My mom really inspired me. She has always taught me it's not about us, it's about what we can give back.
I honestly don't even know how I got into acting. It happened so quickly because my mom and sister used to do commercials, and apparently when I was little I would unbuckle myself from the stroller and crash their auditions.
Something my mom and I have always said to each other is: 'We're not here for interviews. We're not here to get your picture taken. We're here to make a difference, and this is our opportunity to.'
My mom got me into some commercials, and I basically, I guess, just got out of my shell I was in at the time because I can't remember. I've just been blessed ever since.
America isn't Congress. America isn't Washington. America is the striving immigrant who starts a business, or the mom who works two low-wage jobs to give her kid a better life. America is the union leader and the CEO who put aside their differences to make the economy stronger.
My mom is many times responsible for getting us all together, but we trade off at each other's houses. My brother and I are actors and are traveling a lot of our job.
It was rough being dark. I got heat from my own people more than anyone else. I remember going to my mom and saying, 'Why am I so black?' And she said, 'Because I'm black. You just gotta always work harder than the average bear.'
My mother told me Homer Ditto was not my father. Nope. Mom had had a fling with some other guy who was my dad. Some dude who didn't stick around too long who Mom was happy to get rid of. She chose Homer, and Homer chose me, so he lent me his name even though I didn't have his blood.
I was brought up by a single mom in a poor town in Arkansas and while some aspects of small-town life were really positive - like the fact that everyone there is really sweet and hospitable - there is also this close-minded mentality, and that naturally made me want to rebel.
My mom was on the United Way group that decides how to allocate the money and looks at all the different charities and makes the very hard decisions about where that pool of funds is going to go.
My mom had a produce business in in Oxnard, and we used to take these long trips to talk to farmers and different distributors. She'd take us with her after picking us up from school, and she'd be blasting all this old soul music and R&B. I knew all those O'Jays songs before I knew Snoop or Dre or Tupac.
Growing up in a house where there was a lot of different musical influences - my mom listens to soul stuff and Top 40, my sisters would listen to hip-hop - and the church, I grew up listening to a lot of gospel stuff. So I think that plays a role in how I make music now because my music has a lot of range. I don't just do one thing.