Inspiring People

Jamie Hector
HBO series THE WIRE's Marlo Stanfield

Jamie Hector
Jamie Hector has established a tremendous fan base due to his portrayal of Marlo Stanfield on the critically acclaimed, HBO series, THE WIRE.

Jamie enrolled in college while he continued to audition and book roles on NY Undercover, Third Watch, Law & Order, Law & Order SVU, The Beat, and Oz. Jamie's film work dates back to Spike Lee's "Clockers". From there he went on to appear in "He Got Game", Ghost Dog", "Prison Song", "Everyday People" and "Paid In Full". Jamie's film work was highlighted when the short film "five deep breaths", directed by Seith Mann, featured Jamie in the lead role of Banny. This film was an Official Selection of the Cannes, Sundance, Tribeca and The IFP Film Festivals and went on to accumulate 14 awards.

After graduating from college Jamie enrolled in The Lee Strasburg Theater Institute, and studied there for several years. What is so appealing about Jamie is more than just his enormous talent, it is his sincere humanity and his modesty. The general consensus is that Jamie Hector is a dynamic person with tremendous talent who works hard to create the best possible results.

So who is Jamie Hector? According to his manager:

"On THE WIRE, he is a cautious, intelligent, ruthless gangster. In real life he is a concerned community minded young man, who believes that he should help those in need."

I agree wholeheartedly.

It was late on a Saturday when Jamie and I finally got a chance to talk. He had been working hard on the set of the critically acclaimed, HBO series, THE WIRE, but still made time to chat.

Jamie Hector is wise beyond his years. He is complex and the texture of his speaking leaves you wanting to know more. I am clear that we have yet to discover the depths of Jamie's remarkable talent. It was my pleasure to spend time talking with him.

DR: Tell about your life and your work.

JH: Well my life and my work -- I think they come together as one....

I started off on stage at this theatre company called Tomorrow's Future Theatre Company and I was basically performing in the community with children. Then I was able to actually turn around and put them on stage where I started teaching them and putting on plays with them. So, I started off on stage doing plays in the community and I turned around and I began to teach kids how to perform on stage and how to go about learning improv and put on plays, and how to read dialogue and bring it to life on stage.

While I was doing that I also taught them martial arts, which was beneficial. I just trained kids...for them to gain the skill of self discipline. And then that carried over for them into class. I basically tried to do my best...working with kids. Whatever it is that you learn -- you give back. So, what I did in life, in the beginning, I learned and then I taught the children and, in order for me to continue to have something to teach them, I would go back to school.

I went and I studied at the Lee Strasburg Theatre Institute. I started off at the community theatre but I wanted to continue to train so I decided to go and check out a lot of schools. In doing so...what happened with me was, I went to BMCC College...I told a teacher, I said,

"Listen, I am here but this is not really what I want to do."

He said,

"You should at least take one class."

But I was like,

"I'll finish it but what I would really like to do is act."

So he introduced me to a gentleman that worked at BMCC....and he told me about different schools that I should go and check out - Lee Strasburg, William Esper and Stella Adler.

So I went to Stella Adler. It wasn't really my speed. I went and signed up for William Esper - schedule conflict so I ended up at Lee Strasburg Theatre Institute, which I would recommend to people who would like to train from the inside out. It's not for everybody but I appreciated it. It worked for me. There are a lot of people that would rather do it in different ways but, for me it worked well - from the inside out expressing something personal.

So with that, I took it back to the school - an after school program called "JRC", Jackie Robinson Center for Physical Culture. I took the martial arts back there also. One thing that I have learned is that when you learn something you actually truly understand it when --

You teach it.

So, I realized that when I decided to teach the kids about performing and teach them martial arts, I actually bettered myself...I understood it more. I went in that direction with them. It was just a constant giving to the kids. Because, I mean, the truth is, you always get the truth from them...they'll tell you the truth. The children will tell you the truth in regards to, if they don't feel like what you are saying and what you are doing is authentic and true.

In the process of doing that, it was a blessing to me. As an actor, you can't really hold a nine to five job and act at the same time. Because...listen, you are either going to be at "the job" or you're gonna be on set or trying to get a job on set. Actors are doing one of two things:

We are either working as actors or we are looking for work as actors.

So in working with the kids, it was a blessing because it was in the evening. I was able to go audition during the day and work on different projects during the day.

I started working on television shows in New York -- all of the Law and Order shows and the Third Watch shows, The Beat and new television shows that would come up - I would be fortunate enough to audition for those and book shows that were being cast in New York. It was a blessing...It worked out for me well out here on the East Coast.

I would still constantly come back to the neighborhood and people would just notice me. And when they saw me they would be like,

"Didn't I just see you on...?"

Yeah. That was me.

"Aren't you teaching my kid?"

Yeah. That's me.

