Saturday, April 28, 2012

Empowering Us All

On my way to the gym this morning, Larry (creator/director of DTLA The Series) called to tell me he had shown one of my scenes to a close friend of his. Without even having seen the rest of the series, his friend cried, apparently moved by the honesty of the performances. The scene, which was particularly pivotal to my character’s arc, was also extremely personal to me. While we were shooting it, I really felt like I was sharing a moment from my own life. Hearing that his friend was moved to tears by this particular scene was extremely touching... and affirming. I walked into the gym thinking, ‘See? I AM a good actor!’ (Yes, we really are bottomless pits of insecurity and we need constant reassurance.)

Twenty minutes later, a tall man walked up to me while I was in between sets on the fly machine. I plucked out my earbuds and smiled, assuming from his kind eyes that he was a fan. Byron apologized for bothering me and proceeded to tell me that he was a cop (one of LA’s Finest) and that he and his husband absolutely loved Noah’s Arc. He said that his husband ‘looked up to’ my character in particular, which lead me to believe that he was probably the gentler of the two. Then Byron told me that three years ago, his husband died in a car accident, much like the one at the end of the second season... which knocked the wind right out of me. I wasn’t prepared for that twist at all. He kept talking and found myself sitting there on the fly machine, struggling not to burst into tears. (Anybody who knows me knows that I have a hard time holding it together whenever the conversation turns to children suffering, loved ones dying or anyone believing they don’t deserve to love and be loved.) He could see I was upset and again apologized... I inhaled and did everything in my power not to cry. Then Byron told me that losing his husband and being so moved by the characters on Noah’s Arc had emboldened him to finally come out to his police department. After years of silence, he has managed to integrate his life in ways he had never imagined possible. He thanked me for my work and for being 'so good' and I shook his hand, wanting more than anything to jump up and hug him (he was very tall), but we were in the middle of the gym and I was already about to lose my shit. Then he walked away and continued with his workout.

I worked out for about five more minutes but knew I needed to just get into my car and cry a little so I left without finishing...

I’m not sharing this to brag or to reveal that I'm a big softy. I’m not here to remind you how profoundly life-changing that little cable series was for that tiny demographic. I’m sharing this to remind you of how incredibly powerful EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU can be by living your lives honestly. There are so many people who are still uncomfortable with themselves--either because they’re gay or they’re Muslim or they’re overweight or they’re differently-abled or ethnic or ill or whatever... The example that you can set with a little self-respect and respect for those around you is more profound than you could ever imagine.

You’re thinking, “No Darryl, you’re playing characters on television, so of course people can see you. Nothing I do would ever make any difference.” But that’s not true. You have no idea who is watching and learning from you. YES, YOU! There could be a little girl on your block who feels empowered to respect herself and not do herself harm because she sees you and your girlfriend walking side by side down the street. There could be a staunch, church-going woman at your job who overhears you talking about your love for a cable series about four black gay guys who ends up watching the show and calling and reconnecting with her estranged gay son.

YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW POWERFUL YOU ARE. So just keep living honestly. Keep living with integrity and compassion and respect. You are making a difference.

 Thank you for reading.

21 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing that moment with us Darryl and your words of encouragement. I think we often forget that we have the power to encourage and help others sometimes just by living our lives honestly and setting positive examples. Thanks for the reminder and being one of those positive examples. :-)

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  2. Thanks for this post! I really needed to read something like this because I was beginning to doubt what I was doing with my blog. The posts have lessen to only one blog a month, but I'm trying to hold on to it because I know it's reaching someone out there. Your post is reassurance that although I'm doing something on a small scale, it may be helping so many. Thank you again for this inspirational post!

