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There are those in Hollywood who have strong opinions, strong convictions, and passion for others; actor Nate Parker (The Great Debaters) is one. Nate and I first met about six months ago and recently we sat down to talk about what inspires, moves, and compels him not only in his acting work but also in his work within the community.

In the time that I have known Nate he has always been a pillar of strength in his values and respect for the craft of acting. He is moved by stories told through film that touch people’s hearts. In his off camera life Nate is another pillar of strength, a leader. He is one of the shining beacons of light that lead and support other actors, inspiring them to choose strong roles, stay centered and grounded, become the best that they can be, as well as provide support and guidance as any good leader does everywhere they go.

Once a dear friend of mine spent months working on writing a personal mission statement, when she was done she shared it with me and asked my opinion. Her mission was ‘to BE love so that OTHER’S may experience life’. Now I thought that was one of the most profound statements and life goals I had ever heard. When I see Nate Parker whether on screen or off he is a walking example of that love. It emanates from him and into everything he touches. This is because of his unwavering Christian faith that he fully ‘walks’, not simply ‘talks’.

Every time I see Nate he carries a refreshing attitude of ‘what can I give’ to this situation, not ‘what can I get out of it’. He is one of the people within the acting community to whom I look. Sometimes in challenges I have asked myself ‘what would Nate do’. Thus through his incredible walk which I have had the honor of catching glimpses of, he has through his actions become an unknowing mentor to me.

Nate Parker and Rachel Zeskind
Nate Parker and Rachel Zeskind

When we sat down for a recent on-camera interview, a simple ten minute piece for Look To The Stars site and page, what unfolded was an incredible forty five minute interview that exposed his roots of being raised in Virginia by a single mother in a lower income area. He took no credit for his own successes, instead he named the strong men in his extended family and community who stepped up and mentored him along with God.

Now mentoring youth has become a passion for Nate. He has become involved in many inner city youth mentorship programs. Despite his quick rise to fame and the huge demand for him to act in some of the most powerful films that are in development today, Nate’s heart is as dedicated to giving back to the community and healing the next generation.

Recently Nate, as is his way, joined in a mission for a cause which captivated his heart. He didn’t talk about it; he simply got on a plane and did it. This was aiding in the campaign for the now President Elect of the United States, Barack Obama. In a way very similar to the character Nate played in Denzel Washington's film ‘The Great Debaters’, Nate tirelessly and fully dedicated every moment to campaigning for Barack Obama and speaking out to affect the change our time desperately calls for.

Nate, although deeply connected to and involved with numerous causes and campaigns, is involved in making a positive impact on those in his family, community, country and world. He lives his life like the pebble which is dropped into a calm pond and with the weight of it’s fall causes positive ripples of change that will continue to help other’s to fully experience life.

Recently Nate spent time in Africa and he spoke with deep concern for the continent’s future. Again, he is a man of action and seeks the solution and to be a part of it, rather than simply pontificate about the problem.

Knowing that I am a single mother, Nate always takes the time when I run into him to stop and ask me about the important things, family, heart, God. In this way he is a man of his community, honoring his wife, family, and taking the time to guide, listen, and love his brother’s and sister’s of the world.

In the future I have no doubt that he will continue to rise to even greater heights with his tremendous talent as an actor. I also have no doubt that he will continue to use all the gifts and abilities he has been graced with to empower, heal, and mentor change from community to community around the globe starting with his own back yard.

For more information about the organizations Nate supports, keep your eyes out for the full on-camera interview, which will air on and in the upcoming weeks.

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