5 Questions with Boris Kodjoe
On faith, work, & why his kids don’t have phones
Boris Kodjoe is a busy man. In fact, his successful acting career is just one facet of who he is. Kodjoe is also an entrepreneur, an advocate, and a family man. The latter is his favorite role, as evident when The Bridge sat down to talk with the multi-hyphenate talent.
Your faith is important to you, what advice would you give a young person on maintaining their values in the entertainment industry?
I think just a good foundation is important as it pertains to principles and values. To know yourself, to love yourself, and to have an unshakable sense of confidence I think is very important before you go to Hollywood, or if you go to Hollywood. Faith plays a very important role because in order to sustain confidence, in order to not lose belief, in order to not succumb to those disappointments though rejection and everything else, you have to have faith. You have to believe. You have to have a spiritual foundation that gives you strength on a daily basis
You regularly appear in independent projects written, directed, produced by people of color. Why is that important to you?
I think it's important to participate in not only the independent film movement, but also to collaborate with African-American talent on and off camera. When you have a platform, when you enjoy a certain amount of following, I think it's your responsibility really, as an African American to support others. When you support certain projects on TV, when the numbers go up, that's when they start producing more of that content. If you don't support it, it goes away.
What are your thoughts about the reality TV landscape?
In this new age of social media and this new age of reality TV where our attention span has been reduced to zero, too much attention's being paid on content that delivers zero messaging and is purely there to sensationalize and exploit people. Unfortunately, since our attention span has dropped so low, we are intrigued by sensationalistic type of entertainment. It's almost like watching a car crash. People have to understand it's important they do not watch those shows if they want other things to be produced and seen.
How does technology allow your family to stay connected despite busy schedules and projects?
I think technology needs to be used with awareness and responsibility. Especially, when we consider family and the family synergy. My kids are 12 and 10, they don't have phones because I believe giving a phone to a child requires you to teach that child how to responsibly handle that phone or device. A 10-year-old can't possibly do that. Devices and cell phones are a great way, technology in general is a great way to stay connected when you do it responsibly. I think as a parent, as a community, as mentors, it's up to us to make sure we teach our children how to really use that technology in a responsible way.
How has technology helped you in the entertainment business?
I produce content so I am in some way dependent on technology and its innovations, so I stay up to date in that respect. In other ways it's helped me … Sometimes as an actor you're all over the world, you're in South Africa, you're in Europe, you're in the States and sometimes it's not possible to be four or five places in the same time. You can use technology to effectively communicate other directors, producers, and executives in order to further your projects and engage in other things.
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*Responses edited for clarity and length.