by Dan Ewald
Deezer D. isnt a nurse, but he plays one on TV. In fact, he plays Nurse Malik
McGrath on ER, NBCs hit drama series. In real life, Deezer (a.k.a. Dearon Thompson)
has faced everything from a drinking problem to breaking the ultimate taboobeing a
working Christian in Hollywood. He also has released a rap album, Livin Up in a Down
World (Prazem Records). Deezer gave us the lowdown on his faith and career.
On his early years: I grew up in South Central L.A. Most of my
relatives were drinkers. It was dysfunctional. (So) when I started doing it, it
wasnt really a big deal. Everything was acceptable. After I moved out, I looked back
on it and said, "My house was like The Jerry Springer Show."
On becoming a Christian: When I first started going to church, I
thought, "This is boring. This is weak." I never looked for the positive. But
then I started hooking up with some guys who were fun and crazy like mebut they
loved the Lord. Now, I do everything that I used to do. Except Im not out there
chasing the females. Im not out there drinking. Im not looking to fill the
void like I used to. I have a personal relationship with Jesus.
On getting his big break: I auditioned for a small part on the show
China Beach and got it. After that, I ran into the casting director, John Wells, again and
said, "Hey, man. If you ever need an actor or something, call me. I dont have
to be the star as long as I work." A couple of years later, he comes up with this
script called ER.
On being a light: All my friends on the show know where I stand.
Were all good friends here
. I go to Eriq (La Salle)s house to watch the
fights. Ive hung out with George (Clooney) thousands of times
. People can
probably tell you how Ive changed in the last couple of years. I think, sometimes,
people get born again and then come to work slapping people upside the head with the
Bible, passing out tracts. But I think you have to be the tract.
On resisting temptation: You gotta practice turning away. I pray hard,
and I surround myself with the right kind of people.
On rap music: My acting career has allowed me to do Christian rap music
and speak to kids. When I started listening to rap, people werent killing people in
songs. Then it got more sexual. I believe I have a responsibility to make some good,
positive hip-hop thats not cheesy.
On choosing roles in Hollywood: Youve gotta have some integrity,
man. Theres this one job that I read for. They wanted me. I said, "If you just
change this and this, Ill do it." The next week, somebody else was sitting in
my chair. If I was not out there speaking to kids. I would have a couple of those parts.
But God has your job for you. I know that Hes going to honor my turning down those
Reprinted by Permission New Man.