From a grainy trip down the filmstrip to rolling onto the main show on the road, actor and musician ALGEE SMITH steals the scene with a high resolute performance for upcoming biopic motion-picture, Detroit.
Reeling down the pike in rapid and boffo sequences, Algee Smith continues to establish himself frame by frame as a young actor to watch out for. Being no stranger to the camera, he starred in multiple TV series like Disney’s Let It Shine and 2014’s Earth To Echo, but is well- known for his powerful depiction of Ralph Tresvant in Chris Robinson’s three-part biopic miniseries, The New Edition Story. His character plunges into the rocky details of their consequential stint in the music industry and successfully brings to life the riveting tale of legendary R&B hit group New Edition, as they unveil the nitty-gritty facets brewing behind the curtains of the big screen. “Having Ralph there to actually guide me was the best thing. He would always tell me not to try and be exactly like him, but just to do my best translating the emotions of these real life events that happened.” He continues, “The experience was literally a life-changing one. I’m blessed to say I’ve worked with Chris Robinson, New Edition, and all of my castmates. Come on, I was working with Kenny ‘Babyface’ Edmonds, Jimmy Jam, and Terry Lewis. Working with people of that caliber gives you no choice but to grow.”
With roles that demand truth in every line, he explains how taking cues from a story reflecting reality is a little more intense. “There’s pressure to do the person you’re playing justice,” Algee explains. Now one of the leads in the compelling film Detroit by Kathryn Bigelow, Algee explores the fate of one of the characters trapped in an inescapable and violent period in the Algiers Motel. “I can’t give away too much [about my character], but I can say that he has a very interesting journey that will de nitely pull at your heartstrings.” With a story that sparked the largest uprising in United States’ history known as the 12th Street Riot, the stakes are undeniably high, but donning a convincing face of a victim, Algee wraps up with a justified narration of the macabre. “It’s telling a part of a story that hasn’t been told. I feel the media always finds a way to tell you what they want you to hear, and not exactly what happened.”
“Committing to the character for me is just being completely open to go places, physically and mentally, that allow me to get the emotion across on screen.”
Coming to the point of attack, Algee surprises us with his smooth sailing transition to being the renowned pop singer. With most biopics being a hit or miss, Algee scores a home run by being an artist himself and having created his own debut single, “She Say.” “I was always into music ever since I was nine. I didn’t get into acting until I was 15 when my music managers introduced me to my first agent Joy Pervis, but I did always know that I wanted to entertain,” the multi- talented actor says. “I feel most connected to myself when I’m expressing a feeling either through singing or acting.”
For Algee Smith, his kaleidoscopic performances breathe life to the cardboard cutouts of cinema and go beyond the pages and borders of coining a phrase. “Committing to the character for me is just being completely open to go places, physically and mentally, that allow me to get the emotion across on screen.” Flashing in the eye of glamour and set on a foray for stardom, his good sense of direction steers him to a humble yet bright future ahead. “I’ve learned a lot from every role I’ve played. Rather, it’s a new way of delivering lines, and learning how to go about handling a similar situation in my life.”
By Bianca Serrano
Photographed by John Russo