"You're teaching my kid and you are doing this also? You know what? Let me bring my daughter here also."

Before you know it, I had a class that was seventy five to a hundred students for one martial arts class and I would teach two, as well as the drama. So now the classes just continued to grow and continued to grow and continued to grow and I would continue to teach them until, I really couldn't do it anymore because then I branched off and I had to leave and go to Baltimore and relocate there and work on a show called The Wire.

DR: Jamie, when people look at you, what do you want them to see?

JH: An example. An example of, hopefully, something that...I mean a lot of people say that they are not trying to be role models or anything but, I mean, that is just a jacket that you have to wear whether you want to or not. I just want them to see, basically, a person that will try to give back by keeping it real. I mean for real REAL. I am not going to try and change up...I just want them to see a person that is very focused and understands that giving back to the children will definitely {save us from the streets}.

DR: Jamie, say that again.

JH: It's like this -

I've worked with several kids and one or two or three have made it to Broadway, working with The Lion King or received their Screen Actors Guild cards or I understand that one wants to attend Spelman College or Harvard. They are going to succeed! They are succeeding! And just to know that if you at least touch one, you did something. I can say I did that...

Terrie Williams sent me a little packet of calendars and on the back it has quotes from different people. One of the quotes from Oprah said:

"Be the example that you want to see."

I agree. I would like for them to see a person that is doing the BEST that he can do.

DR: Talk to me about what some of the influences have been in your life.

JH: My sister. She has been a great influence in my life. I understand and I realize that when you are young you always want to look up to the elders in your family that you admire. If your father is not around then you are looking for the next best thing. Whoever it is -- the one that you can basically relate to. And they don't know that you are watching them, but you are. That's one thing that I will always instill in the kids today; in the minds of the children today:

Listen, if you have a younger brother -


They study you. Even if you don't think they are, they are. The only reason that I am so fond of reading books is because my sister used to sit down and through books...I didn't understand how she did it but she would just sit down and read the entire day. The next day, read the entire day until she finished the book...a book that was five hundred pages. That's too much! I couldn't even read that. But she would read it and I watched her. Now this is what I do, what I saw her doing. Ya know? She was a great influence in my life.

DR: What would you say is the most important thing that you have discovered about yourself so far?

JH: That I have discovered about myself?

DR: Yeah.

JH: Hmm.

There is so much but one of the things that I have learned about myself, I would have to say, is the ability to listen. Yeah. I try my best to listen beyond the words. Ya know?

DR: Yeah. That's important.

JH: Listening. I try to listen to the body language, the words, the subtext...That is one thing that I have noticed that a lot of people really...Like you know, sometimes people just want to speak over words...they want to speak; they have the answer in their head. I think that I am able to sit back and just listen. That is one thing that I am aware of...

DR: Do you believe that everybody is born in life with a purpose to fulfill?

JH: Yeah.

DR: You do?

JH: Um hmm.

DR: What would you say that your life purpose is?

JH: Everybody's overall purpose is to serve God. That's what I believe. Now the process of finding how you are going to serve God...

I was speaking to someone about this the other day. I believe everyone has a talent. Some people don't know what that talent is or how to go about expressing that talent. Once they find out what that talent is then...I believe that a person will know what their purpose is by the time that they reach at least 50 years old. Just by observing, because I tend to observe people a lot, and I notice that around maybe 30, I see people who are successful people -- 35, 40 years old, doing very well. Still they do not know what their purpose is. But when you are 50, you are actually young. You are really young when you are 50. At 50 I think it's the time that, with the wisdom, with the knowledge and the wisdom, you can definitely understand. That's when I think that you realize what your purpose is. Because you can actually apply both of those things...Wisdom takes time to gain...So I truly can not say what my purpose is at the moment, other than to serve God.

DR: But you will get there by the time that you are 50?

JH: The only reason that I say that is because I am watching people! They are doing so well and they STILL - and they are successful and yet they are just now figuring out what their purpose in life is. And I'm like,

"Ya know what? You can't. You can't stress yourself out."

I was beating myself in the head the other day and I was speaking to my manager and I was trying to figure out what my purpose is.

"I've got to figure out my purpose."

And she was like,

"You know what? It's going to come. And, when it comes you will know. You can not try to find it. Just go. Just flow. It's gonna come."

I said,

"You know what? You're right."

DR: But it sounds like you are clear that you are moving in the right direction.

JH: As far as acting?

DR: Well, you seem to be, as far as acting, as far as the contribution that you make back to the community, the work that you are doing with regard to your own self development...

Jamie Hector

JH: You focus on what you have to do. {An actor} said if off stage one time, he was like,

"Take care of yourself. Take care of everything that you need to take care of first. Then after that you can help everyone out."

