Demetria McKinney‘s success is something we are all more aware of now that she is slated to star on Real Housewives of Atlanta, but what about her struggles? Since Demetria launched her acting career she has been an inspiration to many, giving speeches at events and gaining more admirers with every appearance and interview. Here’s why:
1. She raised a son on her own. At a young age, Demetria gave birth to a son. Rather than going back home to her parents, she decided to support herself, getting a job as a waitress and working toward a college degree in order to secure her future.
2. She got an education. At first, Demetria had decided that college was not for her. Once she had a baby, however, she realized a degree would be what she needed to provide a suitable life for herself and her child. She was able to obtain a vocal scholarship and went back to school, taking advantage of all the opportunities it afforded her- including studying abroad in Italy.
3. She advocates for supporting our own establishments and accomplishments. She often talks about making her living off acting in the “chitlin circuit,” which is a colloquial term for the performance venues in the regions of the country that were safe for blacks to perform in during the Jim Crow era. She boasts of selling out arenas and stadiums with Tyler Perry‘s plays all over the country, and urges us not to discount that success.
4. She knows art has influence, and strives to do so positively. While promoting a play called “Church Girl” in 2011, she noted the struggles her main character went through may be able to teach audience members something about how important it is for family members to listen to and support each other. “Open your eyes, that’s all I want. I want someone to open their eyes… to what their daughter or son might be on their way to. [And] what the husband did to kind of cause this, because everyone’s choices affect each other.”