Asante Blackk
Source: Mat Hayward/Getty Images for “STORY AVE”

Stage to Screen: The Theatrical Beginnings of Asante Blackk

Discover Asante Blackk's rise from childhood stage roles to an Emmy-nominated actor. Explore his theatrical roots and unwavering dedication to acting.


Dec. 17 2023, Published 7:37 p.m. ET

The world was introduced to Asante Blackk in 2019 as he played the character of Kevin Richardson (one of the Central Park Five convicted of rape and assault and later exonerated) on When They See Us. And Asante earned a nomination for his exploits as the best supporting actor in a limited series.

In getting the nomination, Asante became one of 12 actresses to receive an Emmy nomination before their 18th birthday.

However, his acting did not begin with When They See Us.

Starting Early

Not everyone knows their calling at a young age. Many of us coast through life trying to figure out what makes us happy and fulfilled. Some of us reach our mid-20s or even late-20s without figuring out what we’re good at.

And then there is a category of people who figure out what they love while they’re still young. They work on their craft and perfect their skills while they’re still young. Not only are they passionate about their calling, but they also relentlessly pursue improvements every day, from a young age.

Born Ansante Ma’at, Asante Blackk is in the category of figuring things out early. He started acting when he was just 6 years old at Henson Valley Montessori School in Prince George’s County. In 2008, he was cast as Mowgli in a second-grade production of The Jungle Book.

Since then, acting has been his passion. Additionally, he increasingly dedicated time to his craft.

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His Theater Beginnings

At around eighth grade, when he was cast in How I Learned to Be a Kid at a children’s workshop held at Howard Theater, he realized performance art was his calling. He got an agent and started to audition for roles.

When he joined North Point High School in Waldorf, Md., he decided to enhance his acting skills by joining the theater department. This gave him access to acting and theater classes where he gradually honed his skills.

He was the 2018–2019 President of the North Point High School Theater Club. He was also awarded the Most Promising Actor in Maryland at the Maryland Thespian Festival.

He was an active participant in different productions, including Father Knows Best as Bud, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory as Charlie, Guys and Dolls as Harry the Horse, and Fame as Montgomery.

Speaking with Variety Magazine, he mentioned his love for theater, saying, “Theater’s my first love — I always want to do theater — but I wanted to take it to that next level.”

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Asante went on to say, “I was doing school plays, and I had been auditioning for other things since maybe my freshman year of high school. It was around then when I realized that acting was exactly what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.”

Finally, he notes, “I felt a sense of community in the acting community, and I felt like I could freely be myself, and I loved being able to express myself in that art.”

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