O.B.A.M.A. – Original/ Black/ American/ Muslim/ Actor
by Amir Abdullah
California. There are girls, money, beaches, mansions, and opportunity. Everyone has reasons why they make the move this way. The ceiling here is higher than anywhere else in America for artists. Fame, fortune, respect, and friendship are the goals of many actors, musicians, and other types of entertainers. Often times, the thousands of people that move here every week get a cold slap of California reality. 99 percent of those who call themselves actors are unemployed. This state is broke. Gas is expensive as hell, and promises are made and broken here regularly. I know several supremely talented people that aren’t working as regularly as they should. We are told numerous stories by old drama teachers, friends who moved here and returned home, and by E! True Hollywood Stories, that this industry rarely leaves you with a happy ending. Facebook does people no favors in the present. See back in the day you wouldn’t know what a person was up to unless that person was actually your friend. I guarantee that all of you have people added as your “friends” that you can’t stand, but you probably know exactly what they’re up to. Sadly, it is a necessary evil because there are great networking opportunities that can arise from Facebook and other social media. We mid twentysomethings, and up, are plagued on our Facebook feeds daily by engagements of old hookups, babies that no one wants to see, and wedding announcements (yay)! When you’re alone, Facebook can make your life a bit more depressing with people posturing as if to say, “LOOK AT HOW AMAZING MY LIFE IS!!! YOURS IS SHIT, ISN’T IT YOU LOOOOOOOOSEEERR?”, but when you actually run into the person, they are struggling just as much as you are. (Or at least that’s what I tell myself.)
I am an LA based actor/writer but this first piece is brought to you from the great city of New York! (Great because it’s big, not because I love it, because I don’t). I flew in for a wedding (ironic) of a dear friend of mine, Lauren, who also happens to be a superb actress. I’ve known her since middle school, and there aren’t many people that I can say I’m still close with from back in those days (some are still my Facebook friends). Our main connection was the love of theatre we possessed, that came to fruition in our high school drama troupe. We stand alone as the ones who pushed on towards our dream of being consistently working actors (Stardom? Shmardom. I just want to act). While most of those in our graduating class decided to do something lucrative and become doctors, business people, and other high paying stable jobs that people who don’t want to be poor do, we keep going! Lauren exudes a natural glow and is super talented, beautiful and hysterical.
We ultimately ended up at different universities and eventually cities to pursue our professional career, but our connection however has stayed strong throughout the years. We know each other’s struggle! We know what it’s like to scrap and scramble and work for free for art, to argue with parents over your decisions, to be low as hell on money, to hear the word no 100 times a year at auditions, and to have that jubilant feeling when your agent or manager tells you YES! It is a feeling non artists will never feel. The anticipation, the anger, the frustration, the self-doubt, the self-hate, the envy, all of it. She knows it, and she’s from our city, our school, our community. And I’m thankful for that. Life is better when you know there is someone who you can call on, and say, I feel your pain, and then get back to work!Tags: Actor, Hollywood