• 52°

Familiar face graces movie set once again

LANSING, MI – Murfreesboro native Aqeel Taahir Ash-Shakoor remembers the first time he stood on a stage and performed theatrically.

It was in 2010 when he played the lead role as Jesus Christ in a church play titled, “I’ll Rise Again,” at the C.S. Brown Cultural Arts Center located in Winton. The play was staged by his church, Parkers Grove Baptist of Mapleton.

Aqeel Ash-Shakoor

“I didn’t do anything else like that for a time afterwards as God moved me in a different direction,” said the former law enforcement officer who went on to earn a degree in ministry.

Nowadays, the “acting bug” has bit him again as Ash-Shakoor is preparing for the release of his second lead role in a feature film.

In Renika McQueen’s edgy dramatic thriller, “Cain and Abel,” directed by Kamal Smith, Ash-Shakoor will play Willie, the neighborhood business man, who becomes the father figure/leadership of raising young Cain and Abel.

The film features a sequence of events that greatly impact Cain and Abel, their mother, and everyone in the village of raising these young men. Nothing short of what many know as the biblical account of Cain and Abel, McQueen’s thrilling drama reveals many messages of real life dramas we all face today in a village raising youth.

The film also features his wife, Tanesha Ash-Shakoor, JD, who plays a judge. She is a native of Edgecombe County.

The “Cain and Abel” premiere and Red Carpet event will take place on Saturday, May 1, five days before Aqeel’s 51st birthday, at the Emagine Royal Oak Theater in Royal Oak, MI.

In the meantime, Aqeel is counting down the days prior to the April 10 season premiere of “Smoking Good”, a TV series. He had played “bit” roles on other TV shows, but this marks his first as a regular on a series.

“It’s all been a blessing for me; God has kept his mighty hands on me,” said Aqeel, speaking to the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald this week from his home in Lansing, Michigan. “I’m comfortable in front of a movie camera; this is something I enjoy doing.”

Five years after his 2010 performance in Winton, Aqeel landed a spot in a TV commercial.

“It’s been on like hotcakes from that point forward,” he laughed.

While preparing for his next Red Carpet event, Aqeel has been nominated as Detroit’s Favorite Actor. Voting for The Detroit Choice Awards continues until March 30. The top three finalists in each category will be announced on April 1.

You can show your support for this local native by casting your vote at www.detroitchoiceawards.com. You may vote more than once.

Aqeel’s first lead role in a feature film came last year in “Turn of the Cheek.” That film was released Aug. 29 on Vimeo on Demand. It’s a faith-based film centering on

Forgiveness that was written and directed by Janaya Black of Black-Smith Enterprises.

Prior to these two TV movie roles, Aqeel landed his first ever modeling job in May 2015 with the well-known Mid-West Fashion show, “Walk Fashion Show.” Since then, he has filmed several commercials on the national level, feature films, and short films. He has also co-starred in the popular “Chicago Med” on NBC and has been featured in other TV shows on the major networks, to include “The Chi.”

Tanesha Ash-Shakoor

Born on May 6, 1970 in Murfreesboro to the now late Melvin Lee Liverman and Evangeline Gatling Moore, who later married Henry Lee Moore, Aqeel attended Murfreesboro High School and was a graduate of the final class there (1988) prior to the consolidation of both Ahoskie and Murfreesboro High Schools. Aqeel played baseball, basketball, and football all four years.

His paternal grandparents are the late Gealone and Clara (Walton) Liverman of Murfreesboro, and his maternal grandparents are the late Willie and Naomi Gatling of Mapleton.

After high school, he joined the United States Marine Corps and continued playing football as a strong safety for three years of his Marine Corps career. He served as a United States Marine Security Guard at the US Embassies of Bonn, Germany; Havana, Cuba (US Interest Section); and the US Embassy Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He was honorably discharged from the United States Marine Corps as a Gulf War Veteran at the rank of Staff Sergeant.

After relocating his family and himself back in Hertford County in July 2000, Aqeel begin working as a Deputy Sheriff for the Hertford County Sheriff’s Office for the next seven years before returning to college to earn his Bachelors of Science Degree in Business Administration from Saint Paul’s College in Lawrenceville, VA and then earning his Masters of Science Degree in Criminal Justice from Everest University in Tampa, FL.

He would then go onto work as a Drug Court Probation & Parole Officer in the Norfolk, VA Probation and Parole Office.

In 2010, Aqeel returned to North Carolina, employed by the Bertie County Probation and Parole Office.

Shortly after relocating to Lansing, MI in 2013, Aqeel and his wife graduated and received their Doctorate Degrees in Ministry from the Chaplaincy International Canadian Association (C.I.C.A.) University & Seminary, Houston, TX. They were appointed Ambassadors At-Large to the United Nations, and planted their church ministry, Walking With Christ Worship Center.

Please follow Aqeel Ash-Shakoor on Instagram @Aqeeltheactor and keep up with his latest ventures on his website: www.aqeelashshakoor.com

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

email author More by Cal