What has your experience been like as an Executive Producer?
My experience as an Executive Producer has been a blessing because I've been able to learn how to run a full production by bringing stories to life with a team of people who share a similar vision. An Executive Producer/Show Runner can have its challenges because the entire production can fall on you and you become responsible for making sure the entire project comes together which sometimes can be stressful but rewarding.
What has it been like being nominated for an Emmy?
I studied the Emmy process and learned how to submit my projects to the Emmys. I used to watch Oscars, Grammys, Emmys, Tonys and other award shows and had my mind set on winning these awards one day. When I won my Emmy, I wasn't shocked that I won an award but I didn't believe that it would happen in the first two years of my career.
What have you learned most about yourself during the production?
I learned that I am a natural leader. I learned that I love creating art and have free range to create any story I want to create without judgement. I found love in helping people make their dreams come true with my scripts and projects. It's the best feeling in the world to provide for people on and off camera.
Tell us about your entertainment company.
Syndicate Marketing and Sports is focused and dedicated to each of our clients. We are passionate about philanthropy and community service. Passion to help athletes build an integrity-based foundation, which will help them to have a successful career on and off the field. Our knowledge and passion for sports marketing is second to none. This dynamic team has extensive experience running and organizing football camps, press conferences and charity events. We have brokered deals with corporate partners such as GMAC, Verizon, Adidas, Under Armour, as well as community service and youth development organizations.
What is your experience like working with a variety of artists?
This industry is a lot of fun. Do not mistake the fun for a lack of hard work, this job is a continuous grind that forces you to continue to grow. It's the best of both worlds I get to do what I love and help people reach their dreams which is my favorite part.
How do you process the competitive nature of the entertainment industry?
I look at the competitive nature of the entertainment industry and process it as though it were a bar to represent the levels of success. It is merely the barometer of what it takes to be fully proficient and great at what we do. That bar also serves as inspiration and motivation for those really passionate about this business. I am not naive enough to think that most people can’t distort that bar and also become too invested in the nature of competition and be cut-throat and vicious to attain that success, but those people I think forget that the competition isn’t with others but more with yourself. We are all here to challenge and become better versions of ourselves, and put that bar higher for the next generation of talents to follow.
What would be an ideal role for you and why?
An ideal role for me has always been a leading man in a comedy, I remember being really enamored with how talented and funny Eddie Murphy was growing up. He was really instrumental for the roles I wanted to portray on TV and film at a young age. Also coming from a small black theatre company on the South Side of Chicago, The Chicago Theatre Company, I really appreciate the role of the strong Black lead. Just a solid drama with a great story and a good character sounds fantastic. I don’t know what that story is and what that role is quite yet but if you’re out there and you’re reading this, I’m ready!. I want something that really challenges me to stretch, with a character and material that allows me to transform into someone else unrecognizable. Lastly, I see myself drawn to what I’ve seen my Parents and Grandparents watch when I was a Kid; Westerns, Sci-Fi, and Action Movies. I mean I really wanted to be a detective on New York Undercover, let me know if there’s a reboot!
What has been the most valuable lesson that you have learned in the industry?
The most valuable lesson that I’ve learned is not to give up and how not to take this business personally. It’s a business and if you hang in there long enough everyone gets a turn at success but there's no exact recipe for it either, so relax if it doesn't happen right away. In fact success is defined so differently for everybody that when it’s your turn you have to learn to let things go, relinquish any of the animosity stored up getting there and just count your blessings not your problems. For some success can be fleeting, others it can last a lifetime but it’s up to you to decide who you want to be when you get there. Enjoy the ride, clap for your friends genuinely, and enjoy yours wins along the way. Most importantly, be kind to yourself and when it applies don’t take this business too personal, the rejection, oversights, doubting, the missteps, the pitfalls and shortcomings, let it all go and just breathe in this special time you have to create, be an artist and do good work. If it gets too tough, know when to let it go and just be human, reconnect to your source, but if it’s meant to be and God’s willing, Never Give Up!
What has been your favorite role and why?
