September 3, 2018

Category: #MCM

Geoffrey Owens: An Actor Getting That Bag


My spiritual mama, who’s a working Black actress in NYC, often says, “Nigga famous, nigga poor!” She usually utters this right after someone runs up to her excitedly hollering, “Hey, you’re the lady from the (blah, blah, blah) commercial!” She always responds and often with exasperation, “Yeah, that’s me.” Under her breath she’d say to me, “Everyone wants your autograph and picture, but little do they know you’re struggling just like them to get by.” This is real talk.

Every actor in dese streets ain’t making Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson kinda money. Sh*t, Denzel ain’t even making that kinda loot, but the assumption is if you’re an actor and have been in movies or had a recurring role on a TV series you got bank. This is not true for the majority of folk who use their chops to bring scripts to life and is especially not true if you are Black or a woman and surely ain’t true if you happen to be both! So when I hear that folk are on the innanets trying to um, what is this even called… “job-shame” Geoffrey Owens for bagging groceries, I’m superbly appalled. Dude has a damn job! Respectability politics and classism are old ass bedfellows who’ll say fruit is rotten just cuz of a few brown spots. The awful irony is that Geoffrey’s job as a Trader Joe’s grocer offers a more reliable paycheck, probably better benefits and better hours than most acting gigs. I’ve watched my godmommy hustle for every audition and every job she’s booked and now that so many casting agents are booking non-union actors, yo, the life of an actor ain’t no crystal stair! Like Geoffrey, my GM also had a recurring role on “The Cosby Show” and like him, she has since found other means to supplement her income (doing voiceover work, creating her own jewelry line, and managing a number of investments) to get by when the auditions and the offers come few and far between. I actually met Geoffrey many, many moons ago when I was a senior at Hunter College High School. Even then, when he was guest starring as Elvin and definitely “a nigga famous,” he would often sit in and sometimes teach our Communications/ Theater classes… or was it English? Anyhoo, he’s never been a one gig dude even when the checks were steady and for that, he’s my kinda man! #LaborDay #MCM #WorkingMan

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