#322 – Follow Your Dreams With Darius Wallace

There’s something within you that doesn’t believe that you can be who you wanna be, do what you wanna do and have what you wanna have. And I wanna also suggest that you tell yourself a different story because there’s only one, you, there’ll never be another. And the desires in you are messages and their problems to be fulfilled. So if you have a desire, a strong desire, that desire is meant to be fulfilled. That’s why you’re here on the planet because you’re the only one that can fulfill it and you can do it uh by telling yourself a different story, one that’s of benefit to you and not of, you know, self destructive ideas about who you are. The to screen podcast is owned and made possible by ethical marketing service. If your business is struggling with Google or Facebook ads, maybe you’re frustrated, figuring it out or there’s a performance issue. Ethical marketing service has worked on hundreds of accounts and we can help in this area if you would like to find out if we can help.

It’s a free no salesy consultation call and the link is in the description, enjoy the episode Thomas Green here with ethical marketing service on the episode. Today, we have Darius Wallace. Darius, welcome. Oh, thank you. Glad to be here. I’m very glad to have you. Would you like to take a moment and tell the audience a bit about yourself and what you do? Sure. Um I’m an actor speaker and coach. I was born in Flint, Michigan. Um And people have probably have heard of Flint because of the water crisis wasn’t always like that. Uh have lived in New York L A, spent many years living in Memphis where I really um ironically enough, my acting career blossomed with Tennessee Shakespeare Company and I’ve done some film and television in, in the Tennessee area. And now I live in Atlanta, Georgia where I am based, still doing television and film.

And I do a one person show on Frederick Douglass around the country. I also coach uh presenters, speakers, sales people uh with how to be engaging with communication and how to be engaging with storytelling. And um that pretty much sums up what I, what I do and I’m a speaker. It sounds like you are quite a busy man. Oh, yes, yes, I am. Thank you for the introduction. Um And there is a lot to follow up on, but the uh the reason why I thought it would be great to speak to you is because you do, it sounds like you do have a fascinating story. Uh So are you happy to um start with wherever you feel is relevant in terms of where your story begins. Um Sure. Um Really, I, I was, I grew up in my early years of my youth, a very timid child, um almost afraid of my own shadow and so that my father, uh why is that what you say? Um I don’t know, I think, um at that time in my life when I think back on those days, everything just seemed to be gigantic to me when I, when I think back as a little boy.

Um And I think even in my adult life, I can be faced with things that seem so gigantic. Um I have to do a specific work to re uh frame my, my mind in order to, to take on the challenge. But um my father saw this movie and came back and was very excited because he was concerned that I was a timid child. So he took me to that movie. And when I came back, I was kicking, punching and screaming, I had just seen Bruce Lee’s into the Dragon. That was the beginning of my development of self-confidence. And uh when I found out that Bruce Lee was a childhood actor. Well, I wanted to be an actor and so eventually the desire to act took over my desire to be a martial artist. Um But because I was this size, which is 511, I’m not quite 100 and £90 but definitely very big for a 13 year old. I was a prime target for uh gang gang involvement.

So, um there was uh some uh young people in, in my hometown on a regular basis getting jumped by a, a variety of different gangs. And a friend of mine says, you know, you’re on the list and I’m like on the list, on the list to what? And he said you’re on the list of getting jumped because the only way out is to join this specific street gang called the top dogs. And so I was wanted to do it because I certainly didn’t want to get jumped because I had seen some of that happen. And so I decided to get involved. And during that period of time, it was a very, once again, it was, you know, a very terrifying period in my life. And, um, there was an incident in a high school where one of the students got into it with one of the gang members and he had a weapon and he gave me the weapon to hide and I did and the vice principal found out about it and called me into the office wondered where the weapon was. I wouldn’t tell him. He said, well, you, you have a choice to make you continue going the route you’re going and end up in juvenile jail or I can tell your daddy or you can do what I know you love to do, which is theater and let me be clear, you can send me the juvenile home, you can send me to jail.

