Some may recognize the legendary actor and director, Gregg Daniel, as the star who plays Molly’s dad David Carter in the American comedy-drama television series Insecure.
Daniel has participated in over 200 productions onstage and onscreen, a feat accomplished by few. In the pursuit of his impressive career, he has also had to balance his busy life while starting a family of his own with his wife Veralyn and their daughter Kennedy.
Daniel recently spoke with Dear Fathers on wrapping up the final season of Insecure, balancing his career and family and advocating for change in the film industry. He can’t say too much about the last season of Insecure but ensures viewers will be in for a treat as the characters continue to grow in their adult lives.
“This last season of Insecure will be about growth and change. In the five seasons I’ve been on the show, this is the most prominent we’ve been as the characters face many life-impacting transitions. Playing Molly’s father in the show, she continues to grow as a friend and daughter. And it’s all human. I’ve been honored to work with a remarkable cast filled with diverse, great talent. Witnessing a large group of women making decisions and building the structures to get to where we need to be. Issa Rae is making it possible, not just for the actors but also people working behind the scenes.”
Daniel is also one of the stars of “7th and Union,” the boxing film that recently premiered at the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival. The film is the story of Raymundo, a Mexican ex-fighter, who forms an unlikely bond with a disgruntled man (played by Daniel), whose life and relationship with his daughter are unraveling. The two men join forces to win a fight that could very well save Raymundo, his wife and their child.
“It’s a story about strength and family values, and the struggles of many Black and Brown families. It showcases the human experience that can be taken off camera. Though we have our differences, Black and Brown communities share the same fight. And it falls on the family to see the good and get things through.”
Daniel says his daughter is his greatest accomplishment to date, besides his career. He is extremely family-oriented and consistently puts his family first, something that has not always been easy to do in the duration of his career.
“When it comes to my work, I would not do anything that I could not show her, unless I feel that she will be proud of me. I was fine with turning down work too. Time is the most valuable thing and kids grow up fast. I wanted to know what was coming up with her life, and cherish and create the moments she would remember. My family is everything and I continue to create space for them to be a part of my life and career. Approval from them is important to me.”
Daniel’s father was one of many influences that inspired him to go into the film and theatre industry. His father kept a volume of Shakespeare around the house which influenced his love for language. Born and raised in New York City, Daniel remembers that he had no fewer chances to go and see shows.
“When I saw my first classical production, I was very stunned by the language and costumes. I wanted to make this my life. From the Negro Ensemble Company to the New York Shakespeare Festival, having access to productions and plays, watching other persons of color perform on the stage, impressed me to give my livelihood to the arts and to serve as a role model for the next generation to stand on.”
Daniel devotes his extra time as a dramatic arts professor at the University of Southern California to help inspire the next generation of aspiring actors. It is important to him that he helps contribute back to his community by sharing his extensive entertainment experience with others. Being a Black father, he understands the importance of empowering the youth to be successful in the future.
“I’ve been inspired by this generation of leadership, from the Black Lives Matter movement to kicking down body shaming, it is just a different time. By creating opportunities, we can help youth fulfill their dreams and hopes. Serving as a mentor, helping direct shows with the MFA students, are just some of the ways I can give back.”
Daniel prides himself in being an advocate for change on multiple spectrums. From inclusion and diversity in Hollywood to ending animal cruelty, he has utilized his voice to do his part in making the world a better place for future generations to come.
“The glass is half full and not half empty. We all have to be a part of that change, socially and culturally. The time for that is now. And as a Black father, I understand the impact and contributions we give to society that cannot be measured enough. Fathers are devoted to their family and their children to truly make a difference in the world.”
Follow Gregg on Instagram – @officialgreggdaniel