EXCLUSIVE: Reggie Watkins on BLM and “Call of Duty”

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Actor and civil rights activist Reggie Watkins chats with us on his new role in the latest “Call of Duty” video game, his podcast and his nonprofit.

How did you prepare for your lead role in the latest Call of Duty game?
Well the 1st thing I did was make sure I didn’t play the game or watch past campaigns. I wanted to come in fresh with my own ideas and learn the world as I went. I did however watch a lot of Vietnam Docs, Seal Team 6, stuff like that.

Other than Call of Duty of course, what is your favorite video game?
Come on now, that’s easy! It’s hands down ‘Frogger’! A classic…and I realize I’m aging myself. lol

How does acting for a video game compare to a more traditional day sitcom?
When you’re acting for a video game you have to be hyper aware of your movements, even down to your walk. They have tiny cameras catching EVERYTHING! Performance wise, you still have to deliver just like you would on TV/Film…however you’re allowed more wiggle room to make the character yours. It’s fun.

Do you have a dream role?
‘Call of Duty’ is my dream role. I’m serious! I grew up playing video games and wishing I could one day be in one…and here I am in the biggest franchise in the gaming world! It’s surreal.

What inspired you to start your podcast?
Money. I generally have been boycotting the NFL because of their treatment of Colin Kaepernick, but if someone pays me to watch and talk about it, I will. I’m a Niner fan. We were good last year but we suck now.

How did your nonprofit The Valley of Change come about?
During the civil unrest surrounding the Murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, I wanted to protest at the bigger events, but I was worried about Covid and police action while bringing my son. I then heard people in my neighborhood were standing on a corner and protesting, so my son and I joined them. The next day someone gave me a bullhorn…today we have had a presence on our corner for 171 straight days, completed our 4th homeless feed, helped get politicians elected, and now we’re doing yoga in the park!

I love how vocal you are on civil rights! What can I, as a white woman, do to help causes like BLM?
Keep elevating BIPOC voices and send some money to BIPOC orgs if you can spare it.

What are some suggestions for us to watch/read/listen to during quarantine?
Well you should all be playing ‘Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War.’ Duh. Watching “Billions” on Showtime, reading “Sapiens” by Yuval Noah Harari, and listening to “The Right Time with Bomani Jones” Podcast. You’re Welcome.