My favorite role still to this day has to be Troy Maxon, from Fences by August Wilson. I did this play in my senior year of college and It was special. It was my final production at Clark Atlanta University, and I had a full load of classes needed to graduate that semester. I was also currently President of the Gamma Kappa Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi, Fraternity Inc. and had no room for extra curricular. Originally being cast as Bono instead of Troy I felt confident I may be able to pull it off unscathed. Well, in short, the lead quit the week before the show went up and the director pulled the cast aside informing us the play would be canceled because the lead quit… UNLESS I learned all the lines for Troy in a week. I didn’t know how to say no but I didn’t say yes. I just showed up for the next rehearsals and that lasted all the way up through tech and went up the next week as Troy Maxon. Not only was this one of my BEST performances up to this point, I had members of Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre stop me after the show and say my performance was on par with any Alliance Theatre’s major productions and it was better than any college production they’d seen. He thoroughly enjoyed my portrayal of Troy Maxon. That stayed with me just as much as the process it took to learn this immensely dense character in a WEEK, bringing to life one of August Wilson’s most prolific pieces in Fences. It was also my Mother and great Aunts' first and last chance to see me perform in college before I graduated.
What has been the most challenging aspect of the industry?
The most challenging aspect of being in this business is the business itself. You must first learn what the entertainment industry is, and there are many wheels and moving parts in this business that make this thing go round. Being an actor is only a small part of the collaboration process, and the business by far is the most intricate part. The expression time is money is something you don’t fully grasp until you're on a set that takes millions of dollars to pull off, and to imagine the magnitude of time, resources, people, planning and expertise that goes into filmmaking defines how much discipline and research that is required. Learning what it takes to be a part of this industry is crucial and one of the best things a young actor can do.
With all of the auditions, what keeps you motivated?
I think what keeps me motivated the most after all the auditions I’ve done, and I’ve done A LOT, is the possibility of the next one being the, YES, I’ve been waiting for to change my life. We go through this business constantly pummeled in the face with rejection and “NO” after “NO”, until we stumble upon that one, YES. It’s motivating as hell to imagine the day you finally figure it out. All the sweat equity, classes, money spent, poverty, background work, dead end jobs, moving around, roommates, lost sleep, mistakes, tears, self-doubt and flat out disrespect you’ve endured finally ending and one day hearing, YES! Your agent calling to inform you, “you booked the big one”! This is one of the best, and most indescribable feelings an actor can use as motivation with auditions and I do! You’re literally only one yes away from a new life.
About Jason Mimms
Jason Mimms began his career in Atlanta on B.E.T.’s “Hell Date” Season 2 while still a student at Clark Atlanta University, graduating class of 2008 with a B.A. in Theatre Arts. After college and with new commercial success he moved to Los Angeles with that momentum to further his career as a working actor.
Mimms is most known for his appearances in AllBLK Network’s “Stuck With You”, TruTv’s Laff Mobb’s “Laugh Tracks”, B.E.T’s “Boy Bye” and “Her Only Choice” along with several commercials, including a spot during Super Bowl LIII in 2019.
As a proud member of the Gamma Kappa Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. he continues to embody the CAU motto, “Find A Way or Make One,” creating his own comedy series, JU-jU.
How can we follow you?
You can follow at IG: @Jason_Mimms and Facebook: Jason_Mimms
How have the arts impacted your life?
The arts have been a part of my life since I was a kid. In school we would sing old folk songs and paint. My favorite art forms are music and photography. There was always music in our house. We had one of those old floor-model radios. The kind with the recessed turntable and two big speakers on each end. Music provides an escape for many of us, which is why I think music is so important to Black people. From the secret messages hidden in Negro Spirituals to Black American Anthems like Marvin Gaye’s, “What’s Going On,” music speaks to the many different aspects of our lives. My mother loved taking pictures of us with her Polaroid Instamatic. We hated those photos because she never let us prepare for the pics. It didn’t matter whether in the bathtub or just outside playing in the mud, if she had that camera you were going to be photographed. I hated those pictures at the time, but as I’ve gotten older and see old photos of my grandparents and other relatives, who are no longer here, I appreciate the effort more than ever.
What inspired you to write your book?
I initially started the book because I was angry, so it started out as a journal. I had a lot of emotions surrounding the death of my son. That anger took a few different forms before it decided to reside in the form of this book. I wanted to start advocacy groups for young fathers to advocate for fair treatment in the domestic court setting. There were many other iterations, but I landed on writing my story. I started seeing a therapist a few years ago, and was able to reconcile most of my anger, and the book flowed out of me.
