Bobb’e J. Thompson: Living Out Potential

Five Grammys. Six Oscars. A few Emmys and a couple of NAACP awards. That’s what he’s aiming for. Anyone familiar with the entertainment business knows that without a doubt, that’s quite a goal. But the 19 year old actor isn’t afraid to think big. Sharing his dreams with Forever DC, a marketing agency and media website, he simply stated that he wanted “the whole 9 yards.” “My dream is to be one of the winningest entertainers ever.” After launching his career at only five years old, it seems he’s well on his way. Not only has he starred in several television shows, but he’s been in movies as well. He also raps and as if that’s not enough, he’s made quite a name for himself as a comedian. In fact, he’s most known for three things: his comedy, his smile and his role as Ronnie Shields in the 2008 comedy Role Models. Whether cracking fans up on screen, engaging them through his music or inspiring them through his advocacy work, Bobb’e J. Thompson continues to prove himself to be a master of many trades.

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Despite being one of 10 children, the Kansas City, Missouri native has always seemed to have a special knack for standing out from the crowd. In fact, it was his energetic and colorful personality as ‘Lil Tupac in My Baby’s Daddy that helped launched his career as a child actor. From there, Thompson went on to play “Stanley,” a pesky neighborhood kid in That’s So Raven. The actor’s roles have also included Tyler Perry’s House of Payne, My Wife and Kids, 30 Rock, The Tracy Morgan Show and The Boondocks. Thompson’s also had some leading and supporting roles in a range of films including the animated children’s Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs to Snowmen, an independent family film about a young boy with cancer. His roles, very much like his personality, range from comedy, dramatic and anything in between. But Thompson has a serious side, too, which he showcased as a teen ambassador for HIV and AIDS.

Using Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, Thompson used his voice to advance the mission of The Black AIDS Institute. Mobilizing youth from all around the world to join the movement, the young teen created a public service announcement and traveled around the United States addressing issues including the disease itself, how to protect oneself and health in the black community. At only 14 years old, Thompson was using this platform to empower his generation. Collaborating with the likes of Jussie and Jurnee Smollett, Vanessa Williams, Michael Jai White, Shaun Robinson, Tia Mowry, Lance Gross, Lee Daniels, Anthony Anderson, Laila Ali and many others, Thompson helped bring attention to the overwhelming AIDS crisis plaguing the nation.

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Today, Bobb’e J. Thompson is still acting. One of his most recent films, School Dance, allowed him to combine all of his passions in one project: acting, comedy and music, while still telling an important message. Directed by Nick Cannon, the film, part comedy, part musical and part drama, follows a high school student looking to join the most popular dance clique. Despite the overtly funny parts, the film addresses popularity, isolation, peer pressure and other issues plaguing high schools today as well. As much as he loves acting though, Thompson admitted that music is his one true passion in a video interview with Bossip, a website for African American celebrity and entertainment news. “I have a divine love for music,” he said. “I stay up til 5:00 a.m. in the morning and write raps,” he continued. True to his passion, Thompson released his debut album Fade 2 Rap in 2013. With a desire to showcase his own skills, the album doesn’t feature any big names, just Thompson, his lyrics and his passion. But the young entertainer did promise to feature some big names the second time around. Serious about his craft, his small, but growing fan base anxiously awaits the release while continuing to support Thompson’s roles on television and in film.

Beyond the television and film screens, Bobb’e J. Thompson is your ordinary 19 year old. He’s home-schooled, and loves eating sweets, grapes and strawberries. His social media accounts are full of pictures with friends. His Instagram account, like most teenagers his age, has a lot of selfies and is used to express himself. He’s easy-going and laid back. He likes to focus on the positive, but admits that isn’t always easy. He likes Polos and enjoys Ralph Lauren’s designs. The death of his grandmother was his very first heartbreak. “When my grandmother died,” he told Forever DC, “it made me value my days more, and work harder to achieve everything I told her I was going after.” That’s exactly what he’s doing: working hard and achieving success, day by day, film by film and track by track. Despite aiming to succeed in an industry where success is fickle and uncertain, one thing seems certain: Bobb’e J. Thompson has potential written all over him.

-Sharita Gilmore