August 99 Interview: Antwon Tanner
Young Baller on a Mission

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Interview with Antwon Tanner conducted by Marcy Erhard
By Shelby J. Jones

Antwon Tanner, a 24 year old athlete/musician turned thespian hailing from the South Side of Chicago is Antwon Tanner our young artist on the rise this month.

I had the pleasure of chatting with Mr. Tanner before he jetted off to the Los Angeles premiere of his latest film, The Wood. Tanner plays a young gang-member (Boo) with a comedic side in this wonderful film from first time director, Rick Fumiyiwa.

He and co-star De'Aundre Bonds (Stacey), who portrayed "Junior" in "Get On the Bus," are good friends work extremely well together in The Wood. Most of you will remember Tanner from the Cleo Award winning "Da, Da, Da," Volkswagen commercial -- Tanner is the young brother that smells the putrid chair before he and his boy decide to ditch it.

Tanner is also well known for his starring roles in the Tri-Star film Sunset Park, New Regency's The Sunchaser, and 187 starring Samuel L. Jackson. His television appearances include "413 Hope Street," "Moesha," "The Client," "Dangerous Minds," and "The Single Guy." Tanner is also quite a fine musician. His group, Black Wine, will be releasing their latest album, "Take A Sip," before the end of 1999.

As soon as I began talking with Tanner, I learned quickly that the young brother is goal oriented and has his sights set strategically on building his career. After I threw out a few questions to Tanner, his responses excited me and made me ready to do better in my own career. Still adjusting to being a single man in Los Angeles, Tanner said he has the town more under control now. "Moving from Chicago to Los Angeles was a big adjustment. Chicago is superfast and LA is more of a mild type of neighborhood. So I had to adjust mentally to keep my focus."

He cites his two-year old son as his number one inspiration. "That's my little 'Mooter,' right there. Everything I do I try to keep in mind that I have him to take care of." Family, friends and God constantly work together to be his main springboard for success. Although Mr. Tanner came from the South Side of Chicago where things can get rough, his focus and determination have lead him to this great plateau in his life right now. He said, "...growing up in the Chi can be tough but I have always had a strong sense of family and what I wanted out of life. I feel that if you always keep God first then everything will turn out fine. And young fathers should take care of their ain't hard."

Obviously Tanner has always had these principles in tact. While attending Corliss & King High Schools in Chicago, Tanner accomplished much at the two-guard position. Making All-State and MVP. The ethics and principles from athletics seemed to be transferred easily for Tanner as he began to focus on his music after High School. When I asked him how he got started in this business he told me that it was all about his music. He had a friend that had an agent, he was subsequently introduced and the rest is history. He said, "basically everything just sprung from my music. I knew as long as I had that in order other opportunities would come. I just remained focus and now this acting thing has become what it is."

After signing with the agent, Tanner was quickly working on Sunset Park, with Rhea Perlman (Carla from Cheers) and the rest is history. I asked Mr. Tanner about actors that have influenced him this has become his new forte. He said that Andre Braugher, Forrest Whitaker and Samuel L. Jackson whom he worked with on 187. He thought Sam Jackson was a special inspiration considering the things that he had overcome to become a successful actor.

So there you have it. A young, talented baller from the Chi with music that's anxious to burst out of his mind as well. Throw in his idea of how to set his goals, and Antwon Tanner is gonna be a force to reckon with. As he told me, "I am never satisfied. Once I reach one goal, I set the next one a little higher. Having set an earlier goal of doing five movies before the end of this year, Tanner has reached that one on cruise control all the while humming, "da, da, da."

Thanks to Marcy Erhard of Harper Public Relations for coordinating this interview.


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