Morris Chestnut was born on New Year’s Day 1969 in Cerritos, Calif. where he was a student-athlete in high school who majored in finance and drama at California State University. He made his big screen debut opposite Ice Cube in John Singleton’s {Boyz n the Hood}, and subsequently enjoyed his breakout role as the groom-to-be in Malcolm Lee’s The Best Man.

The handsome heartthrob has been a much-in-demand leading man ever since, starring in hits like The Call, Think Like a Man, Identity Thief, The Brothers, Not Easily Broken, Kick Ass 2, Two Can Play That Game, Breakin’ All the Rules, The Perfect Holiday, Half Past Dead, Like Mike, Ladder 94 and The Game Plan. A dedicated family man away from work, Morris and his wife, Pam, live in suburban L.A. with their son, Grant, and daughter, Paige.

Here, he talks about reprising the memorable role of Lance Sullivan in the eagerly-anticipated sequel, The Best Man Holiday.

Kam Williams: Hey Morris, thanks for another interview.
Morris Chestnut: No problem, no problem, Kam. Thank YOU, again.

KW: What message do you think people will take away from the film?
MC: There are so many messages, because the film has a number of storylines. One thing I love about making an ensemble film like this is that you can have ten people come away from it with ten different messages.

KW: Would you consider your role in The Best Man or in Boyz n the Hood to be your signature role?
MC: [I‘d like to think that they both are. Boyz n the Hood definitely put me on the map and really brought me into the game. Hopefully, this one does the same thing, twenty-something years later, because I feel very strongly about it. It’s a great, emotional role in a great movie overall.

KW: You have been in the movie business for decades. What advice do you have for aspiring actors?
MC: I would say focus on your craft. Nowadays, a lot of people come to quote-unquote Hollywood thinking that all they just have to be different or do something outlandish or have a huge personality to become a star. But I think that if you just focus on the craft, you’ll have a better chance at longevity.

KW: If you only had 24 hours to live, how would you spend the time?
MC: With my family.

KW: What is your earliest childhood memory?
MC: One Christmas, my brother and I woke up at about 2 in the morning. These dirt bikes were there under the tree, so we went outside and started riding them around our tiny backyard in the middle of the night.

KW: What key quality do you believe all successful people share?
MC: Perseverance. They don’t give up. They just continue to strive for what they want.

KW: How do you want to be remembered?
MC: Just as someone who has always done right by others.

To see a trailer for The Best Man Holiday, visit:

Kam Williams

Special to the AFRO