LaRoyce Hawkins On Balancing Life, Fatherhood, And A Successful Acting Career


Since earning a starring role in NBC’s Chicago P.D., LaRoyce Hawkins has grown as both a man as well as an actor. In addition to appearing in films such as Canal Street and The Killing of Kenneth Chamberlain, the Harvey, Illinois native also became a father in 2017, an experience for him that was both beautiful, as well as educational.

“Fatherhood has really taught me a couple things – more than a couple of things, but one of the things that I’ve been really taking pride in recently is my patience, just being patient with the small things too,” Hawkins tells ESSENCE. Patience is something that many actors have had to deal with in recent months, but for Hawkins, it’s just another opportunity to sharpen his talents in other endeavors, as well as staying true to the craft of acting.

“I’m doing my best to really just flex other muscles and other skills,” the 35-year-old says. Being both a poet and a stand-up comic, Hawkins’ creativity knows no bounds. So, whatever the world throws at him, he’ll be able to adapt – and excel. 

ESSENCE: All right, so for my first question, man, you’ve been a longstanding member of Chicago P.D. How does it feel to be coming back for this 11th season?

LaRoyce Hawkins: Man, it’s really nothing but gratitude man from my end of things. It’s something that you can’t really expect. You don’t expect your dreams to come true at this capacity and at this level. When you’re young, with the type of imagination that I grew up with, I kind of always saw myself in spaces like these, but you never really see it, or you never know how necessarily. You know what you want to do, but you don’t know how it’s going to get done. And so walking into 11 seasons, just period, it’s powerful. My family’s proud, my neighborhood is proud, so it feels great, and I’m grateful.

How do you think fatherhood has changed your outlook on life?

Fatherhood has really taught me a couple things – more than a couple of things, but one of the things that I’ve been really taking pride in recently is my patience, just being patient with the small things too. The process of patience more than anything. I don’t think we can find ourselves being ultimately patient. I don’t think patience is a goal as much as it is just a process every day, just taking in stride what you can get, and really embracing where you are. It’s helped me with that too. I think fatherhood has really taught me something about artistry, which is just really just to embrace the moment that you’re in and do your best with what you have. Not necessarily where you want to be or where you used to be, but exactly where you are is where it’s the most appropriate to live for. And finally, it’s definitely taught me that the more I embrace it, the more I love it, the more I learn, and just watching my son grow up to be… He’s a very, very good kid.

He just celebrated a birthday in April, correct?

Yes, he turned six in April, but he started first grade sometime this month because he was back to school, but he’s on the second grade traveling basketball team. And so, last weekend I traveled with his team to St. Louis, and he’s the youngest one on the team. Obviously, the fact that he just wants to be out there was great. It made me excited, but I ain’t going to lie, he got his head cracked open by the little St. Louis kids. They came for everything.

– It happens, man.

It happens, man. It happens, but that was good for him, you know what I mean? We need that, and the fact that he just loves the game, loves comradery, loves the sport, he’s great with his teammates. He’s a really good kid, so I’m just doing my best to make sure I nurture the good kid into the qualities that make him a great man.

So with fatherhood, I want to talk about family too. How have you been able to balance your career and your family? How have you been able to do that throughout your life?

I’ve been doing my best with it, and I’m not going to act like I’ve been the best at it. There have been moments where I’ve had to sacrifice time with my family to achieve what I wanted as far as my career is concerned, in order to create moments that I know will ultimately help my family, but sometimes it doesn’t always work out. What I’ve noticed is that it’s hard to find balance oftentimes, and so the most we can hope for is harmony, if that makes sense. And so, just getting your family to buy into the mission, getting your family to understand the sacrifice that you have to make either way is hard to do sometimes, but when you are able to achieve that harmony, everything honestly works out. So right now, I’m in Atlanta with my family for our quick reunion.

We’re here enjoying each other. I got my grandparents and all the kids and my mom all under one roof, my cousins are on the way, and I was actually talking to somebody else in the game who I let them know I was in the family reunion, man, but he was like, “Man, you’re so lucky because I’m going have to miss mine because I’ll be working.” And historically, I have missed family reunions and big family moments. And so, to have this time right now to be able to spend with everybody, I’m just embracing it. I feel great about it.

So, I always think it’s interesting what makes people attach themselves to certain causes of brands and vice versa too. Can you talk to me a little bit about your partnership with SimpliSafe and how that came about?

I was grateful and honored to have the opportunity knowing that I would be SimpliSafe’s first celebrity partner, so to speak, but I was nervous initially because I didn’t know exactly how we were going to be able to story tell authentically at first, but it really took me researching the company and the more I got to learn, and even as you correspond and you create conversations, the energy was just so great. And then I realized exactly what this was. They’re a company that feels extremely family first from that perspective, and you can tell that they create a family type of atmosphere for themselves. And with family being one of the priorities of mine and one of the pillars that I stand on, I understood exactly where we were going to be able to find synergy, and it started with the family first.

I think SimpliSafe just does a great job with how innovative and creative they are to protect the simple things like the peace of mind for families, the way that they attack the issues that involve the way that we respond to crime was important for me. Being a fake first responder for years has allowed me to really understand that situation like, “Wow, oftentimes it takes too long for us to respond to these issues that afflict us in our communities.” And so for them to be able to reduce that time gap, I thought that they were… I was like, “Oh man, that’s powerful. I would love to be on the frontline, so to speak, for something like that.” So, when it comes to family and protection, I think they’re top of the line, and for them to consider me as a partner, not only did it make sense, but I was honored.

How have you been dealing with the uncertainty of life in your career in recent months?

To be honest with you, the way that me and my team really wanted to respond to this was that we found that this was such a great opportunity to get creative. Standup comedy is my first love, poetry has been something that has also sustained me as an artist. I write a lot, so being a comic and a poet, you listen with two different types of ears oftentimes, and so right now we’re just listening. I’m in poet mode, so everything I hear is deep to the soul – It’s kind of weird. When I’m in comic mode, everything is hilarious. We know that this hiatus won’t last forever, and so it’s important for us to make sure that I go back to work as a better artist, a better storyteller, even more sharp. I would hate to get rusty, I just want to stay ready.


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