandye Lomax

PHOTO BY: Omar “YXCVLI” Zapien STYLED BY: Mr. Highclass and Designer Telley



COVER STORY Photographer: Michael W. Eaton Groomer: Lurchero Wardrobe Stylist: Eaden Myles Makeup: Sandye Lomax


family. I honestly love working out, but I love to just be with my kids and be with my wife with a bottle of wine and a good television show or a good movie. SFND MAG: You have been in the industry for a while now... One of the earliest and certainly one most memorable roles we remember you playing was your role on Living Single, one of the hottest black shows in the 90’s .You played the role of Khadijah’s boyfriend. Thinking back to those days what was it like bring on set with such a talented cast of individuals? CRESS WILLIAMS: You know, it was amazing because it was really really early on in my career. Living Single was probably the second job I had. It was only the second audition I had ever had. SFND MAG: WOW! Really CRESS WILLIAMS: Yea, I had gone out on this audition for the original Beverly Hill 90210 and went through all these callbacks. So, I got the Beverly Hills 90210 job and I got an agent and the very first audition my agent sent me out on was Living Single. I remember sitting in the waiting room with Young MC. I am not sure if ya’ll remember the rapper Young MC. This was the beginning. This was in the 90’s where rapper were starting to act. As an actor, we were really bitter about rappers taking our jobs. So I remember just being in the waiting room thinking like “Young MC is about to take my job man. “ [LAUGHS] I didn’t realize that he was a lot shorter than I was and Queen Latifah is a tall woman so thankfully I got the job. It was cool because, they were so nice to me. They welcomed me in and they made it feel like it was home. SFND MAG: Not like it was your second job. CRESS WILLIAMS: Right, and they had been doing it for a while already. I remember Kim Fields invited me to watch movies in her trailer because I did not have one their type of trailers, like the real deal. I was still like a college student. I was still broke. I remember one time some representative from this video game company EA Sports, came with a duffle bag full of video games. He was like” Hey everyone grab what you

want.” I was like “Whaaaat! Really?” I get free stuff. It was really cool! Now it is like this weird cyclical thing because last year T.C. came on our show Black Lightning and played Tobias’s father and this year Erica Alexander came on and is still on the show now. It’s like I came on their show so long ago and now they are on mine. SFND MAG: That is pretty awesome! CRESS WILLIAMS: It is awesome! SFND MAG: If you weren’t acting what would you be doing? CRESS WILLIAMS: I’m not sure what I’d be doing. Maybe directing. SFND MAG: Would you want to get into directing? CRESS WILLIAMS: I like directing. I have directed plays. Honestly, when I taught, it was a lot like directing because I would have a lot of actor come and who would have auditions like the very next day and would ask if we could work on it. So, when they have an audition, it’s not like teaching because my main goal at that point is to help you get this job, so it does become like directing. As opposed to teaching where you are trying to create an environments where they learn and they figure it out themselves and eventually get to a point where they use it. So I think I would direct. I think that’s like my second love. SFND MAG: We’re about to wrap up the interview but before you go please tell us where can people catch up on the Black Lighting series? CRESS WILLIAMS: Right now… Well you can always go and get caught up on Netflix. Season two starts back up again on Monday, January 21, 2019. We are switching from Tuesday nights to Monday nights. So, you can catch up with the rest of the season on The CW Monday nights at 9:00pm.


“I love to just be with my kids and be with my wife with a bottle of wine and a good television show or a good movie.” --CRESS WILLIAMS

SFND MAG: Cress! Thank you so much for interviewing with us. It was so glad to have you. Looking forward to catching the rest of the season of Black Lightning!



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