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  3. Darryl. You are a very special Man. It was both a pleasure and an honor to read this. It made the few times I've met you feel far more significant and memorable. That series may in fact done far more than you think for all walks of life. As you so profoundly state; Truth, Honest and Integrity spans a wide margin of varying backgrounds. You were in fact brilliant on that show; and more people need to tell you that to your face. It wasn't just groundbreaking; it was in many ways life-affirming and way before its time. I instantly think of the "Catch One" episode and laugh, mostly because of its "Gilligan's Island" (don't question it) theme of..."they just did..that's why, so just enjoy. And I just remember feeling 13 years old again and recalled many joyous moments in time that I hadn't thought of for decades. The Police Officer story is in fact quite touching; and it made me tear up...really. However, that your paths crossed in that way and you had the insight and respect to respond publically is most impressive to me. You're one of the most honest and true Men I've ever had the honor of meeting..really. THANKS. Quite Sincerely, earl.

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  4. Thank you for your post. This was beautiful! Simply beautiful. I AM AFFIRMING YOU MY DEAR....YOU ARE AN AMAZING ACTOR KEEP expanding in your experience on earth....Yve Kemp

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  5. OMG DARRYL MY EYES ARE FILLED WITH TEARS . I WANT TO THANK YOU FOR PLAYING NOAH WATCHING THE SHOW SHOWED ME HOW WONDERFUL IT IS TO LOVE AND BE LOVED NOAH,WADE,CHANCE,EDDIE,ALEX,TREY,AND,RICKY MADE ME FILLED THAT LOVE AND ROMANCE DO EXIST . I KNOW IT WAS JUST A TV SHOW BUT THROUGH PATRIK'S VISION ALL OF YOU MADE IT FILL AS REAL AS REAL CAN GET . YOU ARE AN AMAZING ACTOR AND I AM VERY PROUD TO SAY THAT I AM A FAN.


    MUCH LOVE AND RESPECT ......GIGI Morris

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  6. I hate you,Darryl! Coming out of the closet was a DUMB move, you won't work much and your career will slowly fade away...I wish you'd do the same! Your acting is mediocre at best so stop lying to yourself also NA didn't require much acting, you were just being yourself, sweet, naive, and gay! You know you have failed at acting but there's always gay pride parades and gay speaking events at schools. Go away Darry Stephens, many people hate you.

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    1. Are you serious? Hate is ignorance! Not only is he brave for coming out, he did a great job on Noah's Arc. Trust me you don't speak for everyone.

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    2. First off i DESPISE the term "coming out of the closet".....NO ONE should be in a "closet" to begin with! I find it DISGUSTING & SICKENING that a large number of gay men & women are forced to live a life of secrecy as to their TRUE identity because of IGNORANT, HATEFUL BIGOTS SUCH AS YOURSELF! How would YOU feel if someone hated you simply just for being YOU?!....& you were forced to secretly contain your TRUE self while projecting a false public image just so you can be "accepted" by society?! Could you ever be TRULY happy?! Do they have the right to do so?!.....If your intelligence is mediocre at best.....your answer would be NO!......Soooo what gives you & others like you that right?! I commend Darryl for living HIS life the way he SHOULD be....being true to himself & happy & comfortable in his own skin!.....which is MUCH more than i can say about you.....a closeted cowardly bigot who doesn't even have the courage to rear it's ugly head.....why are you hating from "a closet" Mr/Ms Anonymous??? Sorry to pop your BUBBLE, but you do NOT speak for EVERYONE in your commentary on Darryl's talent & career! YOUR opinion is just that....YOUR opinion! There are no facts to back up your claim, on the contrary....Darryl's fans have spoken LOUD & CLEAR! His acting credits speak for itself!.... Open your closet door or pop your bubble, but get it together Honey! By the way Darryl is well aware of Pride parades & speaking events....he's been there done that & will probably be at the next one, & he will be looking FABULOUS!.....now YOU go away!....go wake YOUR town & tell the HATEFUL people that Darryl is well loved!~~~~NOW GO!.....P.S. in case it went over your head or it didn't penetrate your bubble....i purposely utilized your terms of words to aid in my sarcasm :)) ....Signed Jacquie Spates aka PoeticMpress....

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  7. Really appreciated the post....very touching! Really miss seeing your great acting role in the Arc series!! Enjoyed every production I have ever seen you perform in as the talented actor you are! Can't wait to see you in your next role!!

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  8. Awesome, loving words that everyone need to embrace, love you, God Bless!