Just don’t tell my daddy. And if you know anything about the, are you familiar with the show? Good times. I’m not, I’m sorry, it’s ok. It’s ok. But I bet a lot of you out there are, my father was the real James Evans. So, um, so fortunately I decided to, to step away from it to step into what I knew was what was really in me, even though I was flunking my eighth grade acting class, because every time I stood up in front of people, I would always forget my lines. And uh my high uh junior high school is what it was called back in those days. Teacher gave me a, a role in a Shakespearean play Midsummer Night’s Dream. I can’t remember the role. I had one line and she worked with me on that line and worked with me on that line and it, it seemed like I just couldn’t uh get it. And, um, then when the show happened, I remember standing under bright lights and I was hearing all the strange sounds, you know, Shakespeare.

Uh at that time, I didn’t understand, but I knew my cue and as soon as I heard my cue, I said my line, but my voice rang out throughout the whole theater and everybody looked and then the audience was my uh what would become my high school theater teacher. And he came up to me and he says, you know, you have a great presence on stage and a great voice. I want you to be a part of the theater program in the high school. And um so I did and he basically helped me with physicality by teaching me mine. And so I didn’t have to speak, but I could move which I was used to my body from martial art. So I was very comfortable with that. And I noticed I started getting responses from the audience and that was the beginning of uh a spurt of confidence in being in front of an audience. So to make a long story short, I ended up eventually getting the lead role in the play. Uh, one of the plays there, which didn’t happen normally that went to a senior in high school and it, it went to me and quite frankly, it was the eighties.

So it, it, it certainly wasn’t gonna go to an African American freshman, but it did. And um I did the show and I remember in the student matinee, which also was super terrifying. I went really, really well and walking home, a car slowly pulled up. I don’t know if you ever seen the movie Boyz n the Hood, but it was kind of like that. It was really slow, tinted windows, the windows rolled down and it was the top dogs and they said, uh, they call me Big Phil during that time, said get in. And so I got in the car and as he was driving, he was looking through the rear view and he says, Big Phil, you know, we saw you in that play and we think you’re talented, we’re proud of you and we don’t want you to go this route and they opened up the door, let me out of the car. And that was my last experience um with that particular uh gang. And from then on my life began to move onward and upward, not without trials and tribulations by the way.

Um But acting became my thing at 14 years old. Um And I went on to a performing arts school called Interlochen Arts Academy, which is a high school of the performing arts. But you live there. It’s a boarding school. Then I went on to college, Suny purchase theater arts school. I didn’t finish. I left Suny purchase. Um And uh eventually, um I had my first acting job which was playing Caliban in Shakespeare’s the Tempest. And um and then from then on, I started becoming more entrepreneurial. I wrote my first one person show which is on Malcolm X and eventually Martin Luther King, and then eventually Frederick Douglass. And that all just led to other theaters and uh tours and film and television. And um and then how I got into becoming a speaking coach was an accident. I was back in way back in 2000. 0 my God or so I was sitting in a Starbucks and a, a guy sat down with me and was started a conversation and he found out I was an actor and wanted me to coach his brokers to help their presentations.

And so I said, are you paying? Uh, he said yes and I said I’m in, even though I didn’t know what I was doing. And so I went and I basically just taught them acting stuff, um which worked and he loved it. So he began to kind of nurture me to other organizations and I began to coach them. And eventually his son started the foundation that uh sponsored TED X in Memphis, Tennessee. And so I became the Ted X Memphis coach and I was a Ted X Memphis coach for seven years and had did a couple of TED talks. Plus I’ve worked with over 100 TED X speakers um that basically snowballed into me, being asked um uh frequently to coach people that need help in their presentation, whether it’s to speak on stages, they already uh seasoned speakers or they’re terrified and they’re in the corporate world and they’ve been hired where they now have to do presentations.

