Stay Ready, Stay Focused, Stay Positive
Hailing from Stuttgart, Germany, Chris Richardson knows only one direction in life, forward. A performing artist as an actor, dancer and model appearing in television commercials and music videos, with entrepreneurial success in founding Kathenas Entertainment, Kathenas Fitness and a men’s mental health awareness website, men-tallyaware.com. He stays grounded by volunteering at organizations including The Bowery Mission, Covenant House NYC and Alvin Ailey Extension. Being a survivor of rape, domestic violence, suicide attempts, multiple arrests and substance abuse motivates him to “stay ready”. His mantra in life that he lives by, that keeps him in position to be ready for what life brings or takes away.
HI CHRISTOPHER! THANKS FOR TAKING THE TIME TO CHAT WITH US! CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF, WHO IS CHRISTOPHER E. RICHARDSON IN YOUR OWN WORDS?
Christopher E. Richardson, the perfect split of hard work and being a free spirit as a native of Germany with Jamaican roots. He is all about keeping himself in position to be able to move, pivot, deny or receive anything life and opportunity brings his way. He is a genuine, sometimes naive, goofball that is curious about all life has to offer, but when it’s time to work he is focused and refuses to leave tasks undone or resources untapped. Be it mimicking difficult words and sentences so he can be ready for a complex audition on the fly, staying fit with working out, always asking at least one question of everyone he talks with or just being that “dry sponge” soaking up what’s around him. All adds up to him staying ready.
WHEN DID YOU FIRST REALIZE THAT YOU WANT TO WORK IN THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY?
I first realized I wanted to work as an entertainer when, as a kid, I would rearrange our living room furniture anytime I was alone, to make space for a dance floor and try to dance like Michael Jackson when he came on TV. But let my mom answer this and it was before I could even talk that well and I would sneak on the stage during her fashion shows and be right up underneath her every move. The way Michael Jackson made me feel, as if he were singing and dancing just for me, was something I wanted to be able to do for the world as my audience.
YOU ARE INVOLVED IN ALMOST EVERY ASPECT OF A FILM MAKING, BE IT FILM WRITING, OR PRODUCING OR ACTING WHICH ONE DO YOU LIKE THE MOST?
I enjoy the production side of it the most, even though acting is a very close second. Being the type of producer I am, I envision what typically is done for a project, then I totally tear that image down to rebuild it from the ground up, while making sure it is encompassing and inclusive. This allows me to never get stuck in a situation where I have to circle back and make any unnatural or forced creative choices that don’t showcase our differences and imperfections. I strive to make every project I’m involved with or at the helm of, feel like it’s of substance, that everyone involved matters and that we have genuine fun creating it.
YOU ARE ALSO AN ENTREPRENEUR.. WHAT WAS YOUR KEY DRIVING FORCE TO BECOME AN ENTREPRENEUR?
The keys that drove me to being an entrepreneur were the many denials, unreturned communications and just the games that are played with the hiding of resources and connections by some of those that are fortunate enough to have profitable ventures that don’t do enough to leave the proverbial door of opportunity open behind them after they walk through it. That old saying is if you want something done right, do it yourself, so I’m doing just that. I was always that kid, and even now as an adult, that always peered over your shoulder to look behind you to wonder why someone wasn’t coming along with us or if they were intentionally left out. I spend a lot of time thinking about the world and the ways, in this entertainment industry in particular, we can be better at sharing our resources, opportunities, time and wisdom with others. In comparison to the amount of money wrapped up in the big flashy movies and TV shows we watch, there truly is enough money and time to give each person, who truly has a dream and passion, a chance to see what they can do.
LOOKING BACK, WHAT’S ONE THING YOU WOULD DO DIFFERENTLY?
Looking back I would’ve taken it as the positive and natural strength life gave me, as one that wasn’t afraid to speak up and out when something wasn’t fair. I too often became defensive as I was labeled disruptive or insubordinate when I would speak out, but those people didn’t know any better to take a few seconds more to think about this kid Chris mostly only spoke loudly when there was an instance of himself or others not being treated the same as the majority. I definitely would go back and not beat myself up over feeling like the pursuit of fairness was somehow a negative one.
ANYTHING ELSE YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH YOUR FANS AND OUR READERS?
I want people to know that I didn’t have an easy road, if one at all, to get to where I am. Not for my own praise but to motivate others to know that your current circumstance is just that, your current circumstance, and you have it within yourself to change that. My particular path to where I am and where I’m going in life was one that was definitely less traveled and one that was more like a narrow trail than a road. I suffered major financial, mental and physical setbacks all before even making a real attempt at being an entertainer. When you believe in yourself, it allows for life to come into agreement with you and the reason why you are here on this Earth starts to be revealed. I believe that is when you truly come alive and your steps from there on out are more ordered and of purpose. Those steps keep you pointed in the direction of success and a more fulfilled life. I am a huge mental health advocate, in particular men’s mental health. As someone who is truly a different person now because I see a therapist, I want to continue to break down the stigma around practicing good mental health hygiene, especially for Black men. I started a website, men-tallyaware.com, a very resourceful site that has vital contact information for treatment facilities, Google searches for services that are automatically mapped to your location, definitions of conditions and helpful ways to help men in need of mental health services. If nothing else you do in life, I believe you have to stay ready for whatever is meant for you and comes your way. Try not to think of it as never sleeping or always being on guard, but more so doing the daily things for yourself and those around you that leave you in a state of natural readiness and the ability to make moves or be moved at any time.
WHERE CAN OUR READERS FIND YOU ONLINE?
I can be found on Instagram @chris.topher.richardson, I’d love for you to check out my production company at kathenasentertainment.com, on IMDB if you search for Christopher Richardson or my website at chriserichardson.com.