Meet 'Dear White People''s DeRon Horton
DeRon Horton is a Texas born actor and musician.
Raised in Saudi Arabia from the age of 10, he later majored in performing arts at the Savannah College of Art and Design. DeRon has starred in multiple short films such as LIONS AND LAMBS, as well as having leading parts in recent movies including Burning Sands and the Netflix series Dear White People, that follows several black college students at an Ivy League Institution. He also creates RnB-inspired music in his spare time.
What is the political relevance of Dear White People?
Honestly, the show isn't really that political. I know the title is striking but the series is just about being a black student in a predominantly white environment and the micro aggressions that come with it. I do think in Season 2, though, the integration of Armstrong Parker was an avenue into the ways some cultures appropriate our own. But we're all influenced by each other in one way or another.
What is the main message you would like people to take away from Dear White People?
I think people will take many different things away from the show, and ultimately it's up to them what they walk away with. But as a society, we should acknowledge the differences in the country and do our best to work together and celebrate them or support them. Not just the differences between black and white people, but with the hundreds of other ethnicities and cultures in this world. Micro aggressions and racism will never end, but the step to change is first acknowledgement. Treat everyone with kindness, stand up for what’s right, and never be afraid to live your own truth.
Why do you think there aren’t many narratives like that of Lionel in Dear White People – the narrative of the gay, black man, on TV today?
I don't really know the answer to that. I think some people just don't know how tell the story well enough. Justin Simien [the Director of Dear White People] is a genius.
Do you think there is enough representation of black people in Ivy League universities?
No I don't, to be honest. I'm super grateful I have had the opportunity to use my ability to portray these things though; the chance to give black people and youngsters something aspire to. Sometimes African Americans are pin holed into stereotypes, which I’m sure I don’t need to give examples of. But it's a breath of fresh air to see us as scholars and entrepreneurs as well.
How would you describe the experience of working with Denzel Washington?
Humbling. Inspiring. A part of me didn't believe it for some reason. I still don't. It honestly feels like a glitch in time.
What actors did you look up to when you were younger, and have you had the chance to work with any of them yet?
Denzel, of course. Will Smith was a big part of my life. Danny Glover, Eddie Murphy, Martin Lawrence. Jamie Foxx is who I aspire to be, period. His talent is exceptional – I’m convinced he’s an alien. I've only worked with Denzel but I would definitely do it again! John Malkovich is my favourite actor of all time, though. And Jim Carrey. Too many to name!
What can we expect next from you in terms of your acting career?
Only God knows.
As well as a talented actor, you’re a talented musician. Have you ever considered combining the two, like acting in a musical?
Wow, thank you! The fact that you're asking me this question makes me nervous. It never occurred to me that people would actually listen to the music I create. So now I feel pressure to actually work harder on it. Musical?... Nah not something I've thought about.
Are there any musicians that inspire you and who have influenced your own music?
I like a lot of older music. Teddy Pendergrass inspires me for sure and so does KEM (especially ‘Love Calls’ and ‘I Can't Stop Loving You’). PartyNextDoor is definitely someone I faithfully listen to. Rick James. Jon B. I'm really into RnB so a lot of what I create has that atmosphere. I’m experimenting to keep it real.
Who would you compare yourself to musically?
I don’t compare myself. I'm still super nervous about sharing music that I do. It’s all up in the air. It is what it is. It's all love.