Um And I helped them with their self-confidence so that in a nutshell, uh is my story and what has led me to where I am today, not without challenges Yeah. Well, II, I heard some of the challenges and, um, uh, I’d like to ask you about them. Uh, the first, um, and an attempt to do it in order, I’m not, not sure whether I’ll be successful or not, but the first one was around, you described yourself as a, a timid child. Um, the, the first thing that occurred to me was that, do you think that for those Children who perhaps are timid or have that sort of character about them is acting, the skill of acting or presenting, would that help them in that context? Oh, absolutely, absolutely. I think two things um I think we might be living in an age where acting is almost intellectual and philosophical and seems to be spinning in a world of an idea.

Um When, in fact, acting is very, very physical, even when you’re on camera, you may not be moving as much uh because of the camera, but your body still needs to be alive. And I, I say that because I also think what contributed to my confidence was being involved with something physical. Hm, martial art. Um And then eventually learning miming. And so I would say definitely acting, but also finding that those spaces and places that are interested in how you show up physically because I think that that I think my timidity also had to do with feeling awkward in my body. And so I would say yes, acting definitely is a way to, to, to bring about confidence but also to being involved with something physical to also assist in, in that, you know, in that journey.

Yeah, I phrased it as um for, for o for chi for kids. But um it, it almost sounds like it would even be beneficial for those who, you know, adults who um perhaps are feeling not very confident if they take an acting class, it sounds like that might help them. But you did mention um in your near your opening that there are times even as an adult when you feel things are big and scary for lack of a better term and you have to reframe that you do an exercise. Would you mind sharing what that exercise is? Um Sure. And let me, let me just say before I answer that, um when I discovered coaching, my biggest concern was how do I translate the acting world to the corporate organizational world? And I think I’ve built a, a really good bridge for that. But it’s interesting, you should say that because now what I’m coming to understand is that the things that I know as an actor, which is really the, the first way that I work with AAA organization, a business, small business, um commercial real estate that I think that I don’t want to shy away from anymore acting techniques that I really do think will get presenters and sales people within their bodies and be able to express themselves authentically, intellectually emotionally and, and uh through communication to help achieve their goals and building teams and, you know, making sales and things of that nature.

So I kind of wanted to throw that out there. That that’s a new revelation for me. But as far as the exercise that I do, there’s one technique that I mention all the time when I’m pre when I’m tea when I’m coaching people. And have you heard the term ethos before? Yes, but I’m not sure I’d be good at defining it. Most people are, are in the same situation. You’ve heard it, you’ve learned it maybe in college, but you’ve forgotten it. And so that’s, that’s typical. But ethos is ethics and ethics is, um, on the surface level, having uh experience or expertise in what you’re talking about a little deeper than that is resonating with what you’re saying, not saying what you think people wanna hear. Um, and not being afraid to say what you actually believe. But on the, on the deepest level, it’s the stories that you tell yourself. It’s interpersonal communication. It’s um your belief in yourself. And a lot of times we don’t believe in ourselves because of the stories that we’re constantly telling ourselves.

So the exercise that I do, I realize if I see something bigger or get into that space of, you know, a giant, my Goliath as it were, the story that I tell myself is, is I’m too small. Goliath is way too big for me to take on that. Well, that’s, that’s not true size and ex experience and expertise and talent is relative so I can reverse that story that I tell myself saying that Goliath is too big and I can retell myself the story to say, but I can outsmart Goliath with an understanding of my gifts, talents and intelligence with strategy. I can actually make this giant thing become extremely small. As a matter of fact, through my imagination, I could make myself bigger than Goliath if I so choose because that’s how powerful the imagination is.

And so that is one of the exercises that I do to help me face my Goliath. It sounds great. And um yeah, II, I generally like the approach of there is a way, you know, I just have to find the way. Uh if you’re trying to accomplish a big task, there is a way rather than I can’t do it. So, um I can imagine how that exercise would be very um effective. Uh Next in your story. Uh You, you spoke about being on the list which uh I’d, I’d never heard before. So maybe I, I’ve lived a sheltered life perhaps, but I did not know that uh gangs would pe put people on a list and you either joined or you got assaulted essentially. Um I wanna ask what sh what should someone do if they’re in the same position because you’ve actually experienced it. Um, and any further thoughts you have on the issue. Well, um, you know, the reality is, is that there’s some people that are living in a reality that I, I really didn’t experience.

