By Tara Gates Anderson, Business & Lifestyle Editor
After having the opportunity to sit down with the cast of Paramount Pictures motion picture Fences, an original play written by August Wilson, and through my personal observations in the business world, I learned some rules to the branding game that all businesses can embrace as they build.
Talking with seasoned actors Russell Hornsby, Mykelti Williamson, Stephen Henderson and actor on the rise Jovan Adepo, who all played pivotal characters in Fences, I learned how they work to make deliberate choices that protect their brand.
Rule 1: Represent your brand
Mykelti Williamson plays the character of Gabriel, Denzel’s brother, a disabled veteran who is the reason Troy Maxson is able to have a roof over his family’s head. When asked how he ensures he’s representing his brand well, Mykelti shared, “When selecting roles, I make conscious decisions not to victimize women, children and elderly people. When playing an injured person, I play it with dignity love and respect.” His take on entertainment spoke to how you “enter” and detain, “Go into” the presence and “hold captive” an audience. When you are holding someone’s attention and interest captive there is a huge responsibility involved and he is always cognizant and present to how he uses his gifts in that regard.
Take away strategy: Stay true to who you are as a person and what you have set forth for your brand to communicate to others without having to say a word. Demonstrate who you and your brand are by example. When you operate and display actions of sincerity, integrity and professionalism your reputation will pave the way for you.
Rule 2: Silence creates intrigue-Let your work speak for you
Although Jovan Adepo has been acting for just a short while, he’s landed some major roles. He has played the character of Michael Murphy in the HBO series The Leftovers since 2014. With a few indie films here and there, this Bowie State University graduate may have landed the role that will catapult his career to a new playing field. Adepo plays Cory Maxson, the son of Troy Maxson, who visibly desires a better future, but feels hindered by his father’s mindset. Starring opposite two time Academy Award Winner, Denzel Washington I am sure is no easy task for a somewhat newbie. What do we really know about Jovan Adepo? As I sat with Javon in our interview, his silence was just as intriguing as his portrayal of Cory, a character with a certain living in hesitation, but when his passion is stirred he pours his presence on to the screen creating an unforgettable performance. Whether it was the intensity in the room or the newness of the atmosphere of being involved in all that comes with a blockbuster film that is on everyone’s Oscar prediction list, Javon Adepo’s silence was intriguing, but his energy allows you to know his is ready to unleash his magic beyond the fence.
Take away strategy: Create an atmosphere that generates interest about your brand without being unapproachable. Leave people wanting to know more about what you do through creative engagement styles. Get people curious about the culture of your brand.
Rule 3: Think Legacy
Stephen Henderson has played alongside actors such as Eddie Murphy, Tom Hanks and now Denzel Washington, delivers a powerful performance in Fences. His character Bono speaks to the legacy he seeks to create. Playing a strong supporting character such as Bono, provided a deeper perspective to the film that was engaging and garners him definite recognition. Russell Hornsby brought a different perspective to legacy. Hornsby, who plays, Lyons, a son from Troy Maxson’s first marriage, is sort of a free spirit who doesn’t want to be confined to working for someone else. His dreams seem lofty, but at the same time awaken a passion inside of him that can’t quite seem to create financial independence. In our interview he spoke of how you move through life with power when you allow the pain of your past to let go of you so one can move forward past that impediment toward growth. When your growth is witnessed it enables people to see your legacy begin to unfold. Moving beyond what was to what is and will be brings progress.
Being a part of a cast and in a role that will, if Oscar predictions become reality, forever go down in history is a legacy builder. Personally, Fences has infiltrated my top five favorite films list, not solely because it’s a film with an all black cast, but a film that clearly articulates the importance of what you do throughout life will create how you are remembered and how you deeply touch others. Your legacy is the gift you leave behind for the world after you’re long gone, no matter how positive or painful it was to create. What legacy are you creating?
Take away strategy: Make well, thought out choices when it comes to your brand. Start with the end in mind. Create an experience that will create a legacy through your gifts that will resonate with others. Ask yourself some questions: 1. What do I want my business and brand to be remembered for? 2. How do I want people to articulate those memories with others? 3. What action has someone taken because of my example?
Article By The Officialist Lifestyle Editor Tara Gates-Anderson
Image Credits: The Seventh District