Husband and wife Eddie Sutton (Russell Hornsby) and Jenn Sutton (Nicki Micheaux) show the truth strength of the Black family on the ABC Family series “Lincoln Heights.”
“Honestly, when the show first started I thought we were only going to be on for one season and be done,” says Hornsby. “Although this is my fifth series, I’d never had two seasons of anything so I just didn’t have that kind of confidence at the time. I’ve been proven wrong because the network believes in us.”
In “Lincoln Heights,” Hornsby, an Oakland native, plays the role of husband, father and police officer.
“The most important [thing] is to focus on the father’s relationship with his family, which oftentimes is so disjointed and broken because Black fathers are rarely portrayed in the home,” says Hornsby. “I hope that this show is setting a wonderful example for young Black women of what the possibilities are between a father and his daughter. If in some way Eddie Sutton serves as a surrogate for those young women who don’t have a relationship with their own fathers, then we’re doing a positive thing.”
Hornsby stars opposite actress Mena Suvari in the thriller film “Stuck.”
“I created that character based on the Cowardly Lion in `The Wizard of Oz,’ says Hornsby. “He’s a drug dealer in a White community and has all this false bravado, yet he’s tender and scared at his core.”
Hornsby has appeared in many featured films, including “Something New,” “Big Fat Liar” and “Get Rich or Die Tryin’.”
“As an artist, I have to tell the truth because I’m a vessel,” says Hornsby, “and my hunger and passion to tell these stories can’t be stifled or else that’s what eats away at you.”
Aside from “Lincoln Heights,” Hornsby has made his mark on television, appearing in popular series such as “Girlfriends,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” and “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.”
“I’m speaking for those two who can’t speak on a national scale,” says Hornsby. “I’m telling the world that these people exist even though you walk by them every day. Those people matter—that’s what part of my job is.”
The stage actor received an Obie and Drama Desk Award for his role in “Jitney,” his off-Broadway debut.
“I don’t think Black people believe I am as soulful or conscious as I am,” says Hornsby, “because of my body of work, which has largely been mainstream television series. They have a different idea about me.”
Hornsby was not only a student of Boston University’s theater arts program, but attended Oxford University to study with the British Academy of Dramatic Arts.
“I have a theatrical background, and I love playing characters that go against the grain of who people believe that character to be,” says Hornsby. “Those are the characters that appeal to me most.”