Growing up in Joliet, IL, Rickey Junior acquired his first taste for theatre during his freshman year of high school. The words that his mother stated to him when signing up for acting classes continue to echo in his mind to this day, “Oh you plan on being the next Denzel.”
Throughout his high school years, he balanced playing multiple sports and his newfound love for acting. Despite partaking in several drama classes during the week, his commitment to sports kept him from being able to audition for productions.
After graduating high school, Rickey began a new chapter of his life by relocating to Atlanta, Georgia to pursue a degree in theatre arts. Clark Atlanta University is where Rickey experienced his first true run in acting. During his sophomore year, he auditioned for a highly astounded production known as “TopDog Underdog”. He was cast as an understudy, which enabled him to observe a production from beginning to end, as well as witness the process from the standpoint of a lead role. The opportunity to witness each aspect of a production opened Rickey’s eyes, giving him a true understanding of what the art of acting and theatre was all about. Since humbly learning and observing as an understudy, Rickey was cast in four productions at Clark Atlanta University.
His first role was in ‘For Black Boys Who Considered Homicide When the Streets Were Too Much’. Rickey considers that particular play as his true breakthrough as an actor. The amount of work required of him to bring the production to life taught him how much more there is to the art of acting. Rickey did not desire to just be talented, but in that moment took on the challenge to achieve greatness in perfecting the craft. He then moved on to be cast as the lead in his second production ‘Extremities’, which required a total transformation from his previous character. Of course, Rickey accepted the challenge and excelled tremendously.
As his time at Clark Atlanta University began to wind down, Rickey had no direction on what was next in his journey . Upon graduation, Rickey spent a few years working, earning and saving money with his vision and his goals still at the forefront of his mind. He then took a step of faith and enrolled in acting classes at the Alliance Theatre. He became involved in film and television classes to regain his confidence to begin auditioning. Rickey also utilized this time to prepare himself for school auditions. After three years of training and preparing in Atlanta, he moved to New York and became a part of the New York Conservatory of Dramatic Arts.
In 2016, Rickey then moved to Portland, OR and became a part of the Portland Actors Conservatory. His first year there pushed him to focus on the fundamentals and techniques of acting. It wasn’t until his second year there that he was placed in front of an audience during a production. Marisol, All My Sons, and Good Kids were the three productions that Rickey found himself cast in. During his time in Portland, Rickey was featured in four independent films as well as four plays.
To this day, he continues to take acting classes to sharpen his developing skills and challenge himself to rise to the next level. The art of acting, while having the ability to serve as entertainment, brings to life stories that carry can serve as a form of entertainment, moral values, truths, and life lessons that could change the lives of those able to witness them. In Rickey’s eyes, this is what gives the craft purpose and meaning. In each role in which he has been cast, he has strived to leave a lasting impression on his audience. If Rickey has touched just one life, then he has achieved what he set out to do.
"Nothing Worth Having Comes Easy"
"Nothing Worth Having Comes Easy"