Nicole M. Stevenson spoke to one of the most talented men of his generation Darrin Dewitt Henson for HW, who certainly has more to offer than meets the eye. As an actor, we know him as Lem Van Adams in Soul Food, and his lead role in Stomp the Yard. In front of the camera he has worked with Queen Latifah, Vivaca A. Fox, Hill Harper, Darius McCrary, Golden Brooks and Deborah Cox. Behind the camera he has directed Malik Yoba and Cynda Williams. As a choreographer, he worked for Jennifer Lopez, Britney Spears, legendary hip hop DJ, Scott La Rock at age 14, and his unforgettable dance routine for ‘N Sync’s “Bye, Bye, Bye.” As a businessman he has sold over 3 million copies of his hit video, Darrin’s Dance Grooves. He finds time to work on an AIDS awareness campaigns, to increase understanding of HIV/AIDS in urban communities. Here he muses on his multiple talents, his inspirations, being a role model and new Harlem.
Nicole Stevenson: Which came first the acting or dancing?
DH: Acting came first I started my career at the age of twenty-two in a play called ”Tragedy” it was on Broadway.
NS: What do prefer more acting or dancing?
DH: I prefer both whether I’m on tour or stage its the same rush. Your connected to thousands of people, or work when I was in Soul food in I was in argument with my wife played by Belinda Williams. It’s the same kind of rush. I love doing both and still do both actually.
NS: What have you produced?
DH: A film called “Violations” starring Malik Yoba for Show Time and a dance instructional video. The video is used in classrooms, to loose weight, schools, nursing homes.
NS: Can you describe yourself in three words or less?
DH: Spiritual, Dynamic and strong.
NS: Who has inspired you either in acting or dance?
DH: MJ, Malcolm x, Martin L King, Sojourner Truth my Dad, Scott Sterling (Roc) John Travolta, Marcus Garvey, Laurence Fishburne, Muhammad Ali,Denzel Washington, Michael Jackson, and Spike Lee, everyone I mentioned is heroic to me.
NS: What are you currently working on?
DH: Working on the development of Darin Henson. I’m working on Darin Henson but if you mean movies I’m working on four films. A comedy “The Hustle”, drama “Blood” Rickey Schroeder, horror “My Place In The Horror”. I’m currently in production with In the Groove an urban dance film in NY its about a guy that grew up in Harlem NY, trying to survive the spoils of the economy and some of the things thrown his way and through dance he’s able to over come obstacles in present day.
NS: Why did you chose Harlem for the setting?
DH: I’m a New Yorker, Harlem has some great things going on right now. The energy and transference in Harlem. As I hear they’ve given Harlem a new name.
NS: Now, your doing dance seminars?
DH: I’ve been doing seminars for over 10 years. Anywhere between five hundred-twenty something people attend.
NS: Are the seminars free?
DH: No, they’re not, it’s fifty dollars and up. We’ve traveled all over the world.
NS: Would you be coming back to NY?
DH: Absolutely, I was just there in October, next we’ll be coming to Buffalo NY.
NS: How would people be able to obtain information about the seminars?
DH: They could go to my web site or log on to my myspace account at www.myspace.com/darrinhenson.
NS: What made you want to direct?
DH: While on the set of Soul food I developed a desire to tell a story, as an actor. You want to tell a story from your perspective. Directors tell a story, it’s natural.
NS: Do you consider yourself a role model?
DH: I consider myself to be in the lime light,I’m in the public’s eye.You have to be responsible because of the media were under a microscope, some of the choices we make others will want to make. We have to walk in a positive light, because we inspire others. People will emulate what were doing, because they want to be in that lime light.
NS: Please leave words of inspiration for our youth?
DH: Stay prepared so you won’t have to get prepared. Open yourself to receive, people don’t accept and their not able to receive. If you don’t fill up, you will have nothing to give.