Charles Reese: Moving From Web Series To TV Series
FROM WEB SERIES TO TV SERIES:
CHARLES REESE, THE LONE SURVIVOR ON BET-CENTRIC’S NEW HIT COMEDY
“BEAUTY AND THE BALLER”
Noted international performance artist, story teller and author, Charles Reese plays television’s newest feisty chef in his breakout role of Jalil Baldwin in “Beauty and the Baller” based on the web series, “Who…” created by Emmy winning writer-producer, Michael Ajakwe Jr. The single camera scripted summer tv series is now airing season one through September 9, 2017 on CentricTV on Saturdays at 10/9c. 7pst.
Charles Reese has known “Beauty and the Baller” creator Michael Ajakwe Jr. since the start of their careers in the late 1980s. But it took 22 years for them to work together thanks to Mike having caught a 20-minute excerpt of Charles’ riveting performance project about the late great civil rights activist and writer James Baldwin at the first NAACP Theater Awards One-Act Festival in 2008.
When Michael was assembling the cast for his web series, “Who…”, he had two other actors in mind to play the nameless silent
servant. But he kept thinking of Charles’ performance and wondered, ‘Why not him?’ So he called Charles in to read for a role that had no lines and appreciated what Charles was able to still bring to the character who would be named Jalil. By the end of the 12-episode first season of “Who…” Jalil was no longer a servant but a chef and not only had lines but was an integral part of the online series.
In the television adaptation of “Who…” now known as “Beauty and the Baller”, Charles continues in his role as the 5-star chef Jalil Baldwin (surname given in honor of Charles’ hero and muse James Baldwin) only instead of being the lead character’s bestie from childhood, he is now her uncle. The series was shot on location in Calabasas, CA, four years ago under a SAG-AFTRA New Media Agreement and was finally acquired by BET- Centric TV, a division of Viacom Media Networks in the fall of 2016. The new series premiered on Saturday, July 22, 2017. (4 years, 6 months and 22 days from the actual completion date of the 9 episodes). Beauty and Baller Executive Producer Michael Ajakwe, Jr. states, “Charles is the classic prototype example of, ‘there are no small roles, just small actors’. He took a nothing role, made it into something and it has taken him from a supporting role in a web series to a starring role in a TV series. That’s not luck- that’s skill, smarts and faith.”
“Beauty and the Baller” follows young attractive, newlyweds John and Deena Castle protrayed by Akeem Smith (“Single Ladies” and “Teen Wolf”) and Diandra Lyle (Paramount Network’s “American Woman”), respectfully, as they adjust to lifestyle changes brought on by newfound wealth-that is, “new money.” Reese, reprising his role of Jalil Baldwin from the webseries, is the couple’s live in chef and Deena’s uncle. The familial ties really adds even more comic relief with his quips and humorous candor.
Reese says, “My character Jalil Baldwin reminds me of those wonderful witty neighborhood folk who I remember from my childhood days in Washington DC. They were hard working people who migrated to DC from the South. They were filled with a great sense of pride, humor and style for telling you the truth unfiltered.”
Reese, a New York Audelco Award nominee, is a graduate of Morehouse College with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications and theatre arts. He is known in the theatrical circles for originating the role of James Baldwin in the Off-Broadway New Federal Theatre production of Howard Simon’s James Baldwin: A Soul on Fire. Critic David DeWitt of The New York Times called the play, “…funny, thrilling and wise, buoyed by the passionate performance of Charles Reese in the title role.”
Reese has travelled and performed internationally in London and Paris with his highly popular literary performance project, “The James Baldwin Literary & Conversation Salon Series.” He is a presenting guest speaker alumnus of the 2016 International James Baldwin Conference at the American University of Paris, France and a contributing writer for the book volume, “James Baldwin: Challenging Authors” for Furman University/Sense Publishing.
Additional Off-Broadway and Regional Theatre credits include: In Dahomey (New Federal Theatre); Freedom Fighters & Friends (Arena Stage); Julie Hebert’s St. Joan and the Dancing Sickness (Open Fist Theatre); and Myla Churchill’s Griot Trio (Aaron Davis Hall). New Media, TV & Film credits include: “Who…” ; “Law & Order”;”Between The Lines”; “Grapevine”; “In the Heat of the Night”; “40”; “On The Low”; and “Road Lawyers & Other Briefs.”
“Beauty and the Baller” season one airs on Centric TV on Saturdays at 10/9c. 7pst. To find the Centric TV channel in your local areas, please visit: www.centrictv.com.
Check out Charles Reese as Jalil Baldwin in Beauty and The Baller | Season 1 | Episode 3 | Caught Up (Part 2) by clicking this link:
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Charles Reese, promotional headshot — Photo by Carolyn A. Butts.
“Beauty and the Baller Promo Card,” -design courtesy of Sean O’Halloran.
“Meet Charles Reese as Jalil Baldwin Promo Card”- Courtesy of BET/Centric TV.