Legends: Larenz Tate
Without a doubt, Larenz Tate is one of the most underrated actors in Hollywood, ever! It’s kind of weird he's not brought up in discussions when it comes to acting skills or someone deserving of bigger roles.
Larenz Tate started out having a small role on The Twilight Zone, as well as other TV shows such as South Central, 21 Jump Street, The Royal Family, and even The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air. Tate then made his feature-film debut in the classic Menace II Society as O-Dog; O-Dog is an iconic character in Black Hollywood, alongside characters like Nino Brown (New Jack City), Doughboy (Boyz n the Hood), & Bishop (Juice). If Larenz played O-dog in 2017…he would have for sure won either a Golden Globe or an Oscar; I believe that about others too.
After The Inkwell, Tate decided to re-team with the Hughes Brothers for another classic film titled, Dead Presidents, in which Tate stars as Antony Curtis, a high school graduate who decides to enlist in the US Marine Corp, but 4 years later is struggling to live a normal life with his family. Losing his job at the butcher shop and seeing his friends from the same war go through their own struggles back home, Anthony decides to plot an armor truck robbery with his friends from the war and Kirby, a father-like figure to him. When things don't go as planned, due to Cleon informing the police of the situation after he gives out $100 dollar bills to people in his own church, Anthony ends up in prison for 15 years to life. Dead Presidents was actually based on the real life experiences of Haywood T. Kirkland and some of the characters from the film were based on people close to Kirkland. Dead Presidents is very underrated and one of The Hughes Brothers best films, as it showed the struggles of soldiers from the Vietnam war, family issues, drug use and poverty, and it also has a fire soundtrack, actually one of the best soundtracks put together for a film.
After Dead Presidents, Tate starred alongside Nia Long in Love Jones. Tate is Darius Lovehall, a spoken word poet who presents poems in a jazz nightclub & falls in love with Nia Long's character Nina Mosley; the film has a strong cult following due to its realistic display on romance.
Another great role for Larenz Tate was portrayal of doo-wop R&B/Rock and Roll singer Frankie Lymon in Why Do Fools Fall in Love, even though the story was told in a different way, Tate still nailed the role and proved he has dynamic range on the screen.
One of my favorite movies that Larenz co-starred in was, A Man Apart with Vin Diesel and directed by F. Gary Gray. Tate plays a cop who is Diesel's partner & is helping him find his wife's murderer; it's a very underrated film and it doesn't get discussed as much for Gary Gray's resume.
While we're on the F. Gary Gray topic, I was thinking Gray was going to re-team Larenz & Vin Diesel for the Fast and Furious 8, Tate also starred alongside Ludacris (who is Tej in the Fast franchise) in the critically acclaimed Crash and the well received biopic of Ray Charles titled Ray starring Jamie Foxx.
After Ray, Tate had a lot of good but smaller roles in movies, such as Waist Deep with Tyrese and a lot of TV roles in Rescue Me, and House Of Lies.
Since then, Tate has been a part of Gun Hill, the crazy successful Girl's Trip, a very good crime drama indie film on Netflix called Deuces, and recently he's also a part one of the hottest TV shows out right now, Power as Councilman Tate. Even though he was introduced to us in episode 8, we're definitely going to see more of him in season 5. I don't think he's just a councilman, his character is from Queens so he most definitely has a ruthless side to him like Ghost, Kanan & Tommy and I can't wait till he turns into O-Dog or even Anthony with the face paint. Larenz Tate being an additional piece of Power is huge and one of the best casting choices for the show.
Hopefully we get to see more of him in the future, whether it's action like becoming apart of the Fast franchise, another cop film, a drama or even another biopic. I mean if this specific story is brought to the big screen, you put a pair of shades on Larenz Tate then you got a young Stevie Wonder, if he can body the Frankie Lymon role then he can do something special with a young Stevie Wonder. I can't wait to see how his character progresses in Power and we'll see what Larenz Tate has in the vault for the future but it’s time to put him with the heavyweights, and when I say that, I mean the Denzel's, the Will Smith's, Don Cheadle, etc. the man has the talent and it's time that Hollywood starts acknowledging and respecting it.