What has been your most memorable reaction to someone who has read the book?
A good friend and former employer bought the online version of the book a few days after it was released. She says she read it in one night because she just couldn’t put it down. She called me the next day to tell me about it. She is a woman who does not mince words or spares feelings. My favorite saying of hers is, “Why lie when the truth will do.” She told me she read it and that it was a really good read. She said that it was so good that she bought 50 copies for me to give to people that may need to hear a story like this and couldn’t afford to buy it.
Where can the book be purchased?
I self-published my book, “Walking in Truth:Fatherhood in June 2020 and it can be purchased on Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/Walking-Truth-Fatherhood-Tony-Christon-Walker/dp/B08BWFVXXB ).
How do you show up today as a gay black man?
I show up as a Black man, first. I am openly gay, but that is a level of marginalization that if I chose to I could hide. There are other queer identified people who are not Black or who we call “People of Color (POC).” Many POC’s live in their marginalized identities when it’s convenient. Although it’s technically possible to not show up as gay, I always show up as black. That’s a privilege Black gay people don’t have. I also show up to most in the gay community as an advocate and elder. The community work I do in the HIV field puts me in contact with people and situations that require a lot of caring and empathy. Being over fifty, I hear the term “OG”, Unc, Pops, and I wonder, “when did this become my reality?” Queerness hits a little different when you’re Black. Not only do you have to deal with homophobia from your own people, but the racism from white gays is just as bad as their straight counterparts. People are always going to see me as a Black man first, so I’ve had to learn to live in both identities, authentically.
How have you been treated in the black community?
I mentioned earlier that I live at the intersection of two marginalized communities and I fight with both communities while trying just to exist. The Black community is still very homophobic, which is problematic. Basing your belief system on misquoted and mistranslated ideas is crazy. The Black community, especially the Black church would have us trade out parts of us that it doesn’t approve. The entire love the sinner and hate the sin message is detrimental and problematic and we have plenty of allies who still spew this nonsense. If I can get people I encounter to see passed “whom they think I sleep with,” then I can make new friends. I’ve had some friends that started off rather distant who are now like family, and they all say how I changed the way they thought about gay people. I’m not sure what that means, but if it means that they can accept us and live in peace, I’m good. What I try to get Black people to see is that we are all black in the eyes of America, and we are all we have. Because no matter if you’re gay or straight, America will see you as black.
What advice would you give a young gay person today about getting through life?
My advice to young gay people today is simple: Live your life. Today’s queer kids have so many outlets and good role models to follow. Although the prevailing attitude about homosexuality is slowly changing, there are still plenty of people out there who just don’t get it. Fxck them people. Spend your time with, and on people who love you.
About Tony Christon-Walker
My name is Tony Christon-Walker and I am a life-long resident of Birmingham, Alabama. I grew up in the Dolomite neighborhood in the 70’s and 80’s. As a young, Black gay boy, I didn’t have a lot of role models or people to pattern my life after, so I did what everyone else did. I tried until I figured it out. Figuring out meant that I learned by trial and error.
The results of my trials and errors are pretty amazing. I raised two straight Black boys into manhood. As a result of that I have three beautiful granddaughters: India, Lauren, and Carman. My mom was very young when she had me, but back then, children were the responsibility of the entire house. My grandparents and my mom played an active part in my upbringing.
Of all the jobs I’ve had, the hardest was being a father. I didn’t know what it meant to be a father since mine was not active in my life. However, I did know what kind of father I didn’t want to be. Despite the pitfalls of life, I lived a fairly normal life. In 2011, my youngest son died from complications of Chrohn’s Disease. It was at that moment that my entire life turned upside down, but started to make sense. I was consumed with grief at the time because as you will discover in the book, I felt like I lost him twice.
The next few years, I let my rage consume me. It was only after I found a good therapist was I able to reconcile my past and move forward with my life. In 2020, I self-published a fictionalized memoir of my life entitled, “Walking in Truth: Fatherhood.” The book follows the life of Marvin Waller and the path he takes to becoming an adult. This was my first attempt at writing. The book is transparent, honest, and thought-provoking. Human beings struggle with many things. Forgiveness is the one thing that if we master, we become the masters of our destiny.