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Speakeasy with ... IronE Singleton

The quiet cast member of AMC's 'The Walking Dead' shares insight on 'T-Dog' and himself



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Considering you're on "The Walking Dead," it's kind of ironic that your one-man show is named "The Resurrection," where you play 18 characters.
They range from playing everybody from my mother to God. The scene I have with my mother, it's me as a 17-year-old when she told me she contracted HIV. It was an interesting scene because when I was in my mid-20s, I'm married with two kids and I was in the bathroom at 3 in the morning and I saw an apparition of my mother and she explained why she was physically and verbally abusive toward me explaining her childhood and upbringing. That brought a need to forgive her and I just listened. In the show, I revisited this moment because I knew had she lived we would have had that moment eventually to repent in a sense. We touch on that and when she told me she had HIV, and she says it jokingly because she didnââ'¬â"¢t know how to express something like that. I was raised to keep things on the inside - we all were. I played the hoochie momma, I played the thug, I play the crack addict and the character named "do dirty" who is the nemesis in my show. That comes full circle and shows a message of karma - what goes around comes around - and it was because of certain things that the character IronE had done in his past that come back to haunt him. But I'm glad in real life it was a different outcome than what we see in the show. The overall theme of the show is truth and love. I preach that you can't have one without the other.

When did you come up with the name IronE?
In 2000, right before I went to L.A. I needed something to serve as an icebreaker. I needed to tell my story. I'm not here to be an actor, I'm here to tell my story and inspire others. So IronE would become that name, it would serve as the icebreaker.

It's hard for me to envision IronE the actor from what you mention in your past. How did you get into acting?
The thing that got me on this path was football, it was the outlet, I used it as my way out of that terrible situation in the homes. I was determined to get my family out. But there were other things along the way that inspired me. When I was 11, there was something called the bounty program and my grandmother and aunt entered me in the program - that was my first taste of acting. I did Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliette and I liked it. I was going against kids from private schools but I held my own and gave me this extra boost of confidence. So when I got to the 11th grade I wrote a play based on Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech and entered it in the citywide oratorical contest and I came in second place. My teachers and my grandmother thought I should have won because I was that good.

As a native, how do you feel about Atlanta and how it's changed?
Atlanta is home, I love it here. I've been here my whole life. Some people I speak to and they say, "I'm from Atlanta, man. I'm ready to go, I'm tired of Atlanta." And I'm like, "How can you say that?" Of all the places I'd rather live in the state, it's Atlanta, Ga., that's the place.

I was the mascot for nine years. I was the baseball head - Homer. I've probably done every mascot in town. I've done Thrash, but only once, and I've never done Freddy the Falcon, but I've done Texas Pete hot sauce bottle, I've done Scooby Doo. It was during college, I auditioned to be a mascot after I transferred to UGA, so I was Homer from '97 to 2006. During that time, I saw all of Georgia and what it had to offer and like the rural areas and the mountains, the big cities and the coast. Georgia has everything to offer. So in traveling throughout the country and seeing different places ... I realized how special a place Atlanta is. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else in the States.

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