Film Courage: Choice, did you grow up in New York?
Choice Skinner, Actor/Instructor: Yeah, I was born and raised, Brooklyn, New York. And I went to high school there, went to elementary school there, went to junior high school.
And I always say that I am a project kid. I don’t have any problem saying that. You know that’s something that sometimes people have a little shame with, but I don’t because I wouldn’t be who I am if I didn’t have those experiences.
I grew up not too far away from Mike Tyson. You know, in New York we have what’s called blocks. And a block is maybe a couple yards depending on where you stay. I was in East New York (Brooklyn). I grew up across the street from Jefferson High School. So Mike Tyson stayed in the opposite direction.
And it’s a funny story about that, Mike Tyson has some cousins and one day I had some sneakers that was given to me, some Converse All-Stars we used to call them. Leather, black on white, upper ankle tops and so high tops they called them.
“I wouldn’t be who I am if I didn’t have those experiences.”
And my brother, he was always the guy around the neighborhood that everybody knew who was like “You don’t mess with this family” because of him.
Well anyway, I got these high tops in school by being on the honor roll. And they were like “Ehh…these guys are going to take your sneakers.”
And I’m like “What? I just got them. Who is going to take my sneakers?” And apparently they were kind of like play cousins of Mike Tyson. And so I was terrified throughout the whole class. People are like “They are going to take your sneakers, what are you going to do?” I’ve got to figure out something.
So end of class the bell rings and I’m saying Oh my God, I’m going to go out here and I’m going to get beat up…(Watch the video on Youtube here)
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There are days when New York City seems to open its doors to you and every single piece falls nicely into place supporting the dream that brought you to that big wonderful city. Then there are the other days…the days when those same pieces become ill-fitting sharp-edged shards ganging up against you and any goal you may have. Those are the days when the cruel heartless city itself seems to be conspiring against you. Those are the days you know you’ve been…New YORK’d. It WILL happen to you…