The only problem I have with that - I don't disagree with him -- but the only problem I have with that is that sometimes when people try and take care of themselves ONLY for so long, by the time they reach a certain level, they just forget. Or they never reach the point that they want to reach, where they feel like,

"Now I can pull somebody up."

I figure why not do it along the way? Why not just do it along the way?

I went back to the school the other day where I was working with the kids and one kid came up to me and he was like,

"Yo. Why don't you let some of that light shine on us?"

I said,


He was like

"Take me down to the show and put me on the show."

I'm like,

"I gotta prepare you first."

He was like,

"Why don't you let some of that light shine on us?"

I was like,

"Wow. He's serious."

...He knows what he wants to do and my thing is, I'm just going to build his him sharpen his skills and his talent and then help put him out there and let him know this thing is not going to be handed down to you. You are going to have to work hard for it, understand. I had to work hard to get it, and once you work hard you will get what it is that you are working hard for.

Then it kind of hit me,

"Whoa. Am I actually doing what I am supposed to be doing? Am I actually pulling him up?"

That's when I realized you can't pull everybody up. But I am going to pull enough up. I'm going to pull as many people as I possibly can...

DR: Do you consider yourself a hard worker?

JH: I could work harder.

DR: You could work harder?

JH: Yeah. I think I can. I think that what I want to do, and that I don't do, is work six hours a day -- everyday except Sunday. That is what I used to do until I began working professionally. That is how I used to train...Things change and once you are actually working, you don't have are reading scripts...and you are doing what you are trained to do. But "the buck don't stop there".

There are no excuses. I could definitely work harder.

DR: Is there anything that you would change about yourself if you could?

JH: I never thought about that before. I don't think so.

DR: No?

JH: I think that IF I could change anything about myself I would probably change the fact that...

Certain things that go on in the world....Somebody will be extremely rich and they will try and keep themselves so financially secure and their family's family's family, financially secure, that they will do anything to just keep that...cycle.

I was on set and I was speaking to one of the producers and I thought "Man, politics - people see at least 20 years down the line...And the way that they see it is how it is going to effect or change everybody...they see that far down the line and if what they are doing is negative, then a lot of people are going to be effected.

If I could change anything about myself, it would be to see as far as they can see...I wish that I could do that, working with the children, so that I could give them something to hold on to so that even when I left, even when I left they would be able to just keep moving and doing it...

DR: Where does that come from - your commitment to contribute to children and making sure that they are supported in being successful?

JH: It comes from -

Simply because I see too many people turning their backs on them so easily; so quick to judge them, so quick to turn their backs on them as though they are not kids, too quick to want to try them as adults when they commit a crime, too quick. Too many people saying,

"You know what? They are lost cases".

I hear them saying that in their minds and I'm saying,

"Listen! There is no way in the world you can give up on a kid."

They are like sponges. They will absorb something if it's good. You can not give up on them.

DR: A hundred years from now, what do you want to be remembered for?

JH: I would like to be remembered as a person that made the world a better place and just made the non-believers -


Thanks Jamie!

ReWired for Change

Cast of 'The Wire' helps kick off nonprofit that aims to help at-risk youth

By Sloane Brown
Special to The Baltimore Sun
September 20, 2009

The ReWired for Change launch party at the Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Park and Museum marked the official kick-off of a nonprofit started by "The Wire" star Sonja Sohn. The organization's mission is to help at-risk youth learn to make better life choices by using the HBO series itself - which was filmed in Baltimore from 2002 to 2007 - as a learning tool.

Sohn - in a ruffly black chiffon cocktail dress and strappy gold high heels - looked the antithesis of her character, Detective Kima Greggs.

"I am so nervous. This is a whole other ballgame," Sohn confessed.

Many of those who had worked in front of - and behind - the camera at "The Wire" had come to show their support for ReWired for Change. Cast members in attendance included: Clark Johnson (Gus Haynes), Jamie Hector (Marlo Stanfield), Michael K. Williams (Omar Little) and Gbenga Akinnagbe (Chris Partlow).

"The Wire" cast members weren't the only celebrities at the party. Baltimore Ravens players Mark Clayton, Domonique Foxworth and Ed Reed mingled with guests who included board member Natalie Gluck, Premier Rides president Jim Seay, marketing director Sara Ingram, Insurance Incorporated agent Tracy Kwiatkowski, community volunteers Nancy Latini and Terri Taber, Living Classrooms president/CEO James Piper Bond, Parks & People Foundation president/CEO Jackie Carrera and artist/interior designer Jeanine Turner.

Then there were the guests of honor: Craig Manley, Phillip Gaddy, Ed Smith, Latavia Cornish, Kenyon Heath, John Wood and Sean Hawkins - the students who had participated in ReWired for Change's pilot program. The students, who ended the evening by performing their own poetry, received a standing ovation.

Click to learn more about ReWired for Change

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