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  9. Yall need to get right and quit bs'n on D.S blog! That nigga ain't hurting nobody because he's gay, and we all know that he's a bitch! He talk like a bitch, walk like a bitch and act more like a bitch than a bitch do...must be a bitch. At least he know he a bitch.... that's why he aint even bother goin in the closet in the first place. Bitches know their place , he's proud he's gay and you can't be hating on a proud bitch.

    Darryl Stephens don't have time for non- supporters,y'all, he keep it real. A bitch gone do what a bitch gone do and he classy with it, he don't have time for haters. Go hate on Wilson Cruz if you just gotta be hating on somebody, or better yet go hate on Tyler Perry, he ain't proud to be a bitch like Darryl and Wilson Cruz but he got plenty money to hate on, or if u want you can hate on me.

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    1. How are you gonna try to be supportive of Darryl at the same time insulting him?!....Your attacking the so called "hater" above for being hateful, yet you're directing them to go "hate" on Wilson Cruz.....Hate IS hate no matter at whom it is directed towards and should not be encouraged or tolerated.....PERIOD!.....Your ENTIRE message is contradictory!......#FAIL!!!!

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  10. Thank you Darryl! You are an amazing actor, but I absolutely loved Noah's ARC the best! I am not gay, but I have a loved 1 who is, & I support her whole-heartedly. Thank you for being an amazing role model!

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  11. Darryl thank you for sharing. It's so important to share incidents like this because it's true, we all have, even if we don't realize it, some type of influence on other people's lives. I see you as one whose influence is always positive. I'm glad that you're being encouraged by people that come to you and share how much you've impacted their lives and for what reason. Well, you know how I feel about you. I love you man! And by the way - yes you are a good actor, a very good actor.


    #MUCHLOVE

    Pammy

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  12. What if he WASN'T the gentler of the two? LOL

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    1. He DID say.....PROBABLY the gentler of the two......Probably = maybe, most likely, not certain....:))

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  13. Buddha – “Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.”

    As someone who understands that this human experience as Simona is a brief opportunity to serve and demonstrate who I really am (an expression of Love), I completely agree. We don’t have time to lie to anyone, ourselves or God. It is an AMAZING feeling to give someone their True Self by Being You. Sometimes we forget that we are Light and we’re blessed to be reminded in the form of example, so that we could lead ourselves out of darkness. Grandma sang, “This little light of mine” has a renewed meaning, a purpose and even a responsibility. Thank you for the reminder!

    You really are an AWESOME actor/artist… Truthfully;-)

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  14. My assistant is very close to Larry Kennar, and says he is the most careing, passionate and talented guy. Sounds like you're in good hands. She also said she heard you were going the be huge off this Downtown La show. Congrats, Darryl.

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  15. Hello Darryl, I just wanted to thank you for sharing such an amazing encounter you had that day. The comment that you made that we have no idea how powerful we are, is so very true. Sometimes the smallest things that at first seem insignificant can have such a profound and positive effect. Once again just wanted to thank you for sharing that special encounter with your fans. :)

    P.S. Loved Noah's Arc and I miss it! The cast, writers, and crew did such a a great job! I wish you all the best in your future endeavors! :)

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  16. All I want to say is that I am not gay but I love Noah's Arc, the series and the movie. Many people should not look at the gender roles but the obstacles everyone go through with, whether gay or straight. I wish it was more! I plan on buying the whole package deal.

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  17. I know its July and Im a little late in reading this massage from Darryl. First, I would like to say to Darryl is that you are amazing! As a man,a Actor and a person. I admire you because of who you are to yourself and to your fans. The way you give so much of yourself to Us and how you let us see so much. It takes a lot of courage to let strangers into your life and open yourself to the negative so that some Boy or girl,man or woman can look and see that they are going to be Ok. I had a cousin who was very close to me that died of Aids some years ago. He never said that he was Gay, but we as a close family of cousins knew.US being Ignorance I look at people like you trying to get the message across that knowledge is power and can save lives that I sometimes wish there was a show like Noah's arc or DTLA back then. So when you get negative feedback Just look up in be encouraged Because the message you are sending is
    bigger then the negative. That's why i will always be a fan!!

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