I have often remarked that positive things started happening to me, in the context of the entertainment industry, when I started using social media extensively in 2009. I connected with and became great friends with Okema T. Moore within a few months. She has quite a story to tell. Read on …
1.Please introduce yourself to our readers.
Okema T. Moore: My name is Okema T. Moore. I am an overall creative and entrepreneur. As a performer, I am a SAG-AFTRA and AEA Actor and Singer. I work across platforms – TV, Film, Theatre and New Media. Off camera/stage I am a producer, writer and occasional director. Again, I work across disciplines – film, TV, theatre and new media/ commercials. I am also a smart aleck and can be goofy when I’m comfortable with the people I’m around.
2. When did you realize you wanted to be a part of the entertainment industry?
I am not sure this is when I “realized” it, but I can remember as far back as being about two years old, on my family’s land in Guyana, South America. I was sitting on my father’s lap as he played guitar and I couldn’t talk very well yet, but I could sing. From there, I went on to join the cast of Sesame Street at about six years old and it was one facet of the business or another since then. I knew very early that this was where I wanted to be. Creating and performing.
3. How did you break into the industry; what was your first position in the industry?
As I said, my first professional gig was on Sesame Street as a Grouchkateer and a part of what I think was called Big Bird’s flap gang. I also sang for vignettes on the show.
4. What professional training have you had?
I am a trained actor and singer. I have had professional acting and vocal coaches since I was small and most recently I have worked with Tracey Moore. As a singer I have worked with Craig Derry, Milira and over the last almost decade I’ve been working with coach to the stars Ankh Ra, known most for his work with Diddy and K. Michelle. I am looking forward to finding the opportunity to work with Charles Perry though.
5. You have so many so many job titles/disciplines. Explain your progression towards becoming a multi-hyphenate.
Becoming a multi-hyphenate was not my initial goal. I was always an actor and singer, but the rest really developed out of necessity. I was a writer initially as a songwriter then I became a journalist and blogger. However, I was so tired of not booking great roles. It was early 2000’s and the amazing roles and opportunities that exist now were not as accessible. So I started writing and producing to create what I couldn’t find. The juggle is not easy, but I’ve become very capable of compartmentalizing myself, my time and my attention. That and great time management helps me keep things in order. But in all honesty, I do have my moments when I can drop the ball. *shrug* lol However, at this time my main focus tends to be acting with producing/writing right on its heels.
6. What is your favorite discipline?
I am an actor. If people ask what I do, that is the deal. If I EVER had to choose, acting would be it. Fortunately though, I don’t!
7. What is your favorite past project?
To-date, playing Tommy in Wine in the Wilderness in Pittsburgh was my favorite straight play, Lorrell in Dreamgirls is my favorite musical, and playing Fionna in Deka-log is my favorite film/tv part.
8. You are based in NYC. Do you think that is the best place to be to achieve your goals?
For me, I have made NY a great place that works for me and over the years there are so many shows that shoot here. There is also Broadway (a very serious goal of mine). However, I don’t negate the opportunities that exist in LA. When I am blessed to have an exclusive bi-coastal agent, I will be sure to be out there for work as well. I also know that both ATL and New Orleans are thriving markets as well.
9. What is the most memorable thing that has happened to you in the entertainment industry?
I have a million stories to be honest. But the most memorable was this year. To take a script that I wrote on my own and produce it while playing the lead…it was a very satisfying moment for me. I have had work that I have been blessed to co-write and produce. But finally having something of my very own to star in, it was simply surreal. I can’t wait to share it! It’s called Shh…
10. How have you imparted your knowledge to others?
I am ALWAYS sharing my knowledge and always sharing my insight, feelings and inspiration. I am a teaching artist, so I impart into children. I also am a chaperone for the Black College Tour here in NY and any of my students interested in communications and/or media arts, I always avail myself to them beyond the tour to encourage them and share. With peers and colleagues, I am always doing coffee with people or dinner and drinks to talk shop, share info and techniques, etc. I also am known to barter with others to assist with their project if they can’t financially compensate me when we can make that work. But in this new year I am developing a writer’s room here in Brooklyn of a talented collective for a few specific projects and am working on both an emotional support group for creatives as well as a think tank for women of color.
