Asante Blackk, whose given name is Asante Ma’at, has the distinction of being one of only 12 actors and actresses to receive an Emmy nomination before the age of 18.
He was nominated for the award for playing Kevin Richardson in When They See Us, one of the five Central Park teenagers who were arrested and convicted of attacking a jogger. The four-part series was released on May 31, 2019. He was also cast in Season 4 of This Is Us in 2019 while still in high school.
While he did not convert his Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie Emmy to a win (Ben Whishaw, of A Very English Scandal won), he seems poised for greater things in the future. Importantly, he graduated from North Point High School in Maryland the day before the premiere.
Which raises some good questions. For instance, how did Asante juggle his passion for acting with his good-ol school work and assignments?
Perfecting His Craft While in School
To get better at your craft, you have to dedicate time to practice. Fortunately, the schools he attended had excellent strong performance arts programs. For instance, he started acting at elementary school at Judith P. Hoyer Montessori School. He played the role of “Mowgli” in The Jungle Book a performance that spurred him to take acting seriously.
He joined the Theater Department in high school. As such, he had access to several acting and theater and acting, which allowed him to hone his skills.
In his freshman year, he played the role of Charlie in “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” Bud in “Father Knows Best,” and “How I Learned to Be a Kid.”
Legal Obligation to Learn
While child actors are free to pursue their dreams and work in the entertainment industry, the law requires them to be educated. Every state has different specifications on how many hours a student should attend instructional hours.
Typically, the studios that child actors work in have on-set teachers. Studio teachers typically liaise with the actor’s regular teachers to ensure the child receives a quality and well-rounded education, despite being an active actor.
In some cases, child actors can simply use online facilities to stay up-to-date with their lessons. Given that When They See Us was filmed in New York, it is possible that Asante used studio teachers, tutoring, online classes, or a combination of these methods.
Support From Family
As you can imagine, the support of family is hugely important. It would have been difficult to keep top of school work and pursue Theatre and acting without the help of family.
A case in point, in an interview with the Washington Post, Asante mentioned that he traveled with his uncle to New York City to audition for When They See Us. Without such support, he would have had a hard time or even found it impossible to pursue his passion.
Asante has also mentioned that he received immense support from his mother.