After performing at Florida A&M University as an actor in the Essential Theatre and a dancer with The Strikers, alumnus Alfred ‘Black” Thomas is combing the two in a newly released movie, “Step Up 2: The Streets.”
After graduating from FAMU in 2005, Thomas took his theatre degree to Hollywood and put it to use.
Thomas’ sister and publicist, Alonda Thomas, a public relations alumna from FAMU, said her brother went to Hollywood “to pursue a dream.”
“We always knew he was into the arts and dance, but we didn’t know that he had nearly as much talent as he does now,” she said.
After landing his first job in Hollywood as a print model for Adidas, Thomas earned his first film role as a fraternity member in the movie “Stomp the Yard.” From there on, he began receiving roles in movies as a dancer.
In 2006, Thomas was a part of the blockbuster smash “Dreamgirls,” starring Beyonce, Jennifer Hudson and a FAMU alumna, Anika Noni Rose.
“The experience was dope, working with Beyonce, Anika and everybody,” Thomas said. “The dancing was like jazz and a lot of stuff and that was fun.”
From “Dreamgirls,” Thomas was cast in “Step Up 2: The Streets.” The opportunity came to him when his friend and fellow choreographer Chuck Maldonado was unable to take part in the film. Maldonado told Thomas to audition.
“Chuck couldn’t do it, so I auditioned,” Thomas said. “The business to me opens doors by who you know,” Thomas said. “I encourage everyone to go see the movie.”
Thomas also has a career as a dancer in music videos. He has worked with artists including: Beyonce, Rihanna, Mario and MTV “Making the Band’s” Danity Kane.
Current Striker president Robert Little said he is glad to see another black man doing well in the industry.
“He is a person with a real positive spirit, full of energy and an all-around nice guy,” said Little, 21, a senior business education student from Atlanta.
Little said Thomas will be returning to “The Hill” soon to provide some choreography for The Strikers’ “Spring Excursion” concert.
“We really appreciate that he is loyal to his roots,” Little said.
Thomas said while attending FAMU, people couldn’t get his name right, so he decided to change it for the sake of performance. He uses the stage name “Black Thomas” in “Step Up 2: The Streets.”
“I knew I needed a new name, and black was my favorite color. So I chose ‘Black Thomas.’ ”
Thomas is making his family proud.
His parents attended the Hollywood premiere of “Step Up 2: The Streets.” Alonda Thomas said their parents are pleased with her brother’s accomplishments.
“They were the beaming, proud parents, glad that he is making money for himself – now he can get out of their pockets,” she said jokingly. “We are all very proud of him.”
Thomas said his biggest influences are, “Chuck (Maldonado), my parents, Shepiro Hardeman and The Strikers, the Essential theatre and even my middle school teacher who pushed me to do the Dr. King ‘I Have a Dream’ speech.”
Alonda Thomas said she would like to see him pursue more acting.
“I think he could be the next Will Smith,” she said.
Alfred Thomas is preparing to be in two films, one of which is an independent film. He said he is pleased with his success and is grateful for his experiences.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to have a lot of things under my belt,” he said.