- Spent part of his childhood in Bessemer, AL, before returning to his native Illinois for high school.
- Credited two high school teachers---Tim Sweeney and Bill Kirksey---with steering him toward the performing arts. Got hooked on acting as a freshman after Sweeney cast him as Junie in a production of George C. Wolfe's play The Colored Museum.
- Wrote UGLy, a play about domestic violence, after his sister Alice was murdered by her husband. The play won the Lincoln Center's Martin E. Segal Award.
- Was a year ahead of True Blood costar Rutina Wesley at Juilliard.
- Wrote, executive produced and starred in Trespass (2005), one of five finalists for the 2006 HBO Short Film Award at the American Black Film Festival (ABFF).