Smooth. Flawless. Perfection.
These words seem inadequate to describe the incredible (and I do mean INCREDIBLE) talent that is Leslie Odem Jr. Although he’s known as an actor of film, tv & stage, it’s his voice that has had the biggest impact on me. When he starts to sing, the world melts away. I close my eyes and it’s just his voice and the music.
I heard of him several years ago, but it wasn’t until the release of Hamilton this past summer, that I came to appreciate his contributions to arts. As I watched him bring Aaron Burr to life, I was captivated by the way he commanded the stage. Just when I thought he’d sung my new favorite song, he’d sing another and THAT would be my new favorite!
His newest project, One Night In Miami, inspired me yet again. Speak Now, the theme song, has been on repeat since I heard it. His vocals combine with the powerful cry challenges us to remember those who’ve gone before and continue our pursuit for justice.
His portrayal of Aaron Burr taught me to appreciate his gifts.
Speak Now inspires me to stay the course for social justice.
Actor & singer are not Odem’s only accolades. He is also an author, releasing his book “Failing Up: How to Take Risks, Aim Higher and Never Stop Learning,” in 2018.
True, he doesn’t fit the usual criteria for a Black History Month feature because of his age. Yet, if the idea is to honor those who’ve impacted American culture, changed the fabric of their craft and influenced those around them including generations to come, then he is more than deserving of the recognition.