Clifton Powell is a phenomenal force in the acting world. His career spans over 30 years and his versatility is unparalleled. He’s won his way into our homes and hearts with roles such as, Chauncy in “Menace II Society”, Cutty in “Dead Presidents”, Pinky in “Friday After Next”, and Jeff Brown in the Oscar winning film, “Ray”. If you’ve ever watched television, you’re likely to have seen Powell in some of your favorite shows and now, the actor is raising the bar once again as he plays in two of Bounce TV’s biggest hits, the comedy “Mann & Wife”, where he guest stars alongside Tony Rock, and in the dramatic series “Saints & Sinners”, where stars alongside Vanessa Bell Calloway and Gloria Reuben, playing Rex, a ruthless local loan shark.
If there’s anyone who knows about the evolution of trends in Hollywood, it’s this talent, and byteclay.com got a one-on-one interview with Clifton, just after the news that both of his shows on Bounce TV have each been picked up for another season.
When asked about being a trendsetter in Hollywood, Clifton replied that he really was just grateful and honored to be a part of some of the most iconic movies, television shows and styles through the years that people seem to have genuinely tapped into.
He credits a great deal of his success in this industry to his training and learning to embrace the Stanislavsky method. Clifton studied at places like the Workshops for Careers in the Arts, under greats like Debbie Allen. He explained that he was also fortunate to have some amazing teachers in college such as the Creative Arts team at NYU, all of the teachers at Emerson in the Drama and Speech department, and he’s particularly thankful for his one-time instructor, the great Charles Brown. Clifton says that there’s been a conglomerate of people who have helped shape him into the actor he’s become.
Powell’s characters have been the literal voice to so many memorable movie and television moments. Being able to attack each role he plays from the inside out has elevated him to the type of trendsetter whose influence spans generations. In 2005, he was nominated for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture for his portrayal of Jeff Brown in ”Ray”. He said that being celebrated by his peers was a wonderful feeling and getting to play roles such as Martin Luther King, Jr. in Charles Burnett’s “Selma, Lord, Selma”, has been the ultimate honor.
Clifton’s dapper fashion sense translates onscreen as well as off. When asked about his personal style and trends in LA, he stated that, “Style is truth.” Finding an edge in fashion is the same thing as finding an edge or truth in your character. He went on to say that growing up in the ‘60s, he comes from an era where style was everything. No matter what you wore, your pants, your shorts, your shoes, it all had to be just right, and it’s something you carry over into your professional as well as your personal life.
He said that because fashion, like the entertainment industry is always changing, you should keep evolving the style that you create for yourself. “Try to stay as trendy as possible”, he said. Clifton calls himself an eclectic shopper and pulls a lot of his inspiration from magazines such as GQ. From FUBU to Sean John, to Ben Sherman, to Ferragamo, Clifton has always loved the idea of mixing brands and says, no matter what you like to wear, “You should always challenge yourself to keep upgrading your style”.
Just like his own style, Clifton continues to choose the most innovative, multifaceted roles. He’s just finished filming the new Tupac Shakur movie and recently shot a brand new pilot that was directed by the one and only John Singleton. Both of which are guaranteed to spark inspiration on every level.
Be sure to catch episode 3 of “Mann & Wife” entitled, “Empire State of Mann” which airs on Tuesday, April 19 at 9pm ET and you won’t want to miss the epic season 1 finale of “Saints & Sinners”, which airs on Sunday, April 24 at 9pm ET, on Bounce TV.