Today we’d like to introduce you to Dewayne Perkins.
Dewayne, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
My story starts with me being a little black boy with a speech impediment growing up on the south side of Chicago. I attended Hearst Elementary school, and then Curie High School. I excelled in school because I was told my entire life that because of my skin I will always have to work twice as hard to get anything I wanted. I was in the IB program at Curie High School, eventually becoming the first African American Male to ever receive the International Baccalaureate Diploma in the history of my high school. During high school I found my love of the arts through improv and musical theatre. My improv coach Lisa Erlich convinced me to audition for DePaul’s Acting Conservatory even though I had no formal acting training. Fortunately, I got into the program, but unfortunately I got cut after my freshman year. That rejection was the best thing that could have happened to me. I auditioned for NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, got in, but couldn’t afford to go, but it gave me my confidence back. I stayed at DePaul but studied Film & Animation instead. There I met my best friend and writing partner Aasia Lashay Bullock, we were both in the same dance company. She introduced me to Second City, where I trained in their conservatory and writing programs. A little while after a producer from Second City saw me and Aasia’s original show “Uncle Tom & Jerry Curl: A Black History Month Experience” and from that show we both got hired to work there. After working there for doing theatricals, touring with them, and creating the hit “Black Side of the Moon” I left to focus on stand up. A few months later I moved to New York and joined the cast of MTV’s Wild N Out for season 9. All the while still creating content with Aasia, we created a web series called “Starving Artists” that won Best Short Form content at the New York Television Festival where we won a development deal with Red Arrow Entertainment. I wrote the viral hit “The Blackening” with my comedy collect 3Peat for Comedy Central, it has over 15 million views. I was named one of Time Out New York “LGBQT Comics to Watch,” a finalist for NBC Stand Up, and one of Comedy Central 2018 “Up Next” comics. After writing for the WGA Awards in New York for host Amber Ruffin of Late Night with Seth Meyers I was hired as writer for Netflix’s “The Break with Michelle Wolf” at the beginning of this year which also afforded me the opportunity to write for the 2018 White House Correspondents Dinner, which afford me the greater opportunity of getting Michelle Wolf to call Sarah Huckabee Sanders the “Uncle Tom of White Women.” And now I’m just trying to live my best life doing what I love.
Can you give our readers some background on your art?
The purpose of my art is to use my life and perspective to highlight that people aren’t defined by labels, like blackness doesn’t define me, gayness doesn’t define me, I define them.
Most of my life has been people and society trying to fit me into a box and I’ve never neatly fit into one. I was too gay for the black box, to black for the gay box, so ultimately I said fuck it, I will make my own. My art is the opportunity for me to eliminate assumptions and I could just tell you directly who I am and what I think.
And in this very moment I just want to show that the black experience doesn’t always have to come from a place of trauma. Black people smile, they have fun, they are silly, they are multifaceted humans that are more than pain and struggle. And I don’t want to erase or deny that that pain and struggle is there, I just would rather show how black people persist despite the pain and struggle.
What responsibility, if any, do you think artists have to use their art to help alleviate problems faced by others? Has your art been affected by issues you’ve concerned about?
Artists have always been the uncensored voice of the people. And I think that is still consistent but I now think more people are aware that artists are a supplemental voice, they SHOULD NOT be doing the job of actual politicians and governmental leaders.
What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
Check my website for updates on live shows http://www.dewayneperkins.com but let’s be honest, that is not always updated lol.
So it’s best to check my social media
Facebook: Dewayne Perkins
- Website: www.dewayneperkins.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: dewaynekperkins
- Facebook: dewayne perkins
- Twitter: dewayneperkins