This past February, Netflix released a ten part miniseries, Seven Seconds! Months later, new viewers are still discovering the phenomenon that did not present a fairytale story or ending. Rather a ripped from the headlines storyline, sparking conversations on our failing legal and justice system.
Breakout star, Corey Champagne was a fresh face that played the role of Kadeuce Porter in the series. While many may think his success was instantaneous, that is not the case. Champagne began his work at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta where he was a Junior Player, landing his first lead role in a play. From there he attended North Springs Art & Science High School where he studied drama, chorus, and musical theatre.
After much studying, Champagne began extra/stand in work to start his acting career in the field. The actor shared that apart of his early journey was “working for little to most of the time no money. Every part of my journey taught me something that ultimately helped get me to this place, and there’s still a lot more work to be done.”
While the journey was not an overnight success, Champagne said he “struggled with when his moment would take place. I think every person trying to break into the industry at some point has experienced are we there yet? syndrome, where you feel as if you are either getting older or you’ve been going after it for so long and wonder when is something going to give. Asking yourself, is it really worth it? I certainly experienced that in the months leading up to booking Seven Seconds, but what that taught me is to trust my journey. Oftentimes we look at our current circumstance and forget how far we’ve come. It’s not just about celebrating only after you get the opportunity, it’s about celebrating because you’re one day closer to getting to it.”
Champagne continued to trust his journey, which led to landing the biggest role of his career yet. When Champagne received the call, he was “shocked, nervous and excited, for sure. I was sent to the audition on a Wednesday. By Monday, I’m in New York City at my first fitting and filming my first scene. It was a whirlwind, and a lot to react to, but even then I don’t think it really hit me how big of an opportunity this would be.”
In the miniseries we are introduced to a black Jersey City teenager, Brenton Butler. Butler was accidentally injured and killed by a car driven by a white police officer. Police were called to the scene, assuming Butler was dead, and covering up the accident. While lawmakers uncovered the case, racial tensions began in the face of injustice and the absence of a solution to take place. Champagne believes “our writers did an excellent job in depicting the flaws and shortcomings of the American Justice System. It certainly poses the question, ‘how do you fix something that was created already broken?’ One of the reasons we only get to see Brenton Butler’s face once in the show is because his character is a representation of all the nameless, faceless black lives that were deemed less worthy of justice that they and their families rightfully deserve.”
For more information on Corey Champagne
Images by Darryl Humphery