What do I mean by that, um, from this perspective I would say, don’t do it because you’re basically, um, you’re enslaving yourself and the people that actually make it through and come out of it, right? Without any major, you know, thing happening to them is, is very little. It’s like going to the casino basically, you know, it’s casino odds. But for the most part, you’re enslaving yourself because your life is not your own anymore when you, when you join a gang. Um, that’s what I would say now, but here’s the reality. Um, a gang is, is a military, a gang is a corporation and it’s very, very, very well organized. And so when you’re asking a, a young person that may not have order in their life may not have parental guidance in their life and may be faced with warfare in their community to then ask them to say no to joining a gang.

Well, it’s, you know, it’s easy for me to say, mm um I will say that, you know, the reality of the streets is, is your face with death in your face with, with jail. But things are not black and white, they’re just not, there’s a lot of gray in there. So, yeah, there’s camaraderie, there’s order, there’s a sense of self worth. It’s all these different things. But the other flip side of the coin is a reality too. You’re basically committing yourself to the possibility of serving time. You’re basically committing yourself to the possibility of dying. Um And so, or dying at a, a violent death as it were. Um, but I would say that we, we’re faced with death in jail anyway because you never know what’s gonna happen to you in life. And so how do you wanna show up um to life? And since you know that you could potentially face death in jail anyway, why not say no to it and why not say yes to what’s really within you, what your purpose really is.

Uh when we do wrong, we do wrong because we’ve misunderstood our ability to do what we really wanna do, who we really wanna be, what we really wanna have. We’ve misunderstood, we’re not living when we misunderstand, living becomes backwards and when you spell live backwards, it’s evil. Well, um just for, just for a definition of terms, sorry to interrupt you flo um the uh just so that people understand cos there in terms of like gang, like what that, what that actually means. Like I, I think some people might say like it, it might be a gang when it’s like five young kids who aren’t very organized. Uh or, or, or it could be like thousands of um organized crime with tattoos and stuff. So I in your experience, you know, what was that like for you? Um It’s not that if you wanna understand gangs, then study militaries.

If you want to understand what gangs are fighting for, then understand what militaries around the world are fighting for. Even right now, if you wanna stand, understand the organization of gangs, then study corporations. That’s what a gang is. As a matter of fact, it’s not really a gang. It’s been titled a gang in in actuality. Um They consider themselves organizations. So, you know, uh branding yourself with tattoos is on your body is, you know, branding yourself with a logo. It’s your brand, your uniform, maybe a United States military uniform. But depending on what gang you are, your dress, the way you dress. That is literally the uniform of that particular gang. What the media covers are the street soldiers, the pawns, the media doesn’t cover the knight doesn’t cover the bishop.

I’m speaking of chess doesn’t cover the rook, doesn’t cover the queen, doesn’t cover the king. Um It looks too much like the military or it looks too much like corporations. So it focuses on the street soldiers. So uh when I joined I was 13. So that’s the street soldier. Why would kids join? Because at that time they recruited Children because Children would just go to juvenile home and then they get right back out that was my, you know, experience with it. Um You know, it, it, it the the interaction between, you know, rival gangs and the interaction between gangs and civilians uh was, was mirror a mirror image of um the government around the world. Well, uh at what point do you take up martial arts? Um I started taking martial arts when I was about seven years old.

I still practice martial arts. I I practice tai chi. Um People think tai chi is just, you know, the, the slow movement, which to me is the best of tai chi because it promotes health. But Tai chi Chuan is the martial art which which looks more like judo Akito jiu-jitsu. Um And so I do, yeah, more so Tai Chi, I did kick box at one point in my life. But um but I still appreciate uh Tai chi Chuan, which is tai chi means the supreme ultimate tai chi Chuan means Chuan is fist. So supreme ultimate fist. And the two best examples of what Tai Chi looks like in combat in sports, it would look like judo and tai chi and sports would look like boxing and any lessons that you’ve taken away from being a lifelong martial artist, uh life lessons.

