Actor Robert Riley represents his Caribbean roots in life and art
Actor and musician Robert Riley is taking full advantage of his God-given abilities. As a leading character on “Dynasty,” “Hit the Floor” and Tyler Perry’s “For Better or Worse,” he accepts the hard work and dedication it takes to maintain longevity in the entertainment business. Read on to find out what Riley has in store for fans in 2018.
At what age did you realize that entertainment was for you?
I must have been 20 years old when I wrote my first play with my professor. We touched on the experience of being a minority at a White institution. From that point on, they labeled me as an artist. I didn’t know I could ever be an artist. In that moment, I decided that this [is] what I wanted to do.
How has being Trinidadian contributed to your work ethic?
I’m Trinidadian and Bajan. My mother is Trinidadian and my father is Bajan. We are a people [who] tend to work hard, especially as immigrants. Caribbeans are known for being fun and laid-back, but being the child of immigrant parents, we’re taught that we must work twice as hard to get just as far.
How do you maintain acting and music simultaneously?
You just do what you’re capable of doing. … It’s not something I devoted a specific thought process toward. I used my vacation from “Dynasty” to go to Trinidad and start my recording career. I enjoy what I do as a job, profession or hobby. It’s not something I have to balance. I was presented with this opportunity with this artist named Metro who is on a song called “Prove It” alongside myself. They blended our vocals. … They thought it would be a song I could do and push. I had very little time to prepare but I still made it work. There’s a lot more music to be made and I’m blessed to have SOCA be the genre I start with. You must look at all these successes God gives you and utilize that drive to become better and discover new talents within yourself.
Talk about working on “Hit the Floor” and “Dynasty.”
“Hit the Floor,” was great. It was my breakthrough show and an amazing experience. I’m still recognized by people as “Terrence” from all over the world and it didn’t hurt that I took my shirt off [in] every episode. “Hit the Floor” will be a part of me forever and I’ll be with the Devils for life. I have nothing to do with the new season on BET so I will put that out there.
For me, It’s all about “Dynasty” right now. I’m excited to be playing Michael Culhane. We don’t just talk about people being from all these places, we demonstrate them. These cultural differences are what we need in America and in the world. We are a melting pot and “Dynasty” represents this ideal. Things such as women’s roles in the workplace to homosexuality and racism are all issues that need to be addressed and reflected on in television.