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48th NAACP Image Awards - Press Room

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Queen Sugar is definitely making waves on television.  The OWN show, now in its second season, continues to portray compelling and nuanced characters. Recently, the Ava DuVernay show debuted Toine Wilkins, a transgender character who’s a police officer and childhood friend of the character Ralph Angel. Brian Michael Smith, the actor who took on the role of Toine, used the show to come out as transgender himself.

Smith spoke to NBC Out, “When I got into my training, I realized that you really had to bring all of yourself to your roles. And you have to create the roles with your experience to inform what you’re doing. I was really working from an incomplete version of myself. I was leaning into the parts that were comfortable for me: roles around moving from one town to another or dating and things like that.”

He continued, “But the more time I spent doing the acting training and doing a lot of self-investigation and through therapy, I became more comfortable with my entire self as a person.”

Smith also said when he felt more complete in his personal life, he was ready to carry that over into his acting. “There were a lot experiences I had during my transition and post transition, and I feel that I learned a lot, and I wanted to share that through my work as an artist.” Congrats to Brian Michael Smith for living your truth!

You can read more about Smith’s acting career and his celebration of more trans characters on television, here.


‘Queen Sugar’ Actor Comes Out As Transgender  was originally published on