Kareem Grimes (Courtesy photo)


Kareem Grimes is widely lauded for his “bad boy gone good” role as Preach on the CW drama series “All American.”

Early followers of Grimes’s work might also remember him from the cult classic film “Boyz ‘n the Hood.” He will also be a regular fixture on the upcoming Netflix comedy series “The Vince Staples Show.”

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Grimes is also scheduled to serve as an ambassador for this year’s annual Pan African Film & Arts Festival (PAFF), February 6-19, 2024, in Los Angeles at the Cinemark Baldwin Hills & XD and Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza.

Grimes says he was proudly born and raised in Inglewood, California on 99th St. and Crenshaw.  Growing up a stone’s throw away from Hollywood, Grimes says he was often around people in the entertainment industry who were his mother’s friends.

“Growing up for me it was kind of the norm,” said Grimes. “I also had a couple of friends who were already in the business… going to their houses and seeing them studying, and getting ready for auditions, I was like, ‘okay, this is something I can do.’”

Additionally, Grimes says classic TV shows like “Three’s Company” and “Flip Wilson” were also inspirations, which would lead to him choosing acting as a profession.

Grimes remembers his family members were very encouraging of his acting aspirations, and he eventually enrolled at Marla Gibbs’s Crossroads Arts Academy. Gibbs and her daughter Angela were the co-founders of Crossroads, which nurtured the careers of quite a few aspiring actors, including Grimes.

“My first acting teacher was Whitman Mayo from ‘Sanford and Son,’ and actor Ed Cambridge. These are the shoulders I stand on,” said Grimes.

He says Crossroads played a huge part in developing him as an artist and a man. Those lessons he cites as ones he brings to his work today on “All American.”

The CW star, whose very first job was in the John Singleton coming-of-age saga “Boyz ‘n the Hood,” expresses his gratefulness for the recognition he receives for his standout role on “All American.”

Kareem Grimes and Vince Staples in “The Vince Staples Show” (Courtesy photo)

However, his resume on IMDb is more reflective of his long career as an actor going all the way back to “Boyz.”

“You’re constantly having to reintroduce yourself and prove yourself.  But if you think I’m a newcomer, all you have to do is Google Kareem Grimes, and you will see what I’ve done in the past,” he said.

Grimes reflected, “The last three years on All American has definitely changed my life, and it has given me the credibility as an actor, but also the recognition that I get on an everyday basis.”

Soon Grimes will be co-starring in the Netflix series “The Vince Staples Show” as “Uncle Mike.” “This is going to show another range of who I am as an actor,” he said, “because it’s strictly comedy.”

The show is lightly based on Staples’s life and is set in Staples’s hometown of Long Beach, California. Grimes describes his character “Uncle Mike” as an uncle who is in every family and who has a great business plan but no follow through. Grimes is also preparing for his new role as the ambassador of the 2024 Pan African Film & Arts Festival.

“Growing up in Baldwin Hills as well [as Inglewood], I attended the Pan African Film Festival… and now to have this opportunity to be an ambassador is one for the books and a blessing,” said Grimes.

He says his PAFF ambassadorial duties take him back to his Los Angeles roots as a man and his beginnings as an actor.

“Like I said before, ‘standing on the shoulders of Marla Gibbs and John Singleton, two iconic figures who have put so much into this business, without them… I wouldn’t be here today,”’ Grimes added.

For more information on the 2024 Pan African Film & Arts Festival, visit https://www.paff.org.