Happy Valentines Day everyone! I know the best gift to give you guys is part 2 of my exclusive interview with Walter Emanuel Jones, the first black power ranger. If you haven’t read part 1, here it is for your view pleasure. If you’re super enamored about Walter Emanuel Jones ( like us all) and want to read about my salsa dance experience with him, click here.
It seems just like yesterday when Mighty Morphin Power Rangers first came out. I guess we’re all getting much older since Power Rangers is reaching their 20th anniversary this year. In honor of this hallmark, Best of Baltimore Blog will post the second part of our exclusive interview with Walter Emanuel Jones, Original Black Power Ranger.
Walter Emanuel Jones Q+ A
BB: So you are an expert in one form of Tae Kwon Do and one form of karate? How many years did you devote to the art? Why did you pursue them?
WJ: LOL! How did you hear about this?
BB: Wikipedia is a godsend.
WJ: I see! I’ve been studying martial arts for 10 years and I even have a black belt. I got involved with it because I was a small kid. My family encouraged me to do martial arts so I wouldn’t feel intimidated at school, and can easily walk away. I learned Hakido, which is mixed martial arts, and Tae Kwon do. On “Power Rangers” I learned alot from the stunt men and was able to pick stuff up. Even though I studied martial arts from the show, I was able to learn more along the way.
Do you remember on “Power Rangers” when my character Zack Taylor invented “Hip Hop Kido”?
My character had to incorporate Hip Hop into his own karate moves.
BB: Yeah, I remember that. That’s so cool!
WJ: Yup, it was Hip Hop plus martial arts. I guess I created a new form of karate back then.
BB: You definitely did. I also heard that you have diverse hobbies! What got you intosky diving and dog sledding?
WJ: I’m a bit of an adventurer. I’m even going ziplining this weekend. I do all these things because experiences are the one thing you can be rich in. I feel them and I know they are my own. No one can take my experiences from me.When I was a kid, I used to watch alot of TV shows that showed people exploring different countries and trying out new things. I didnt grow up rich but I always dreamed that I would experience life differently. As an adult, I learned to water ski, hike, jet ski and do all sorts of activities. Did you know that I swung on ropes? Pet hopping kangaroos and played with koala bears?
Based on my eclectic experiences, I can generally find something in common with a lot of people. My life has been pretty colorful!
BB: You definitely have lived a colorful life. Wow! Speaking of which, I was wondering what you have done after Power Rangers?
I’m well known for my voice over work. I also still act!
I’ve been on Malibu Shores, NYPD Blue and have been in 6-7 films. Ofcourse, nothing has given me as much exposure as “Power Rangers” since that show touched the entire world. You may not know this, but I am well known with my voice over work. Voice over work is highly competitive but I was able to stay afloat and thrive.
Hollywood, as a whole, is very competitive. You’re not always guaranteed work. Only 15% of actors make a living as professionals. And that’s a very hard statistic.
I’ve been lucky to have been in the entertainment industry for 20 years. My best advice for anyone breaking into the business to be skilled in ALOT. Be able to sing, dance, speak another language: do as much as you can to stand out.
BB: That sounds so true. I was wondering what your personality is like off-screen from “Power Rangers”?
WJ: Power Rangers made me more introverted since so many people recognize me. Once I had to go pee but I was stuck giving out so many autographs. Some people don’t understand why I had to go. Having this situation can be intimidating but I love it. I continue to be extroverted with groups of people and somewhat introverted on my own. I guess what sums me up is that i’m versatile, adventurous, good-hearted and fun. I am very close to the character Zack but obviously not as big at times.
BB: You do seem alot like Zach. Funny and nice!
WJ: Why, thank you!
BB: I was wondering, who is your biggest hero?
WJ: I have a hard time deciding that one. I do look up to my GrandDad, Mom, Ghandi, Martin Luther King Jr. There’s so many people that I look up to and alot of people have inspired me. Michael Jackson was a hero to me. Recently, I met a martial artist named Jim Kelly and I totally geeked out.
BB: You’re a veteran in the children TV show field. What are your thoughts on children’s tv shows today versus from the early 90′s?
WJ: I think children’s shows today are more complicated, more adults, and more ramped up. I watched “Fresh Beat Band” and it’s a show about 5 teenagers who sing and dance. I’ve seen “Backyardigans” and pretty much a lot of Nick/Disney shows. The humor is more adult oriented and I came to that realization when I first saw a kid’s show reference homosexuality. It was huge since I’ve never seen that happen on a kid’s show before. This one kid had another crush on a big jock and he had a boyfriend. In short, it’s just alot more adult humor. More blatant humor.
BB: That’s very perceptive! Since you have a colorful background in TV, you were able to interact and meet a gamut of stars. How was it like working with Jaleel White, George Takai and Sarah Michelle Gellar?
WJ: Jaleel White is normal and an exceptional man who played a great character. I played a bully on the show once and it was cool seeing him do his thing. George Takai is a big personality and Star Trek follows him through life. Sarah Michelle Gellar is sexy!
BB: As of now, what have you been up to?
WJ: I’m part of a business called Shoes, Sandals and Sneakers. It’s an African American shoe company and we make shoes for kids and we also make affordable shoes around the world. I even have my own brand of shoes in the company. Aside from this venture, I’m also producing a “Traveling Dad Show.” I’m in the process of shopping it around, trying to attach talent and a producer to it.
BB: That sounds really cool. I’m sure alot of your fans will want to learn more about your business, social and voice-over adventures. Are you on Facebook? Do you Tweet?