Um Yeah, um that soft is, is stronger then hard. What I mean by that is, is a lot of times we think that extreme masculine force is where all the power is. And I’ve learned through martial arts, it’s not true. There’s a place for it because you need balance, right? If you, if you understand the Yin and Yang symbol, that’s what that is. Balance. Uh masculine and feminine, positive and negative, light and dark. Um So both are, are are good. They’re neutral really is what they are. But from my experience, thought is hard and sometimes hard to thought. So extreme force is not always the best way. Is there some, perhaps some fatigue uh references there in the sense that um certainly if you, if you go all out, as you said, you know, major masculine energy and you get fatigued, then you become, you know, basically weak. Is that, is that some reference that you’re making there?

Um Yeah, I mean, you, you really, there’s really more uh like I said, gray area in there, uh more balance in there. Um You really need both. Uh But it’s true that if you, if you exert your energy, too much of your energy that can be used against you, you know, if you exert force towards someone, uh whether it’s through argument or through uh you know, physical force, um you know, that that could be very detrimental to you, you know. Um and I think too, it, it applies to habits, you know, we have goals and things we want to achieve and because we have this, this big idea of it, we wanna attack it with everything we possibly can and then we burn out. But my martial arts teacher who’s a master actually said five minutes a day, it’s better than three hours every other day because of the law of momentum.

Ok. Thank you for that. And, um, had, had you considered using any martial arts in your being on the list scenario? Were you thinking that you’d have to use some of that? Oh, and yes. Yeah, I did have to use it. I did have to use it. Um, when I joined. Yeah. Uh And that’s the reason why they targeted me, uh, because I was, and, you know, at 13 years old, I was kickboxing and I was kickbox, I was kickboxing adults because I was, I had an adult body. So I was well known as being a fighter back in those days. And so you would like to share there. Yeah. Um You know, unfortunately, unfortunately, this martial arts studio was exploiting me. You know, they really, what they did was, was illegal. Um But the specific martial arts studio was a, was sort of a descendant of, of uh Chuck Norris. And if you know Chuck Norris, Chuck Norris was a major martial artist.

Friends with Bruce Lee, I don’t think that the studio and what they did with me had anything to do with Chuck Norris by the way, but it attracted me to this studio that basically taught, uh you know, kickboxing, not just the taekwondo and um Korean martial art but, um, also, you know how to fight in the ring. And at that time, everybody thought I was gonna be a heavyweight, you know, kickboxer champion. Um, and so I was very, very excited about it and, um, I did some fighting. I fought, you know, my age, I fought in tournaments. Um, you know, if anyone knows in Flint, The Birds, uh, which is a prof, uh, professional boxing family. Uh, I think one of the sons was a heavyweight champion. I studied with them during that period of time. And if you’re from Flint, Michigan, if you know the name Jackie King, sort of a legendary martial artist. I fought him. I was 13 when I fought Jackie King. Um, and so anyway, this and I’m aging myself, but I’m getting over that now because I, I we’re doing these podcasts.

People are gonna know anyway. Um, but way back a long time ago, way back in the 19 hundreds. Hm. There was a, a welterweight champion whose name was Sugar Ray Leonard and he was my idol at that time. And, um, he had won all of his fights just dramatically and beautifully and, you know, with grace and power and speed. But then he was coming up against a fighter whose name was Roberto Duran, the hands of Stone. And if you know anything about the history of that, that first fight, it was tragic for us all who loved Sugar Ray because he did not win. And Roberto Duran was just, he was the Mike Tyson of that day just intimidating beyond you know the description. So I was I went on this trip uh to fight in Duluth Minnesota and we get there and the kid I was supposed to fight was like 1718, 19 years old got sick.

