By: Chelsea Davis-Bibb, M.Ed.
Los Angeles – Colin Powell said it best when he stated,
“A dream doesn’t become a reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination, and hard work.”
For Christopher Lee Akens, he knows that he has what it takes to make his dreams come true.
Born and raised in Houston, Texas, Chris has always had a strong love and passion for film and theater. He grew up in Acres Homes and graduated from Carver High School. After graduation, he then attended Sam Houston State University where he received a bachelors degree in Theater in August 2015. Akens has been acting since his early childhood years, and as he grew older, he made up his mind that one day, he was going to move to Los Angeles.
Recently graduated from New York Film Academy in Los Angeles, he wrote and just produced his first short film called Too Late, which is focused around Black lives in America. The short film is about a girl who is in need of money for tuition. In order to help, her significant other turns back to his old ways in order to try and make some fast cash. He wins a lot of money, but he then gives it back because he doesn’t want to end up back in jail. Shortly after, the police show up, and things turn for the worse. “I really get happy about creating stories that really speak to us. Not only as individuals but also as African Americans and who we are to society today,” he expressed.
There are so many things that Akens enjoy when it comes to acting, but there is one particular thing that stands out to him. “One thing I love about acting is the story telling element. I love telling stories through other people’s point of view…through all of the characters you play in acting; it all comes done to the same thing. We all share the same characteristics; we all want to be loved, we all have been hurt before, we’re all human beings…even though I play different characters, I feel they all are the same as far as what they want out of life.”
In addition, his favorite filmmaker is Spike Lee because of his passion and tenacity. He admires his hard work when it comes to writing his own films, getting them funded, and how he has created opportunities for African Americans. He loves how Spike Lee made stories that African Americans could not only act in, but also collectively, they could relate to them as well. “Growing up, I didn’t see a lot of people that looked like me in film…so I really appreciate what he has done.”
Furthermore, his favorite actor is Denzel Washington. “I look up to him because he is so human in my eyes.” Akens commends Denzel for his faith in God and his ability to pick out his roles. Also, Akens spoke about an interview that he saw Denzel do, and how he declined a role because he didn’t support what the film stood for. In spite of the money that he was going to receive from it, Denzel did not accept the role.
Denzel titled the movie during the interview (in his words), “The Nigger they couldn’t Kill.” The character he would have played was a Black man who raped a White woman and they tried to electrocute him for it, but it didn’t work. They then tried to hang him and do other stuff. Not really sure on which route to take, Denzel received advice from someone he could trust, and was told that, “the first two or three films that you do, dictates how you are perceived as an actor in this business”. With that information, Denzel knew what he had to do. After declining the role, Denzel received a role in Cry Freedom six months later and was nominated for an Oscar. Akens learned from Denzel, that no matter how much money or accolades you may receive for a certain film, one should never compromise their morals and beliefs.
Akens is currently working on his next film, and he hopes to release it by the end of the year. Some of his short-term goals include producing two to three films over the next two years, which one will be a feature film. When it comes to his long-term goal, he would love to start a production company. Most importantly, he wants to make a difference with his films, and create opportunities for others. He expressed, “I really want to help people that I feel like are really talented, but don’t have the same opportunities as me.” Akens made it known that he wouldn’t be where he is today without God and the support and love from his family and friends. For more information about Akens and his work, you can click here to view his website.