We had the good fortune of connecting with M. Neko Parham and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi M. Neko, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
When it comes to risks, I’m a huge advocate of the adage: “Great Risks” equal “Great Rewards”. Of course that requires a heavy side-dish of wisdom to go along with it. For me, one of the greatest risk I took was when I decided to leave Los Angeles and relocate to Atlanta. I didn’t have many connections in ATL on the business side of the things. However, it was my birthplace. So, I figured that’s got to mean something. And it has. Tremendously. Fast forward 10 years later, after great success in the acting world and building one of ATLs most prosperous acting studios for youth, (TeamGreatness ATL), I found myself at the crossroads of yet another monumental risk. And yes I took it! I stopped acting cold turkey to spend two full years writing a TV series with my best friend from college, Christopher Jackson, of the uber famous “HAMILTON” creation. And it was the risk of a lifetime. Our soon to be announced show has a home at one of the biggest studios in Hollywood. Oh yeah, and we finished the pilot script the day before my daughter was born. So, I guess you can say she was my great motivator along the way.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I consider myself a true lover of Art. Art inspires. And inspiration has the ability to change the course of one’s life. Like myself, for example. Growing up in Atlanta in the 80s and 90s were challenging years. I found myself on the wrong side of the law. Involved with drug dealers and people who were not really going anywhere. A lot of them are dead or incarcerated now. And THEN my high school homeroom teacher introduced me to the stage. That’s where my life changed. From the very first moment I took the stage for rehearsal of a high school production of “Purlie”, I knew my life would no longer be the same. And to this day, when I think of myself as a Dad-Artist, nothing excites me more. Mainly, because I realize everyday that as an Artist, I have the human ability to affect and infect this world with LOVE through my Art. Besides, as my niece once told me…”The EARTH without ART is just EH”. I think ART is one of the greatest gifts God created for us to enjoy. And to celebrate. And to SHARE! If there is one singular thing I want the world to know about Neko Parham – the Coach-the Writer-the Producer- etc-etc…is that my greatest goal in life is to leave a legacy of Love behind through the Art which I am blessed to create.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Now this is a very interesting question because I’d like to know the answers too. Because my wife and I are such homebodies, we’ve created a bit of an oasis on our own property. So I kind of already have my backyard grilling station, self-made walk-up bar, and the likes. But IF I had to tell of one particular little “spot” that has caught my eye as of lately, it’d be this little doozie in Marietta Square called “The Third Door”. Great menu. Great outdoor dining. And of course we Artists love good drinks. LOL.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My “shoutout” is most definitely going out to my TeamGreatness ATL Family. Without those beautiful young minds that have been with me for over ten years now, I don’t know where I’d be. They show up at the studio week after week ready to train and give their all and for that I am forever grateful to each of them. And not only the kiddos, but also their AMAZING parents, who rigorously support their dreams of pursuing a career in entertainment. Although my new title of “Writer/Producer” has lessen our usual time together, I will forever and always be “COACH”. The most endearing name I go by -next to “Daddy”.
Laura Burke (Los Angeles, CA.) Roy Bailey (Atlanta, GA)