Playing the Game with Hosea Chanchez
Caretaker. Socially, economically and racially conscious individual. A great man with the potential to be legendary. A good friend. A bad enemy. A loyal individual. Successful and wise. Sounds like the makings of a quite a human being, right? These are all the ways in which BET’s “The Game” actor Hosea Chanchez describes himself. With a deep understanding of self, good old Southern charm and just enough wit to let one know that he’s no pushover, Hosea is nothing short of engaging. Having made his way into our hearts and homes 5 years ago as superstar quarterback playboy, Malik Wright, he has continued to show amazing growth as an actor alongside his veteran cast mates.
Though seeming to have appeared from nowhere, the endearing and sweet Chanchez does not have an overnight Hollywood success story. Raised in Alabama, Hosea’s beginnings were that of a Southern boy whose 18-year-old mother was focused on finishing school and whose father was busy raising another family across the way in Atlanta; therefore, landing him in the care of his grandparents. However, he doesn’t share the story many do of feeling neglected, he In fact credits his unconventional upbringing for his well rounded being. “It was the best thing that could have happened to me. A lot of my friends grew up in dual parent homes and I grew up in what many would consider to be a ‘broken home’ and they ended up really off the beaten path even though they had everything that society would tell you is the perfect thing…but God always gives you exactly what you need.” And so it was with a young Hosea who was a self described “loner” in his school days but didn’t shy away from being a class clown. Finding inspiration in the work of Richard Pryor, Bill Cosby, Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence, Hosea always felt that entertaining was in his blood but found it easy to be misunderstood in Alabama. “My mom and grandparents didn’t really understand what I was going through in school. I was really just trying to project who I was and what I wanted to do. So they put me in performing arts but it was more of a chastising thing than an understanding of what it actually was”, Hosea explains. But that didn’t deter him from following what was in his heart.
After dropping out of college, Hosea decided it was time to take the leap into Hollywood. When a living situation with a family member fell through he found himself homeless and sleeping in his car outside of a Wal-Mart. The characteristically humorous Chanchez recounts that experience while flashing his boyish smile as a distant memory that led him to the right people at one of the most critical times of his life. Once getting on his feet, he then took to making his dreams a reality first targeting a commercial market in which he knew he’d be received. “I saw that people who looked like me were selling products. In 2001/2002 McDonald’s, Coca Cola, Arrowhead, everything was African American influenced in order to sell things. So I decided I’d start that way and then hopefully move up to small co-starring roles and then guest starring, learn a little camera blocking and then work on getting my own show. That all happened so here we are”, he says with a big Southern boy laugh. His description of his arrival to this place in his life seems easy enough but Chanchez sites deeper and more meaningful discoveries as the things that add up to bring us to our ultimate life goals.
For Hosea it was in first knowing himself truly that he found what he needed to succeed. “If you know who you are you’ll know what you will do and what you won’t do. What you are going to accept and what you won’t accept into your life. Especially for men. Once you come into that stage of acceptance of self and understanding who you are you don’t have to live a life aimlessly”, he illustrates with the wisdom of a man who’s been there and done that a few times, “you’re not searching for yourself which is the biggest thing to try to overcome. When you find yourself as a man your potential is limitless because you understand what you have to do to get where you want to be”. In hearing him speak with such a bevy of experience I am eager to know what he thinks of his ever flawed character, Malik. Could there possibly be something that a man of his stature can learn from a stubborn and often child-like guy who seems to have learned very little about himself over 5 seasons. “I’ve learned the type of person that I don’t want to be”, he says half jokingly, “Really, I’ve learned that humility is the greatest gift of all. And the true importance of having an understanding of and a full experience in life. Because Malik didn’t have that, a lot of his problems are the result of his limited experiences. When you’re young, rich, powerful and famous, much like people who are going through things today, you tend to lose sight of what’s real in your life. Malik is now catching that lesson”.
Malik hasn’t; however, been the only one growing over the course of the show. Hosea himself admits to transforming as an actor through daring himself to go deeper in his work week after week. Working with veteran actors Wendy Raquel Robinson, Coby Bell and Tia Mowry has forced Hosea to hold his craft to higher standard. “There was a time when I got into a routine of “The Game”. You learn a lot about what acting really is by playing the same character every week. It’s patience, it’s listening, and it’s vulnerability. And most of all, it’s unpredictable. That’s a lot of what I am not by nature. So it’s taught me to be available to all of those things. And that’s been beautiful”, he admits. Though tapping into the aforementioned to feed his acting, Hosea still stays in control when it comes to his emotions. It credits his ability to stay away from many of the things that ail Black men to his ability to stay on top of those things that others leave themselves open for, namely his temper. This level of control makes him feel secure in himself and he seeks to find that same security in a mate. “Security definitely makes a woman beautiful. That coupled with independence, vulnerability and a rebellious spirit”, he says with a smile. And although he’s not looking to marry anytime soon if at all, Hosea assures me that he knows a thing or two about the little things that make a woman feel special. “Women are so different. What works on one woman may not work on another but the beauty of it is once you get to know what a woman likes and you pay attention to that on the regular, that’s always going to make her feel special”.
And with such a keen awareness of how to treat a woman, why doesn’t a man like him want to walk down the aisle? “I used to have this idea imprinted in me by society and now I believe you make your own choices in life and if marriage isn’t for you then you shouldn’t do it. It’s great if you find a woman that you want to be with for the rest of your life but in the event that you don’t, don’t force it. There’s nothing wrong with being in relationships until you find someone you’re going to commit to but don’t do it unless you’re going to commit to it”, he explains. A man true to himself who knows exactly what he wants and is living his dreams will always be a viable candidate for a life partner especially as his successes continue to rack one on the other but Hosea is more concerned with leaving his mark on this world. He sees children as his way to continue his work when his time is up. “I love kids and I can’t wait to have them. When you look past them being physical children to the reality of them they’re your legacy. They’re your imprints. Having kids is the most important thing anybody in this world will ever do. You will never do anything that will surpass creating a life. That’s the closest thing to God we as humans can achieve”.
One thing is for sure, any kid of Hosea Chanchez’s is going to have some pretty big shoes to fill because what we’ve seen from him is only the beginning.
Written By: Iman Milner
Photography By: Ashley B. Nguyen
Stylist: Seth Brundle
MUA: Sarah Bahlibi