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Morocco Omari

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35 years old // Actor, screenwriter, director // Raised on the West Side; lives in Bronzeville

Looking back, I had to be a storyteller; we didn't have a whole lot of outlets on the West Side. But it wasn't until after I was shot at* that I sat down and thought about what I really wanted to do. // When I stood onstage, I got this adrenaline rush, almost like scoring a touchdown. I knew this was it. // The gutsiest thing I've done, besides fight a war, is I went up to Denzel Washington** and joked with him that he was getting old and that I was coming for him. He said: "Come on. I've opened the door for you." We shared a laugh. // When I ask older actors what they wish they had done differently, they always say, "Take more control of my career." I wrote, produced, cast, and starred in my last film, so for the next one, I decided I'd go ahead and direct, too. // When I was younger, my ideal date was Thelma from Good Times. Now it's more like Helen Folasade Adu.***

* As a marine in Desert Storm.  ** Who went on to invest in Morocco's screenwriting debut, The Male Groupie.  *** a.k.a. Sade—and, yes, Morocco knows her full name.

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