Talk about knowing a person and not really knowing a person… That’s what I would say about my familiarity with Jernario Davis. He and I go back around 20 years from playing in the trumpet section of our junior high school band. We’d sit in the back of the band room joking and laughing, just being kids, I guess. He was full of characters, but never in a million years would I have guessed he would turn out to be a very good actor! Goes to show you, you never know a person fully and I’m glad there is plenty more to learn about him! Check out his article about following his passion and LIVING IT OUT LOUD!
What is your passion?
Well, as a youth growing up, The Arts have always been my passion. I would love to draw Saturday morning cartoon characters as well as memorize almost every commercial that came on T.V. and acting them out as if I were in them… different voices, dancing, the whole nine. But I believe since I started acting over a year and a half ago, it has truly brought my passion to the forefront.
What are some of your past or current projects that display your passion?
Some of my past projects include, “Everybody Loves Opal”, “Sisters of the Cloth”, “Holiday Judgement” (among other plays) and I also joined the cast of L.O.L.: Laughing Out Loud (season six) at Theater Works in which we do comedy sketches to the tune of a “SNL” or “In Living Color” show. We are currently in season seven and don’t plan on stopping anytime soon. I recently wrapped up a role in the Independent film, “Last Call”, directed by Raf Valentino and written by Christin Webb. And currently I perform with the “Lost on Stage Comedy Troupe” around Memphis and the Mid-South. So yeah, I’m trying to display as much as I can for as long as possible.
Not quite… of course you try other avenues to see which is best for you growing up in life. I’ve done all types of jobs from photography, regular labor, drawing and even went to school for Computer Drafting. So for me, with every job it was like I was almost there… with my hands reaching out, you know, but for some reason couldn’t grip it… just a fingertip away.
Oh yeah! I was sitting at home in North Carolina looking in the local paper when I ran across the ad for this play entitled, “Everybody Loves Opal”, written by Mr. John Patrick. I stared at that paper for a good minute thinking to myself, “I can’t do this…” so anyway, I went to the audition and gave it my all. Afterwards I went to eat at a Chinese restaurant with my family where I had this fortune cookie. Now, I don’t believe in them, but this ‘fortune’ inside this cookie caught my eye. I can’t remember what it says exactly, but it was something like, ‘There is something that you will start doing, and you’re going to love it. And as you get deeper into it, you’re going to realize that this is your calling.’ I made sure I remembered that cookie just in case something did happen to that level.
Family and friends inspired me most. True I have favorite actors, actresses, comedians, etc. but once I informed my family that this was what I was doing, they all told me not to stop after this one play. So I started looking for more work. Networking with my sister Jeanika, and on social media sites. And a few months after my first play, I found myself back in Memphis, getting ready for the audition for, “Sisters of the Cloth”, written by Ms. Ruby O’Gray to perform at Circuit Playhouse for the first annual Women’s Theater Festival of Memphis. And from there, the rest is history.
One of my greatest challenges in following my passion is when I was leaving rehearsal on Thursday, March 15, 2012 only to answer the phone and hear my mother on the other end informing me that my favorite uncle passed away… I was in the middle of doing “Everybody Loves Opal” and had three shows left… I couldn’t drive home that night… couldn’t focus. But my family calmed me down and told me just to be strong. He wouldn’t want me to go out like that. So I got myself together and dedicated my last three shows to him. I did those shows as if I wasn’t gonna ever do another show again. After those shows, we had a meet and greet with the crowd. They were surprised when I told them this was my first play, because they all swore that I had been doing it just as long as the other cast members… that was one of the best feelings of overcoming a challenge that I’ve felt in my lifetime so far. And that let me know for sure that I was indeed ready to perform and pursue this as my true passion. I even overcame my fear of flying due to having to fly back to Memphis for the funeral. So now I’m ready for anything.
Luckily, I have! Among doing theater, I’ve recently finished up my first film, “Last Call”, directed by Raf Valentino and written by Christin Webb and have been selected to be in another upcoming Memphis film being filmed by the team that did “Hustle and Flow” and “Black Snake Moan”. And you may be able to catch me on T.V. soon. There’s a comedy show being put together on MUTV1 (channel 31 Comcast) that can also be seen online on http://www.mutv1.com/ as well. This channel gets 1.6 million viewers and we’re just trying to grow the fan base even more. And as soon as my brother, Winston turns his comic into an animated series, I will be doing voice overs for that show as well.
In ten years, with Gods will, hopefully everything! (smiles) I want to be like a Jamaican when it comes to The Arts. But seriously, they have a strong work ethic and that’s how I move. Whether it theater, film, television, taking photos, cutting hair, drawing, etc. I want to leave some giant footprints behind for someone to step in, look around and say, ‘this is a very talented individual’. I plan on being my own boss and putting hard work into my craft to get me where I want to be and appreciating the steps it took to get me there.
I’d like to just throw it out there that I knew Jernario before you ever read this article (smiling) and have his autograph ready for eBay when he blows up! Good luck to all your endeavors, Jernario and keep LIVING YOUR PASSION OUT LOUD!