Transcript

Judy Woodruff: For over five decades, actor Andre De Shields, known for his recent role in “Hadestown” — I mispronounced it earlier — has shared his talents with New York theater audiences.

With Tony, Grammy, and Emmy awards already under his belt, De Shields is still looking forward to what’s ahead.

Tonight, he shares his Brief But Spectacular take on living his most authentic life.

Andre De Shields, Actor: I play Hermes, messenger to the gods, in the Tony Award-winning for best musical Broadway show “Hadestown.”

This is a line from “Hadestown.”

So, here’s the thing, to know how it ends and still begin to sing it again, as if it might turn out this time. I learned that from a friend of mine.

I am the guy who won his first Tony at age 73. I was not surprised that it took seven decades for me to arrive at this particular zenith in my career. This simply means there are many more golden steps for me to take on my journey. I have only begun.

I am the manifestation of my parents’ deferred dreams. I made a vow to myself that, if I was going to have any personal success in life, the first thing I had to do was make education my beacon, to master the language of those who would oppress me.

Why? So that I could always understand what was being said to me and about me, and I could always make myself understood.

I’m a hardworking Black man. All audiences enjoy hardworking Black men. Drop on your knee, sweat a little, smile.

But the legacy that I’m creating, the legacy that I want people to embrace is Black man majesty. There isn’t enough of it in the world. It got smothered during enslavement. It’s time for it to come back.

My name is Andre De Shields, and this is my Brief But Spectacular take on living my most authentic life.

Judy Woodruff: And we’re going to remember that one.

And you can watch all our Brief But Spectacular videos online at PBS.org/NewsHour/Brief.