After an amazing 2018 and the release of the movie The Hate U Give, TJ Wright is definitely on a path to continued greatness. Starting his career off at the age of 4, he started modeling and then began acting. TJ is about to round out his 2019 with a new Netflix series called Raising Dion alongside Michael B Jordan. We got the chance to speak with him and learn more about what makes this 11-year-old so special.
How did you realize that this was something you wanted to do?
When I was young, I would see other kids on TV on commercials and a lot of those things just showed me that I wanted to be an actor from a young age. I wanted to be one of the first young boys to actually make a difference in life.
How important is education?
It is very important to me – it’s important to educate kids on things that can happen to them so they know what to do in real-life situations, and so that they know how to respond. It’s also good to learn about other people and their stories, to see if you relate and to expand your mind to understand other sides of a story. My favorite subject is history. I like to learn about the past so I can relate things that happened in the past, to things that are happening now.
How important is family to you?
Family is super important to me because these are the people who will push you to get your mindset right. Family is not just blood – I have really good friends who I consider family because they always help me in tough times and support me in the things that I do.
Being a young African American male, how important is it for you to actually be a positive influence?
Definitely a deep question, but I’m okay with answering. I would definitely say I think it’s very necessary for me to be a Black influencer and an African American influencer to show a little boy, he’s like me or even little girls that they can do the same and I feel like it is important to influence these people because the youth are the future. I know a lot of people have probably said this, but it’s just really important to show everybody and all races just because we can all make a change if we work together.
How was the reception you received from your role in The Hate U Give?
People have really supported me. It helped me feel like I was doing good because of all the things people had been saying about my career. People appreciate my work because they are still watching it and giving me props, which is really cool.
Please tell us about your character in Raising Dion.
I play a boy, Chris, who’s a really cool kid and the leader of a skateboard crew, but his attitude isn’t really cool because he’s mean to the main character, Dion. But, Dion just wants to be Chris’s friend and Chris finds Dion annoying. Chris is different from me in real life, so it was interesting to play that role.
What is something aside from acting that you enjoy doing?
Drawing and making music. These are creative outlets for me to do my own thing. I love making new characters and new places!
What advice would you give to the people in your age group when it comes to pursuing a dream?
I feel like the thing I say a lot, but I definitely think is true is that at the end of the day, if you don’t want to do it, then that’s not your issue. Then if you don’t want to do it, that’s not your craft. But if you love this and you really do love them, as I say, work hard, don’t give up because I’ve done like probably hundreds of auditions before I got it, it was just a dream for this to be my first project. That just shows that I work hard and I work harder until I get something that I love.