Omaha actor John Beasley to be honored at African American Leadership Conference

Published: Sep. 22, 2020 at 8:05 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the Empowerment Network’s 9th Annual African-American Leadership Conference to be a virtual event this year.

The conference will feature African-American leaders, discussing a wide number of topics to help empower African-American communities, conference officials will also honor an Omaha native who not only has made a great acting career for himself, but he’s also helped others to pursue their dreams of being on the stage.

John Beasley didn’t begin his professional acting career until he was 45 years old. Beasley says he had something else to do first.

“I was raising my family and I have two sons I’m very proud of and I thought being a father and watching these kids grow up was more important,” he said.

But once Beasley got into acting, things started to roll.

“I did ‘The Mighty Ducks,’ ‘Untamed Hearts,’ ‘Little Big League,’ and an ABC movie-of-the-week and then landed ‘Rudy,’” he recalled.

Beasley says his career really took off a few years later

“The big break for me was ‘The Apostle,’ with Bobby Duvall,” he said.

So far Beasley has racked up more than 90 film and TV credits over his more than 30 years in the business -- but things didn’t always go his way.

“I just knew I was going to get the role of troy in ‘Fences,’ but they brought in this dude Denzel Washington. Whatever, I didn’t know what that was all about,” he said.

Beasley didn’t just work on his career, he helped others with their dreams, operating the John Beasley Threatre for 13 years.

“We were able to change the lives of a lot of people just through the theatre,” he said.

Later this week Beasley will be honored with the African American legends award. Beasley says he’s not quite ready for legend status yet.

“My job is not finished yet, so I don’t consider myself a legend. I’m honored there are those who think of me in that way,” he said.

Previous recipients of the African American legends award include media pioneer Cathy Hughes, one of the greatest athletes in Nebraska history Roger Sayers and Nebraska football legend Johnny Rodgers.

For more information about the event, their website can be found here.

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