So they said there’s somebody that’s gonna come in to to replace him. So I was like, ok, that’s, that’s cool. So in walks this man. Mhm. That was 28 years old now, you got a man but he’s 13 who looks like Roberto Duran. I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe it. It was a nightmare. Remember I have a man’s body but I’m 13 years old whose idol has just been beaten by Roberto Duran. Now I have to fight Roberto Duran. Uh So anyway, I have a little issue with my nose at my age at this time in my life because he broke it. Um Yeah, that was my first loss. I’m sorry to remember that, but it doesn’t sound like a fair fight. So well, let me tell you what happened. Um The one thing I was able to do, I was a great body puncher and I mean, I was tearing his body up the best I could, but he knocked me out.

Anyway, when he knocked me out, I’m sitting in the thing just kind of dazed, just dazed. Like I don’t know what happened no is bloody. So, you know, and I find out that one of the ring guys runs over to the guy who beat me and says I can’t believe you did that. You don’t realize that was a 13 year old kid. So the next thing I know this guy, this Roberto Duran guy who I can only imagine is one of the meanest guys on the planet because as a 13 year old, all I’m seeing is Roberto Duran comes over to me and he’s like, I’m so sorry, I didn’t know. Are you OK? Do you know that guy, that fighter came to the house uh where I was staying to check on me, I was asleep, he stayed there the whole night to make sure I was OK. Sounds like he was uh not as much of a, a victim as you are but still a a victim as well because he didn’t even know himself, right?

He, he didn’t know he did know. And um I remember that as just a beautiful example of compassion. But then also to, you know, you can’t judge a book by its cover and that, you know, uh fighting, acting, working in environments doesn’t mean that you are that he was a fighter, but that was the skill set that he had, he was also a good human being. Mm um So that’s the story of when I as a 13 year old kid fought an adult. Well, thank you. For sharing that. It’s a great story. Um And I guess it takes a lot of courage to get in the ring regardless. But um uh the, the one thing I wanted to ask you about was uh on your profile, uh It mentions the um the appoint, the meeting with the vice principal. Um And my initial sort of thoughts about it, where is that? It’s like this big fork in the moment, fork in the road for you in the, in the sense that uh you, you’re choosing one of two paths and one’s sort of more positive and one is uh a life of perhaps uh en ending in prison essentially.

Uh Was it that, was it like that for you or was it kind of these incremental steps that got more positive? I, I would say both but definitely for a child, right, at 13 years old, because you, you’re going through a, a massive change, you know, even biologically and mentally, but also as a black child, African American child. Um at 13 years old, it was very pivotal, you know, you don’t understand, you know, this gang was not, it was a dangerous gang, put you that way, very, very dangerous there, some very, very, you know, horrible and dangerous things. And I could have been very much involved in that. And you have to also know that this was right on the, the brink of the crack epidemic that spread throughout the United States and Flint definitely was hit by it. And a lot of those gang members became drug dealers. Uh While I was away at Interlochen Arts Academy, my city was completely transforming based on crack and the selling and using of it.

So that moment was a very pivotal moment for me because in that moment, um you know, and you once again, you, you can’t just make everything black and white. I could have chosen to go that moment. Uh, you know, and still maybe came out on the other side of it and had a different destiny that end the positive. Even in the moment that I chose, it, didn’t mean that I, I wasn’t gonna go through some things that I actually went through. That was pretty, you know, traumatic, right? But in the, in the bigger picture of everything, um, that, that moment was a fork in the road for myself that really influenced what was gonna happen in my destiny, I would say based on who I am now from then on out. And I had a chance to, to, to, uh, call, uh Mr Bronson, who was the vice principal back in 2018 to thank him.

And we had an hour long conversation. I hadn’t talked to him since that, that office conversation. That’s amazing. How did the conversation go? Oh, it was beautiful. It was, it was amazing. He was so, um, for both of us, it was, it was reasonably emotional. He’s not the most emotional person. You know, he was a hardcore, very hardcore vice principal. You ever see the movie Lean on me with Morgan Freeman? It’s about the principal in America that walked around with the paddle and was very kind of, I don’t think I have, I think you’ve got one for the list there though. I’m gonna watch that now. Yeah, you should see it. That’s Mr Bronson basically. Um And uh but, you know, he was just really thankful because you never know as a teacher or as an administrator, the impact that you have on so many young people. And um he wasn’t liked, you know, because he was so strict, he was not liked.

