Interview | A Talk with Black-ish Star Deon Cole
Updated: May 9
Actor and comedian Deon Cole’s popularity has skyrocketed with his role in ABC’s “Black-ish” and the Freeform spin-off “Grown-ish.” With a performance coming up at the PARX Casino March 10, we had the chance to speak to Cole, who sung praises of millennials, spoke about how his values are key to his success, and the inspirited rise of young artists of color.
His role on the Emmy-nominated and Golden Globe Award-winning show “Black-ish” is no fluke. Cole’s been around for a while, having earned his first Writers Guild Award Nomination and his first Emmy Nomination both in 2010 as part of the writing staff on “The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien.” His past credits include “Barbershop,” “Wild ‘N Out,” and “Comedy Central Presents.” He also co-stars on TBS’s “Angie Tribeca.” Cole’s comedy, intelligent with a charming, unabashed quirkiness, shines especially because of his humility and compassion.
He’s the big brother many of us wish we had growing up.
“My mother is the one who taught me to make sure that everybody is included,” Cole said. Originally from the south side of Chicago, Cole emphasized his personal values in the interview more than he did about his professional achievements.
Patience is a big deal with him, noting that it helped him to believe in himself and have grounded perspective of his world and the people in it.
“Everything isn’t right now,” Cole said. “It’s cool to sit back and think for a minute.”
His admiration for the success and dedication of millennials runs deep. Working with rising stars like Yara Shahidi and much of the rest of the cast of “Grown-ish,” Cole gives millennials the resounding credit that they’re due.
“That’s one of the things I love about this generation: they are making things happen,” he said. “From movies to music to everything. They’re getting it and not waiting on nobody.”
With the buzz behind the film “Black Panther” still prevalent in the air, Cole contemplated the impact its going to have on the younger generation, especially within the black community.
“What made it almost unbelievable was the fact that we’re seeing black people in these different worlds that we never seen them--and as kings and queens and superheroes,” he said.
The groundbreaking blockbuster has been a cultural phenomenon, and Cole isn’t taking it for granted: “I seen a black president. I seen the Cubs win the World Series. I seen Michael Jordan win six rings. It’s moments like this you have to sit back and honor.”
When it comes to “Black Panther,” Cole was thrilled about how it’s “going to shake [kids] minds,” and that he wished he “had this imagery when I was young.”