Today we’d like to introduce you to A’Cire.
A’Cire, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I am originally from a city in Virginia called Newport News. If you ask some of the natives about Newport News you may hear the nickname “Bad News”, or “Down the Bottom” because the housing projects were I lived was nestled at the lower bay area of the city amidst the crab factories and the Newport News shipyard. I am the eldest of five children and the mother of four beautiful children. My family moved to Decatur, GA just prior to my entering into the ninth grade.
Being the eldest of five children was not easy. I spent most of my childhood caring for my siblings when my mom would be gone most of the day and sometimes into the night. I learned how to cook for them and make them swear silence because I was not supposed to operate the stove. I smile when I think about the first thing I learned to cook. It was a mixture of self-rising flour and water. I would use Crisco or butter to oil the bottom of a frying pan and prepare this mixture like one would make pancakes. If we were lucky enough to have jelly in the home, then the treat would be to add a little on top of the cake for a quick meal. However, most of the time, it was just the “flour water” cakes as we called them.
Unfortunately, I also was the one that endued any of the frustration my mom felt. I never thought my mom loved me because of how bad sometimes she would beat me. My step-father would sometimes have to soak me in Epsom salt baths to minimize my wounds. I also suffered sexual abuse for years from one of my mother’s husbands. I would grow up feeling like she knew. I grew up having to hide my pain because in my household, “what goes on in the house stays in the house”. I had to live with the secrets and pretend that everything was ok in public. I guess that is where my acting and writing skills come from.
I won my first writing essay in the 6th grade. While in high school I participated in track and field, gymnastics, the orchestra, and NJROTC. Even though I had issues at home, I was an honor student. Excelling despite the pain was what I was used too and some would say that this pain would be a part of my life just as much as breathing. You would think that was true or some type of crazy past life curse because at every corner in my life I was facing some type of hurt, heartache, or pain.
Then in 2005, my life would take a turn for the better. I was older, no longer in my mother’s house, and a single mother of four. It was at this time that I was noticed by a man that was in charge of one of the top urban magazines. He told his photographer to do a test shoot with me. That test shoot made me the first featured model in a magazine called “Down magazine”. At this same time, I had published my first book called, “On The Pole Pit.” Not only was I in demand as a model, but I was being interviewed on all the major radio stations in Atlanta. I then received a call to do some acting that landed me on one of the most popular episodes that the Maury Show had titled, “Secret Crush” (YouTube: A’Cire on Maury). I would go on to have a leading role in a movie by Dazz Dillinger from The Dogg Pound titled, “Make It Rain”. Wow, life was great! I was meeting people that I thought I would only see on television. Then one day I met someone that I thought I would spend the rest of my life with not knowing that that person was in my life to use me for their personal gain. I found myself in an abusive relationship that would take me years to gain the strength to escape. That situation would have me in and out of court fighting to prove I was a victim of domestic violence. Those fights would fall on deaf ears.
I saw first hand how the legal system treated it’s domestic violence victims. I saw cases like mine where victims would be re-victimized and their abusers would live carefree lives. I lost a scholarship that I had attained while in nursing school during this time. The legal fees became too much to handle. My youngest son and I became homeless during this time. We were sleeping in two separate cars. I would be sleeping in my car at the Atlanta Airport and he would be in front of a friends house in Chamblee, GA. I was also trying to be supportive to my oldest son that was dealing with fear from a situation of being brutally beating by a Dekalb County, GA police officer that was a member of a gang. The officer mistook him for a fellow gang member. I remember asking God at this time why must I endure so much pain.
My life’s purpose changed the day I heard my question answered. After months of laying around dealing with PTSD and depression, I decided to again get on my knees and pray my prayer of “why”. A series of spiritual events would take place that would explain to me that I was being prepared for something wonderful. These pains of the past were necessary in order for me to know what my purpose was. I am here to serve those that have overcome an insurmountable amount of trials and are now giving back to their community. This is why I created the TV show “Emerging Beyond” with A’Cire. It gives a platform for those individuals to share their story in order to Encourage, Inspire, and Uplift other people in the community and worldwide. I am not only the host, but I am the creator, editor, and director. I host a radio show that is based on the same platform called “The A’Cire Show” that aired on 108 Praise Radio but is transitioning to podcast by Spring 2019. I also have a 501C3 organization called The Newby Resource Foundation. This foundation is being developed to help women who have been incarcerated as a result of defending themselves in a domestic violence situation get the resources they need in order to transition back into society. I’m still very much involved with acting, public speaking at events, and writing (Camouflaged Life was released December 2018), but my work in media that strives to better the community is my number one priority.
Most people would assume that growing up in the low-income area of a city leaves one with many disadvantages, however, I would beg to differ. In fact, I would say that the struggle teaches those of us willing to fight like that of Michael Vick, Allen Iverson, MiMi Faust, and Warrick Dunn (all are from the Newport News area) the advantage of learning how to survive during the storms of life. Trust me, I have had many storms, and yet I survive to help others survive.
Has it been a smooth road?
No. I fight everyday not to look back at the pain of surviving my childhood issues, the domestic violence and seeing a judicial system arrest a badly beaten woman along with her abuser due to mandatory arrest laws. The struggle is seeing how bad we treat each other and knowing that I can’t do anything fast enough to make a difference. If I could snap my fingers to help someone overcome the same pain I endured instantly, I would.
How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
Everything in the entertainment industry is digital. Social media outlets and technology has made it easy for anyone that wants to put their ideas out there for the public can do so. I see the next 5-10 years as I do today. Who needs an executive in an office approving your film or television idea when technology says, “do it yourself.”
- Camouflagued Life 14.95 Available now on Amazon.com
Tracy Bumpers (red dress only)