Um I didn’t like him back during that time. I didn’t like Mr Pro. I didn’t want to have nothing to do with him. Uh But, you know, he was so thankful of that kind of influence and that I would come to him so many years later to give him an update on how that moment transformed my whole life and got me to the place where I am right now, you know. So, and uh how does your one man show come about? Well, and as a side note as well, uh sorry to interrupt. But um what do you think of uh Malcolm X the film? Ok. Yeah. Um Well, first, as far as how my one person show came about, um it’s very, very simple. Um, I left school which was a whole other weird, you know, situation for me, came home, I quit acting by the way and I came home to Flint, Michigan and I was sort of a wanderer.

I had no direction, no idea, you know, where I was going. And that didn’t last long because it’s in me, you know, to act. And so, um, I get cast in this play at U of M Flint and while I’m there, um actually backtrack a little bit, right when I and in the on the journey on the road to um getting back into acting, I’m also very young, you know, handsome man. So I’m having all these girlfriends, I’m living at home and one day my father sat me down, he says you got to go, ok, you can’t live here no more. So he kicked me out. And so I had to find a room. Well, ironically, right when I was in search for a room is when I got cast as Caliban in the Tempest, my first acting job and my checks helped me pay for my room. So I was on cloud nine.

It was the most beautiful thing. You know, my father and I, you know, had a good, you know, conversation. He used to tell me as a little boy when you turn 18, I’m gonna fix you a nice breakfast. We’re gonna have a nice sit down, make you a little coffee. But also your bags will be packed and waiting for you at the door. Well, he pretty much fulfilled his promise. So love. Yeah. And so um so I’m just loving this moment of being a working actor living on my own. But of course, like most of us working actors that contract runs out. So I’m thinking I really wanna work. So I get cast in another play and it’s Macbeth as a young um cast of Macbeth and II, I was cast as the man himself and the director of this thing. He was like, you know, you should think about doing a one person show on Langston Hughes. And you can, you can, you don’t have to wait for someone to cast you and then you can, you can basically be your, you know, drive your own destiny as an actor. And so I was like, oh, that’s not a bad idea.

Well, I got hired at U of M to work as a security guard. And at that time, I had this little goatee and I had these little Malcolm X glasses and back in the nineties, black people, our hair was kinda cut high top fades, like how black people wore their hair in the, in the sixties. So the, the head of security was Muslim and he looked at me and he said, I know you’re an actor and you look like Malcolm X. Do you ever think about doing the show on Malcolm X Bing. And so this youth theater that I was working with a little bit kind of teaching and, and what have you? I said I really wanna do a one person show. I have a great idea about it. I just don’t know whether to do Langston Hughes or Malcolm X. They said, well, we already bring in a guy doing Langston Hughes. How about we get behind you to do Malcolm X? And so that was the beginning of me when Malcolm X was, which was I just wanted to work as an actor. But in researching Malcolm X, it became much more than that for me because researching Malcolm X opened up my young mind to this whole other world of history and culture that I had no idea about that was also very life transformative in, in, in cha changing.

And I think the thing that drew me to Malcolm X was that he also was a searcher and it was the power of the written and spoken word that was constantly transforming him um all the way until his untimely death. And um I love performing for young people and I wanted them to see that transformation. So, and then as far as the movie uh Spike Lee’s Malcolm X, I thought it was amazing. I mean, I thought it was um you know, um at that time especially, it was, it was an incredible uh film and an incredible feat uh for Spike Lee uh back during that time. Um And there have been other Malcolm X’s that have been caught, you know, actors that have, you know, caught the personality of Malcolm X in a variety of different television shows. And I think what’s interesting is that he was so complex that all these actors, they really only capture one element of Malcolm X, you know, Denzel caught his version, which was amazing, but it wasn’t fully the full three dimensional Malcolm X.

