Thursday, October 15, 2009

Remember What Wesley Said About Black Women?

HIS career is red hot, yet the man himself--actor Wesley Snipes--is super cool. Not cold as in icy, for he is very warm gracious and personable. And not cool as in nonchalant, for the man is engaging and intriguing and exudes sex appeal up close and personal just as he does so effectively on the silver screen.

That sex appeal, intrigue and personality, in addition to exceptional talent, have helped Snipes carve out a niche for himself in Hollywood and etch his way into the hearts and minds of movie fans with roles that are as diverse as they are compelling. Memorable are his intense architect in Spike Lee's Jungle Fever, his ruthless drug lord in New Jack City, his audacious, martial arts expert-hero in Passenger 57, his colorful drag queen in To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything, Love Julie Newmar, and his intense police detective in Murder at 1600.

Snipes is among a small, elite group of Black male actors who have established themselves as powerbrokers in Hollywood. Like fellow heartthrob Denzel Washington, Snipes commands $10 million per film; but while Washington may do one film a year, Snipes consistently has done two or three a year.

Despite his high-profile career, Snipes says he lives a "very simple, down-to-earth" lifestyle between homes in Los Angeles, New York and Florida (See companion story beginning on Page 194). His passions include motorcycles, and he loves hiphop, acid jazz and reggae music. "I still go to places I've been going to for 10 years. I eat in the 'hood. All the people know me," he says.

However, that does not make him immune to the pitfalls of celebrity and success. "I mean, people want your time; people want your energy. So if you have strong energy, people who don't have it want it. They want to be around it, and sometimes they want to be it. There's struggle, a tug-of-war for your attention by everybody from friends to family to people in the business to people who are trying to get into the business," says the actor who is known for his generosity. "And yes, they definitely want the money. They always want the money."


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