From Boys to Men: 15 Young Actors Who Grew Up In A Major Way
Now: Jumping the Broom
Here we are, the Top Five…Okay, before you declare this list null and void by my placing young Romeo Miller at Number Five, let me explain. Technically Romeo is an actor, his father Master P made sure of that back when he was 12-years-old. His first role was as the tiny little kid in the Jessica Alba dance film, “Honey.”
But why is he placed so high? Well, let’s face it…Romeo is a very attractive dude. When you add the fact that he came from the testicles of Percy Miller and STILL somehow managed to look that good as a young adult deserves at least a Top Five placement.
On top of that, Romeo’s sudden transformation from a “hey, isn’t it your bedtime” little kid to a “yo, can I get your number” sexy young man is extraordinary.
Admittedly, his acting career has not been that impressive. He’s been in a lot of indie films (most produced by his father), but this year’s “Jumping the Broom” is probably his best and biggest role to date. I’m sure this is just the beginning of Romeo’s contribution to young, black Hollywood. I’d bet money that we’ll soon see him in a cameo on a popular show like “The Game” sometime next year.
Now: Top Boy, Outcasts, Get Rich or Die Trying
In this slot I went with a personal favorite, Ashley Walters. He’s a London born actor who’s been putting in work since the age of 10. His first gig was in the premiere episode of the George Lucas TV series, “The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles.”
He worked consistently thereafter but eventually took a break from acting to become Asher D and join the UK gangster rap group know as So Solid Crew. This launched a successful music career until he was arrested on gun charges in 2001 and served eighteen months in prison.
His acting career would quickly reboot with the 2005 indie UK film, “Bullet Boy.” A critically acclaimed smash that got him a role in the US film, “Get Rich or Die Trying” starring rapper 50 Cent.
Ashley is a very charismatic, handsome young man with a sexy British accent, a gym-conditioned body and a nice smile. (is it too gay to say that a grown man has a nice smile?) Again, his acting is light years ahead of the men listed earlier in this list, which is another reason he’s placed here at Number Four.
Now: In Time, Stomp The Yard 2
Actor Collins Pennie is unquestionably an attractive and sexy young man, but what places him so high on this list is his story. He became voluntarily homeless at the age of 15 after bouncing around several foster homes throughout his youth. He managed to get photos of himself taken and hand-delivered them to the Ford Modeling Agency where he eventually signed a contract.
Collins would go on to secure cameos on TV shows and indie films until the 2008 horror remake, “Prom Night,” where I first noticed him. He was the only bright spot in that dreadful excuse for a film. Since then he has starred in music videos by Beyonce (the feminine Gay man’s role model) and held down the lead role in the dance film, “Stomp The Yard 2.” He can currently be seen alongside Justin Timberlake in the film, “In Time.”
Now: Rizzoli & Isles
Yes, I used to occasionally watch the hit Disney Channel show, “The Famous Jett Jackson” starring Lee Thompson Young. But when I watched that show I never thought of Lee as anything more than a cute kid. You know when you see print ads for JC Penny in your huge Sunday paper with those unrealistic kids happily modeling the cheap clothes? That’s how I viewed him: As a Sears or Target weekly print ad model.
But then I saw the 2004 film, “Friday Night Lights” with a grown up, 20-year-old Lee sporting a little facial hair for the first time. It was a wrap from there. He stopped being a “JC Penny Kid” in my mind and became an attractive young man. Several recurring TV roles afterward would reveal that he not only has a pretty nice body, but he also looks really good rocking a full beard.
Currently, Lee can be seen as a homicide detective on the wildly popular TNT show, “Rizzoli & Isles” which somehow averages over nine million viewers per episode.
EDIT: Actor Lee Thompson Young died on the morning of August 19th, 2013 at the age of 29.
Now: Stargate Universe, Make a Movie Like Spike
The Number One slot goes to…someone you’re probably never heard of…Handsome Jamil Walker Smith has spent the bulk of his career doing one-off day player TV cameo roles and voiceover work in cartoons. As a new teenager, Jamil started getting work on popular shows like “The X-Files” and “Sister, Sister.”
Over the years he’s kept working and landed a consistent gig providing the voice of the black cartoon character Gerald Johanssen on the hit animated series “Hey Arnold!” That was probably one of the only dumb kid shows I never watched so I didn’t “discover” Jamil until his two year run in the 2009 SyFy series “Stargate Universe.”
His portrayal of the strong, complicated, masculine character in that series locked him into the top slot for this list. I dug up his “The X-Files” episode as a 13-year-old boy and saw really just how far he’s come. Not only is he now an amazingly attractive man, he’s also a very talented person that I’m sure we’ll see a lot more of in the future.