Obba Babatundé is a man of many talents. The Emmy Award-winning actor has spent four decades gracing theater stages, making moves as a dancer, and directing and producing creative projects. His work ethic granted him a Daytime Emmy win for CBS’s “The Bold and The Beautiful,” along with a Tony nomination for his role as C.C. White in the original Broadway production of “Dreamgirls.”
With more than 17 stage productions, 33 films, and over 60 television credits under his belt, Babatundé does not plan on slowing down anytime soon. Hulu announced the actor will return in the hit series ‘Little Fires Everywhere,” alongside Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington. He also currently stars as Dean Fairbanks in Season 3 of Netflix’s “Dear White People.”
Babatundé will return to CBS “S.W.A.T” as Daniel “Hondo” Harrelson Sr. in the Season 3 premiere on Oct. 2 at 10/9c on CBS. The Los Angeles Sentinel Newspaper spoke with the actor about the upcoming premiere, his career, and inspiring the younger generation.
LOS ANGELES SENTINEL (LS): Thanks for speaking with us. You’re an actor, dancer, singer, and director. How do you balance your creative talents?
OBBA BABATUNDÉ: I identify with what I do, not as a job, but as a calling. It’s what I’m called to do. It’s what I’m here on the planet to do. My service is given through my gifts, talents, and creative expressions.
LS: You mentioned your calling. That’s something that people seek throughout their lifetime. How does someone find their own calling?
BABATUNDÉ: We all have talents. To grow that talent, you must give it commitment. If you give something, whatever it is, but particularly what your gift is, the opportunity to grow happens with commitment. You will then see, you will find joy and happiness, because your working in servitude that brings others joy and happiness. Talent doesn’t have to be only entertainment. You can be a talented doctor, lawyer, teacher, or whatever you want. But whatever it is, develop it. That’s the key to happiness as well as the functioning in your calling.
LS: Yeah especially with social media, it seems harder to find your happiness when you are comparing yourself with others.
BABATUNDÉ: The only thing permanent in life is change. We have divided our perceptions of time by past, present, and future. You brought up social media. It’s all about present, present, present. We have to identify that nothing stays the same. I’m not damning social media but lets be real here, many live their life on social media. They are going through harrowing, depressing, hard times because they are looking and measuring their life with what somebody posted. It doesn’t even have to be true or factual. If your going through a difficult time, stick with it because it will change.
LS: Let’s switch gears here. You’ve been busy. Can you talk about you’re latest role in ‘Little Fires Everywhere?’
BABATUNDE: It’s a wonderful production. I play for the second time as Kerry Washington’s father. She is one of my favorite individuals! As for Reese Witherspoon, she is kind and one who is about empowering women. We have a wonderful time.
LS: And you are also gearing up for the season premiere of S.W.A.T.
BABATUNDÉ: I’m always looking to bring fully realized human beings to every character I portray. In this upcoming season of S.W.A.T, you will see how my character, Daniel Harrison Sr., evolves with his relationship with his family and son. There will be a lot of challenges between my character’s family. It’s going to be fire.
LS: I have to end the interview on this interesting fact. I saw that you love horses?
BABATUNDÉ: I am a horse whisperer. I train horses and have for over 21 years with horse whispering techniques. That means it is all natural and horse friendly. Horses are pure spirits. They don’t have egos. The way to earn a horse’s trust is through investment and consistency. If we learn that as human beings, we are going to be in a better place. It is also a departure from the entertainment industry, so it brings me balance in my life. Balance is necessary. You cannot be a fully realized human being without balance.