“I believe his presence in the White House opened up the realm of possibilities for some of the change we’ve seen in movies and television. We are finally becoming more truthful to the greatness and humanity of people of color in our storytelling. There is a generation of children 8 years old and under who only know what it’s like to see an intelligent, measured black man serve as the leader of the free world. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that during his presidency, directors, producers, and casting directors became more open to countless numbers of extraordinary stories about people of color that had been previously ignored. Writers who had penned scripts with black leads saw their projects dusted off and pulled out of turn around to actually make it to the screen. I don’t think it’s a question whether I would currently be playing a black superhero king if we did not experience Barack Obama as our president.
“I had the honor of attending a White House screening of 42. In my conversation with him I could see that beyond being a policy maker and a politician he is a person of cultured substance and depth. He is a knowledgeable critic who himself is strong enough to entertain both praise and criticism. I’m proud to say that he personally gave me sound artistic and career advice, to seek the darkness as well as the light in my acting. That advice has served me well.”