Roi Boyd knew at the age of five that he wanted to become an artist, but he didn’t quite know how that dream would play out. Fast forward a few decades and Boyd is an accomplished professor, artist, musicologist, filmmaker, author, and entrepreneur known for his many contributions to the arts. Join us for this Sheen Magazine exclusive with Roi as he discusses his stellar career and his passion for inspiring others.
Who is Roi Boyd?
Wow. Who is Roi Boyd? Roi Boyd is a professor and an artist.
I have been in the performing arts for nearly 40 years performing in live theatre as an actor. I am also a musician and played rhythm guitar and drums in a few rock bands in the 1980s. I have directed live theatre for 28 years and I am a filmmaker with two professional films under my belt.
I am a musicologist and the author of Bless His Soul: The Agony, the Ecstasy, and the Destiny of Michael Jackson. I cohost the Monday Night Madness radio show every Monday night on the Studio W Buzz radio network. I am a professor of theater and taught K-12 through undergraduate study for 25 years, during which I also directed both educational and professional theatre. I am also a fashion model, represented by CAMEO MODELS INTERNATIONALE and i am a gym rat.
Why do you do what you do?
My work in the arts is something that makes me well. The fine and performing arts have spoken to me since I was a child growing up in Northern Virginia. I was a bit of a musicologist growing up and always knew what was number one on the charts. I knew what I wanted to do at the age of five; I knew I wanted to go into the arts but, at that age, was not quite sure in what capacity. I started writing film scripts at the age of 15 and directing original films with a VHS camera at 16. I strongly believe that I came to this plane to teach and to entertain.
What are some characteristics and traits that you bring to your profession?
Ambition: Don’t be afraid to go for the jugular and reach the pinnacle. Y’know, we’re only here for a while, so go for what you want! We are all meant for success. We were created for success and that means, spiritually, to know our inner power, to be mindful of that, and to understand that this innate power comes from the divine and that we are the extension of the divine. So, while we’re here, go for it!
Drive: My personal mantra for over 30 years now is to “work like there’s no tomorrow.” Now, you have to have a life as well and one has to learn to balance work and life. It is so important to live… to live life because in the “living” of life comes the inspiration for the art that you work relentlessly to create. The genesis of that art comes from life, so live it! Work hard, play hard!
Humility: It is so important to stay humble in this profession. You must be on stage to shine, but that shine has to be maintained. Konstantin Stanislavsky once said, “Love the art in yourself, not yourself in the art.”
Professional and Personal Growth: Never stop growing. Take classes, keep reading. After 36 years of playing guitar, I’m re-learning guitar scales this summer because I want to up my game in playing lead guitar. Learning and growing should never stop.
Perseverance: Never give up. I’m 50 years old and I’m still trucking. There’s still so much I want to do and there’s a long, long road ahead. I still have some energy and I’m ready.
What is Cultural Libations?
Cultural Libations is more than a production company. It’s a multi-disciplinary arts and humanities company that I founded with my life partner, Yemaja Jubilee. Our mission is to support and provide a creative venue to express the human condition through the literary, visual, media, and performing arts.
What is art to music?
Art is music and music is art. That’s the best way I can put it. It must be understood that music is an art because it is an expression of the soul. Even the roughest and crudest stuff burned on wax or digital is an expression of the soul and art is more than visual. The main components in the creation of an arts movement usually come in the following order: visual art, music, literature, and theatre.
The other thing, I feel, is that if you really want to feel “the art” in music, this can be done through a meditation of sorts. Try to listen to the silence between the notes “because it been said, that’s where the real music lies.” It takes practice and you may get it in small pieces, but the vibe is incredible.
What advice would you give to someone who shares your passion and would like to mirror your success?
Don’t give up. Here’s the bigger question: “Is stardom or fame that important?” If you really want this proficiency in your art, if you really, really, want the experience and fulfillment of creation, then stardom and fame should not mean anything to you. I ask my acting students all the time, “Do you want to be a movie star, or do you want to be an actor?”
The way things are now with the internet, you can put yourself out into the world on your own. There are no excuses. 30 to 40 years ago, we had to halfway depend on an entire entertainment and media industry to be heard on a global stage. Today, the opportunity to be heard and seen is as far as your laptop. Stick to it, be true to your work, and respect the art because it will respect you back.
What does success mean to you?
Personal, professional, and financial fulfillment only according to the standards of the individual and not the collective societal standards for the individual. That is success.
What sense of purpose do you draw from your culture and community?
To be black, my way, and to express my blackness, my way! My culture and community reflect my purpose to expose the arts and humanities to make a difference in the lives of my students, to teach and entertain my audience, and to leave a legacy for the generations to come. In the words of Jon Bon Jovi, “I’ve seen a million faces and I’ve rocked them all!”
Stay connected with him by following him on:
Facebook: Boyd LeRoi
L.Roi Boyd III (Professor Pop Culture)
All images by Cameo Models Internationale | Michael A. Hall