Fitchburg, Wisconsin resident and actor Ajani Carr is a budding community leader at only 14 years old.
When Ajani isn't appearing on hit shows like NBC’s “Chicago P.D.” and PBS’s “Mercy Street,” he is running his non-profit organization, Building Bosses. The foundation helps young people become entrepreneurs and get their businesses off the ground by pairing young people with community business leaders through a six-month course.
“We can show young people how important they are,” he told business leaders at a recent Fitchburg Chamber of Commerce meeting. “I want to show them that they can be their own boss.”
For the young man, being true to himself is important. He told The Cap Times that when he decides on a role that he will not cut off his afro and he won't change the way he speaks to appease others.
“I think if people start to accept the fact that people dress how we dress and talk how we talk, and still be businessmen or women or amazing people, that'd be good. It eliminates the assumptions,” he said.
In addition to working in the film and TV industry, Ajani is a community activist. He champions the rights of young people by speaking up for them when others don't. Whether it is curfews or issues dealing with community policing, he speaks up. Ultimately, he wants others— and himself—- to be judged by their character, not appearance.
“When you see a teenage black kid walking down the street with crazy hair and a hoodie on, it's like, ‘Huh, that's not a businessman,’” said Carr. “Some people are intimidated by it. You get crazy looks for it all the time."
He has a full plate, to say the least, and that is just a sample.
Ajani's next project “The Chi,” a coming-of-age story from Showtime that features the lives of characters on Chicago's south side, is produced by Lena Waithe of Netflix’s “Master of None” and the rapper and actor Common. It is set for release in 2018.