From athletes to actors and the Leading Lady of Country, The Voice-Tribune has shone the spotlight on some of the biggest and brightest stars from here in the city and across the U.S.
With each individual, we’ve learned stories of triumph and heartbreak, courage and compassion.
Here’s some of our favorite Spotlights from 2011, and the quotes that provided inspiration, insight, and a little bit of laughter.
Why did your family move to America?
For better financial (reasons). Back in Haiti, my father was an officer in the Haitian military. He had an accident, a really bad accident. They pronounced him dead, put him on ice. Then they noticed he was still alive and they flew him to New York. This was back when Haiti and America were real cool. He’s a walking miracle, he really is. (The U.S.) gave residency to him and his kids. He goes back and forth. The first time I came to the U.S., I was in the second grade. I did third and fourth grade in Haiti and then moved back to Florida with my mother in fifth grade. Now I’m a resident of the U.S.
When is the last time you went home to Haiti?
I’m planning to go back this year, God willing.
Where were you when you heard about the earthquake that hit your homeland on Jan. 12, 2010?
I was here (in Louisville) asleep and someone called me to say something just happened to Haiti. I called my mom – I needed to call my mom. It took about a week for us to get through to our family and friends there. There was no signal going in, no signal going out. There was no electricity. It was devastating. It really was. I lost little cousins. One of my aunts didn’t make it. My cousin’s 2-year-old didn’t make it. That really hit hard.
You’ve always been known for your music, but you’re also a respected advocate for those in need.
I do have a soft spot for people, and I love children. When I see a kid, it just melts my heart. My heart goes out to kids. … They should have the right tools to work with, the right words said to them.
A number of people record books for APH. What about you maybe in the future?
I’m sure that when I write more children’s books, I do intend to put some out on audio. I’d be more than happy to put some of my books on tape.
You’ve been working on a number of projects, including voicing Dolly Gnome in “Gnomeo and Juliet,” cutting your next album, “Better Day” and embarking on the Better Day World Tour. Goodness!
I’ve been hopping and doing all sorts of things. I sure don’t need a side job (laughs).
How do you teach kids to become role models in the industry?
One of the most important parts of my business is the Network Community – it’s kind of an online magazine. Seventy percent of the content is from my kids. I love taking these stories of these inspirational young people and allowing them to have a voice because I really believe that other young kids listen to those type of things – when another young kid says, “I’m 14 and I just started a foundation,” or “I’m giving to locks of love.”
People who truly win the game of life and keep their careers going for 20 and 30 and 40 years – Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Madonna, Jennifer Aniston – they just give back. And there’s a reason. It’s circuitry. The only way to hold onto what you have is to give it away.
Some of your best-known roles, like Ethan from “Lost” and Richard from “In the Bedroom,” are roles in which you play sort of a villain. Do you enjoy those types of roles?
I don’t view those characters as villains. Any self-respecting actor doesn’t view themselves as a villain. When you view a character that way it distances yourself from the character and makes it very hard to play that character in dialogue. (In reality) if someone does something unethical or immoral they find ways to justify it … I enjoy playing characters that challenge me. That may mean they’re very different from me or similar to me, but I haven’t played them before.
The Leatherhead (Nick Boone)
You’ve had a lot of famous guests shop at the store. How do you think you accomplished that without any advertising?
Well, a lot of it has to do with our personality. A lot of it has to do with our quality. A lot of it has to do with Lynn. People talk amongst themselves and ask each other, “Where’s a nice place in Louisville to get this or that?’ And usually 99 percent of them say Leatherhead.”
What do you hope The Leatherhead’s legacy will become?
I guess the basic thing after our tenure is up and I’m 100 years old, then I hope to see my products sell for an expensive price. I don’t know how else to put it, but if you’re still alive and you see your product somewhere selling for a substantial sum and it’s still around, then you have your stamp on it. That would be a feather in my hat. That’s what I strive for – to make (a product) last as long as the damn thing will last.
Have you ever been to the Derby?
I got to go and have a full tour of every inch of Churchill Downs, talk to some of the trainers and the jockeys and walk right up to the horses two days before the event, but I had to go shoot a movie, so I didn’t get to go to the actual event.
What do you think has been the key to your long-lasting career?
I just keep showing up. I wouldn’t know what else to do with myself.
What do you hope people with and without Cystic Fibrosis will take away from you competing in the Ironman 70.3?
It’s not about what you have in front of you; it’s not about what obstacle you are facing. It’s about what you do in that moment; it’s about how you find the happiness when things seem bleak, and you use it to continue fighting!
Category: The Spotlight