11. What is the Okema T. Moore “brand”?
Hmm, my brand itself used to be all over the place. I do a lot! However, as the years have gone by and with different experiences, both positive and negative, I realize that my brand is LOVE. I push love of the craft, love of our stories, whether they are fairytales or nightmares, love of one another, love of flaws and quirks and idiosyncrasies. Love of self. Love of quality. Love of excellence. The MOOREthanEnuff Brand is LOVE.
12. Tell us about MOOREthanEnuff Media and Consulting.
MtE Media and Consulting has been growing organically over time for years. It is the umbrella for all that I do in entertainment. Through this brand I have written commercials, short films, tv pilots, produced branded pieces, etc. I am a grassroots media organization and I field work throughout the indie community. However, the intent is to over time, grow the brand to employ in-house creatives to take on major scale projects. However, at this time keeping it small and selective works for me.
13. What is your current project?
I’m currently working on a series of personal projects that include film, tv and a book. I am also the lead in an upcoming Shauntay Cherry film, Stalk His A** which I also co-produced with Shauntay for her company Heart of David Films. I have just booked my first lead role in a feature, but am not at liberty to speak on it in-depth. But let’s just say I’m working out and shaping up for it and it’s going to be unlike any other role I’ve played to date. I am submitting to a few industry programs and just continuing to love, live and learn!
14. Tell us about a major obstacle you have had to overcome in your career.
My largest obstacle in this game has been me. My initial trepidation when it came to my worth, my worthiness of success, my abilities as a writer and actor. I was so scared to fail but even more fearful of succeeding. I was so nervous that I didn’t have the goods. That everyone was better than I was. My training was in pieces and over time. I was not a product of a conservatory education in any of my disciplines and I used to allow others to make me feel that meant I was not as good as those that were. I wasn’t legacy of the business and had been a part of so many false starts over the years. But you know what…WHO CARES! I work hard, I train, I learn, I ingest, I grow, I am open to the fact that I don’t know it all and am looking to learn all I can to be great. My life has not been easy or perfect but it’s contributed to my talent as it stands today and also to the woman I am. 2018 is my year of ME. My year to believe in and bet on Okema for the win. And you know what, so far, so good.
15. What would be your “dream” project?
I have a dream project that I don’t want to really detail, this biz is not the most scrupulous. But let’s just say it chronicles the history of my people in their true royalty and how that was taken down and erased. It would require a huge budget, a dramaturg to do tons of research with me, names and superbly talented new faces and time…but I will do that film before I leave this earth, Lord Willing.
16. What are you doing to keep your name out there and advance your career?
I am very adept at branding myself. I stay in touch with folks by working a lot, by being very active on my social and by connecting with people. I nurture my relationships and push to keep them genuine and real. I also speak on a lot of panels, do press when it’s appropriate and commit myself to just putting out quality work. I also love to blog and write pieces that push people to be their best selves in this commonly ugly business, where not being genuine can be easy and tempting to get and stay ahead. Lastly, I ensure to participate in programs and groups in the business to keep my network open and operable.
17. What’s next for Okema T. Moore?
Happiness and the audacity to win.
18. What would you like to tell our readers?
Stay encouraged! Whatever you are purposed to do, if you commit to seeing that thing through you will make it happen. Stay forever a student. Stay forever grateful. Stay forever helpful, but don’t allow yourself to be used or damaged in the process. Don’t dull your light for anyone else’s comfort. Don’t allow what folks say about you in public or private to derail or deter your purpose if it’s not true. And don’t validate any of the foolishness that can take place in life by letting it steer you off course. Go Be GREAT! YOU are #MOOREthanEnuff
19. How can people get in touch with you?
My website is the most inclusive place to find me – www.MOOREthanEnuff.com
On social [Twitter and Instagram] I am @okematmoore and my company is @mtemediallc
I am most active on FB and IG on my personal pages. Come say hello!
I am so impressed by the wide range of the O-mazing Okema’s talents in the industry. We have learned she is an actor at heart. I have become a part of many of her projects via funding and other means.
Please provide feedback or questions in the Comments. I would really enjoy hearing from you.
Disclaimer: The author is not being financially compensated by MOOREthanEnuff Media and Consulting for this post.