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11BorisK  The Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County, along with Piedmont Gas, presents Boris Kodjoe’s “True to Yourself” Black History Month Talk Series on Saturday, Feb. 23, at 7 p.m. at Fayetteville State University’s J. W. Seabrook Auditorium.

“The purpose of this event is to have really deep, candid conversations with industry executives and TV/ film actors to pretty much explore their challenges and difficulties as well as their successes as being an African-American,” said UniQue Webster, development director of the Arts Council. “Last year we had Tichina Arnold and casting director Winsome Sinclair.

“So, basically, this experience is also supported by video, and we hope that Boris will include some of his vignettes and video outtakes … to support the talk.”

Webster added that another part of the talk is audience engagement. With that in mind, there will be a Q&A segment toward the end of the event.

Webster went on to explain the vetting process for choosing a speaker for this event. “We have a Black History Committee chaired by Attorney Cull Jordan III. We came together to explore some options and came up with our top five choices that we chopped down to three,” she said.

Webster added, “We looked at the success of the actor, some of their challenges, and we made sure they had an amazing and compelling story to tell.”

Kodjoe grew up in Germany and excelled in sports. He became one of the best tennis players in Germany. A chronic back injury, however, forced him to explore other options. After earning a degree in marketing from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Kodjoe was signed by the Ford Modeling Agency in New York, where he became one of the most recognized male supermodels.

He took acting classes while modeling, and Hollywood took notice. Kodjoe was featured in “Love and Basketball” and the hit TV series “Soul Food,” for which he won three National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Award nominations. He continued to appear in many movies and drama series as well as a Broadway debut.

In 2010, Kodjoe and his brother, Patrick, launched World of Alfa, a clothing company offering the luxury of high-quality, custom-made shirts and suits at affordable prices.

Boris and his wife, Nicole Ari Parker- Kodjoe, established the Sophie’s Voice Foundation in honor of their daughter, Sophie, who was diagnosed with Spina Bifida at birth. SVF helps families affected by the birth defect and educates all women of childbearing age about the importance of folic acid in protecting unborn children from this 75 percent preventable birth defect.

“We encourage everyone to come out to enjoy an amazing show,” said Webster. “We make it so that you leave with something new about the person. We want you to come with your questions and leave with some motivation and inspiration.”

For more information, call the Arts Council at 910-323-1776.

Photo: Boris Kodjoe

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