Hosea Chanchez‘s introduction to Los Angeles was a series of unfortunate events. At 17, he dropped out of school and drove across the country with his cousin in his Mitsubishi Eclipse, expecting to stay with a family member and pursue his dream of being a working actor.
His housing plans fell through, but his relative organized for him to temporarily crash with a friend.
“I ended up staying one night with this young lady, and I had no idea that she was on drugs and was dating her drug dealer,” he said during this week’s “Renaissance Man.”
If it sounds ominous, it was.
Hosea, fresh off a life-changing road trip filled with Biggie Smalls, Snoop Dogg, Tupac and Brandy tunes, unpacked his belongings into the house.
“And the next day the drug dealer boyfriend kicked the door down, stole all my stuff. And I mean everything but the red Dirt Devil vacuum cleaner. He stole all of my stuff and forbid me to come back to the house … And the rest of the cash that I had — I think I had about $1,200 — she stole,” he said.
Welcome to Hollywood, kid.
With nowhere to go, he moved into his car and slept in the Riverside Walmart parking lot under the lights so the security guard could keep watch. He showered at a YMCA and ate fast food to survive. But he did not tell his family about his rude entry to the West Coast because he knew his mother would come get him and bring him home.
Hosea, who was also raised by his grandparents, had just lost his grandmother. Her death motivated him to take a chance out in LA.
“I knew I had nothing to lose,” he said of her death. He was also inspired by his mother’s persistence and work ethic.
“My mom is the hardest working woman I’ve ever met in my life, and she’s about 4-foot-9 or something … And she never takes no for an answer.”
The trajectory of his life changed when he went to get a haircut for a job interview and met a man named Jerome.
“Jerome is an angel. And this man single-handedly took me under his wing. He, at that time, was a foster parent to other people,” he said, adding somehow Jerome knew he was struggling.
“But he knew that I didn’t have a place to live because he kept drilling me about specific questions. Lo and behold, this man had ties to Hollywood, and he was a part of the reason why I was able to get to where I needed to be, because Jerome took me under his wing, allowed me to have a place to live. He invited me into his home and into his church hall and into his family. And because of that, I am where I am today.”
Where is he today? Well, he’s a massive success after landing the role of Malik Wright on the early aughts show “Girlfriends,” its spinoff, “The Game,” and its recent revival on Paramount+. He also starred in the sports drama “All American.” Recently, he launched “The Good Fellas,” a talk show focused on black men’s mental health. It all started with a “re-realization.”
“I was molested at a really young age by my friend’s father. And I’d forgotten it. I’d put it completely out of my mind intentionally. And I looked up, and 20-something years later, you know, almost 30-something years later, I realized that this had actually happened to me. And it hit me like a ton of bricks. It sent me into a depression and a tailspin … And so I didn’t know how to express that.”
He started writing in his journal about the traumatic experience and eventually turned it into a one-man show, “Good Mourning.” The exercise prompted him to dig deeper than ever – and led to his newest project. And while he still has a few things to check off his career bucket list, which includes working with Denzel Washington, he’s grateful for his bumpy journey.
“My dreams actually came true in a way that I never imagined they would.”
Detroit native Jalen Rose is a member of the University of Michigan’s iconoclastic Fab Five, who shook up the college hoops world in the early ’90s. He played 13 seasons in the NBA before transitioning into a media personality. Rose is an analyst for “NBA Countdown” and “Get Up,” and co-host of “Jalen & Jacoby.” He executive-produced “The Fab Five” for ESPN’s “30 for 30” series, is the author of the best-selling book “Got To Give the People What They Want,” a fashion tastemaker and co-founded the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy, a public charter school in his hometown.
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