SCREEN TIME: Affion Crockett

As early as 4 or 5 years old, comedian and actor Affion Crockett could see into the future. The vision of bright blinking lights flashed across an image of the United States. It’s a strange truth he admits to seeing repeatedly throughout the day. “And this is gonna sound weird. I never told anybody this, but God used to show me a map,” he says, straight faced, whispering. “Like if you saw it from space, it was the United States with lights like the homes were lit up. I always heard a voice or a feeling when I would get this visual that all those homes would know me and know my name. I didn’t know what it meant."

Sounds a little crazy. Affion could be joking. Or… maybe not.

If you look at his career, Crockett is a celebrity. Known mostly by face, familiar to many by name, his talent initially came in impersonating celebrities. From Jay Z to Drake, Kanye, and 2 Chainz, Affion’s videos have been shared hundreds of thousands equaling millions of times that have led him from YouTube stardom to the big screen.

Before then, he had tiny, forgettable, no name roles on TV shows like Curb Your Enthusiasm as “Car Customer #2” and Miss Congeniality 2 as “Customer #2.” But after the popularity of his YouTube videos, castings came with character names and multiple scenes. In 2008, he filmed seven movies alone including Welcome Home Rosco Jenkins and Soul Men. Since then, he’s hosted his short-lived Jamie Foxx produced comedy show In the Flow with Affion Crockett, popped up in silly comedy films like Baggage Claim and A Haunted House, and next year he appears with Kevin Hart in The Wedding Ringer. But the root of all of this grew from his talent for impersonating.

“I learn by observing. So I can watch some LA dudes and do them on screen. I can study a Jay Z or Russell Simmons, anybody and eventually have them down pat,” says the 39-year-old. “The first impression really was my mother. I’m Trinidadian, my mother and my aunt. And to hear their voices around the house, I would just regurgitate it to them and it would make them laugh. And then character-wise, Scarface. Tony Montana. So once I knew I could do it, it made my mother laugh. And I just kept doing it. It would get me out of trouble sometimes.”

But entertainment has always been in the Crockett clan blood. As a kid, he remembers dropping whatever he could find on the floor – cardboard, tile, anything – so he and his brother could breakout into a dance. “Oh yeah, my mom was a singer and a dancer. My biological father, he’s a singer and musician. My older brother was a dope dancer and rapper. My aunt was a great gymnast and dancer,” he says. “It does run in the family. But I’m the only one that pursued it as a career.”

And he swears that this will to follow these dreams, all came from that psychic map flashing through his head as a kid.

“I think God just put a little extra in me to say, ‘Aff, you can’t sit on this dream. You about to follow the dream of your biological father, your mother, you about to do something that no one has done.’ I never knew what it meant until I got older and decided to become an entertainer,” says the Fayetteville, NC native. “So, the fact that I’m not the biggest in the world. I’m not Will Smith. Maybe that’s their lane. Where I am right now, is exactly where I’m supposed to be. And where [God] will take me is where I’m supposed to be. So when I’m going through airports and malls and walking down streets in LA or they’re tweeting me; the purpose is being fulfilled right before my eyes. So I have no worries. I have no second doubts or guesses about why I chose this thing. He called me to do it. I said, ‘Yeah,’ to it. And I just walk it out.”







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