It just wasn’t, but some of these other actors will capture elements of Malcolm X that Denzel didn’t capture. You know, I’m sure my, my version of Malcolm X is my version, you know what I mean? Um And so that’s what’s sort of amazing about Malcolm is that he really had all these different elements to um who he was and what he was all about. So it was a very fascinating character and then that of course, led to the other shows that I do now. Well, thank you for that. I uh it’s, it’s impossible for me to dislike a Denzel F film, which is why I asked you. But um I’m sure you’ve heard that 100 times. Oh, Denzel is the master at, at what he does. Um uh The last thing I wanted to just um ask for your expertise on is the um the TED X uh is it’s become a very sought after thing is to be a TED or a TED X speaker. Um Have you got any thoughts um for people who would like to do it and in terms of what your best advice is as a coach?

Yeah, absolutely. Um, I would say that um, during the TED X talk, um if you Google it, uh there’s a really fantastic book on Ted X, but I think the founder of, of TED X that can give you some assistance and he also has uh videos that will also give you some insight at, you know, what it’s kind of dated in a sense because back during that time, the TED X form or TED talk form was 19 minutes. And in this day and time is a TED X talk could be anywhere from 7 to 12 minutes on average. But um I would say, um the first thing you want to do is uh think of a, a topic that you’re really authentically connected to something that you that’s in you that you’ve lived with. Um as opposed to finding something gimmicky that you really are not connected to. That’s the first thing that I would say.

Then the part of the TED X formula is you’re gonna take something normal and then flip it on his head so that the audience, they’re seeing it through a different lens. And in the, the end result is then something enlightening where you, you never will look at that subject the same again, that’s the TED X formula uh for instance, one of my titles was storytelling as a yoga of the soul. So when you listen to that talk, your paradigm of storytelling changes because in that talk, you know, we normally think of storytelling as being of benefit to someone else. But actually, when you tell a story, it has the same benefit on you, mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually as yoga, does you see how I see how that is? So you wanna think about that? Um And then lastly, you want to um think about what is the story because if you wanna get to the emotions of people and really get them to act, you must get, get them emotionally and the best way to do that is through storytelling.

And then what is the big idea that you wanna transmit to the audience so that your idea becomes their idea in developing a tribe? And then lastly is how you build a relationship with the audience. In other words, a monologue is the death of a speaker that there must be a sense of dialogue between you and the audience. The audience may not say anything. But if you’re, you’re the way that you interact with them a lot of times through uh utilizing the rhetoric tool of questions. But there’s many other techniques where there’s a sense that it really is a discussion, a talk. Um And so those are the, the several things that I would have you think about. If you wanted to develop a TED talk. Well, I can see why you’re a coach. Some of the best advice I’ve heard and um I will link your TED X talk in the description.

Um Is there uh anywhere else that people can find you or connect with you? Where do they go? Yeah, you can go to Facebook uh under Phil. Darius Wallace, even though my stage name is Darius Wallace, that’s my full name um or uh uh Darius Actor um 357 on youtube or uh Doris Actor um on uh Instagram. Um And then also my website uh Darius wallace.com. These are the places where you can interact with me. Thank you for that. I’ve uh I’ve found our conversation to be um that’s just been great listening to you and hearing the stories. I think they’re amazing. Um Thank you. And do you have any uh any closing thoughts for us today? Um I would say that if you’re struggling with anxiety and, and depression and low self esteem, I want you to consider, I wanna offer to you the idea that it might be, it might be, I’m no, you know, therapist by any means, but it might be that there’s something within you that doesn’t believe that you can be who you wanna be, do what you wanna do and have what you wanna have.

And I wanna also suggest that you tell yourself a different story because there’s only one you, there’ll never be another. And the desires in you are messages and their problems to be fulfilled. So if you have a desire, a strong desire, that desire is meant to be fulfilled, that’s why you’re here on the planet because you’re the only one that can fulfill it and you can do it. Uh by telling yourself a different story, one that’s of benefit to you and not of, you know, self destructive ideas about who you are. Great message to end on Darius. Uh Thank you for being a great guest today. Thank you. I appreciate being here. Thank you for reaching out to me and I’m honored and I really am thankful to be on your show.