Shemar Moore won Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series for his work in Criminal Minds at the 2015 NAACP Image Awards.
After he won his award he came backstage and reflected on what his win meant. Read highlights below:
In his opening remarks, he reflected on his career and how far he has come:
Alone in my room sometimes I’m a fan. I’m like, if I’m going to get beat, I’m going to get beat by Cool J. I’m good with that. I look at people, as weird as it sounds, the people that we look up to … Matthew McConaughey got up there said he was chasing himself, chasing himself at the Oscars, and he wanted to chase his new self and chase his new self. I don’t remember exactly the speech, but you know what I’m talking about.
Madonna. How many different people since “Like a Virgin” to what she became? Oprah Winfrey, when she started and who she is now. She should be our next president … I’m a dreamer. Honestly, and I hope you don’t take this in an arrogant or weird way, for everything I’ve done in 21 years, you’re right, I have challenged myself to grow and to reinvent myself. 21 years in, I feel like the industry has not met me yet. They’ve just met a portion of me. A lot of that was, in time, me maturing, getting confidence in myself, not relying on tricks, not letting myself be stuck in a box.
I’m very excited about the next 20 years. I’m very excited about this year. I executive produced, I paid for, my own money, I took a risk on myself. I costarred with Bill Bellamy and Nadine Velazquez in my movie called “The Bounce Back.” I just finished editing just a couple of days ago. We’re going to go shopping, get distribution, and hopefully it’s going to be in theaters this fall. I believe in it and I think it’s going to shock people. All I want from this movie is not fame. If money comes, great, I’m not going to lie, but hopefully this movie will be like, who knew and it’ll give me handshakes that I don’t quite get yet. With all that I’ve done, I know there’s so much more that I can do.
If you want to talk- again not in an arrogant way- if you want to talk pretty boy, if you want a six pack, if you want to talk … That’s what I get a lot. How many sit ups do you do? Why are you still single? I’m not single any more. Her name is Shawna Gordon. She’s a professional soccer player. She plays for Sky Blue in New Jersey. Look her up, she’s the real deal. She happens to be pretty cute, and she’s a sweet, sweet, sweet lady.
To answer your question, I am humbled and blessed and proud of my 21 year career, but there are people doing things that I know that I can do that I have not gotten the opportunity to do yet. I’m not going to sit back and wait for the phone to ring, or sit in a folding chair in a hallway and hope somebody likes me. If the phone call comes, I’ll pick it up, but if it doesn’t, I’m going to go create it myself. Just pay attention to what I do in the next coming years because I’m really excited about it and I’m determined.
What do you love on television right now? What’s inspiring? What are you binging on?
Shemar Moore: I don’t get a chance to watch a lot of TV so I have to TiVo. I understand why Criminal Minds is good. I’m on that show, so hopefully that’s part of the reason. The Boss, with Kelsey Grammer. Ray Donovan with Liev Schreiber. What else? Boardwalk Empire was a great show. I love what Kerry Washington’s doing. I just saw her backstage. She handed me my award tonight and that kind of messed me up. I literally didn’t know what to say on that stage. I think I talked about my girlfriend’s butt and Oprah all in the same speech which is kind of weird.
I just think Empire … I played Terrence Howard’s brother in a less than luster movie when I first got in the game called Never Too Big. It was called Butter at first. I’m just happy for Terrence. He’s such a talent. Taraji P. Henson. They’re killing it. They’re whooping our butt on Wednesday night. I’m not mad, actually … I could play Terrence Howard’s brother again. Just saying.
There’s a lot of television and it’s evolving. I love that multi-cultural is coming back. If you look at Don Cheadle … and there’s commercials now. There was a commercial last year during the Super Bowl, a Cheerios commercial that kind of shook people up and made controversy. I’m standing here half black and half white, 44 years old. The president of the United States is half black and half white so I think we need to get over it and just let’s tell stories together. We’re close.
My question for you is, what inspired you to become an actor? You’re talking about what you have planned for the next 21 years, but what is your inspiration to keep striving and continuing within your career?
Shemar Moore: To keep striving is hearing my name called tonight, people paying attention to what was once upon a time just a dream of my own. My mother, my friends, my family would not have cosigned that dream. They would’ve said, we’re happy for you, but if we’re betting in Vegas, we ain’t betting on you. Nobody in my family or friends had ever acted and done what I did. I’m a dreamer and I’ve always bet on me and I take leap of faiths.
What inspired me? I was actually a really shy kid. My initial dream was to play professional baseball and if i had it my way, for the Boston Red Sox. My mother’s side of the family’s from Boston. My uncle, my mother’s brother, put me in my first little league team. The first year I was terrible, but then I got it together and then genetics, God, whatever, I got it together. I was almost good enough. I got drafted by Boston and Baltimore coming out of high school. My mother wouldn’t let me go into the draft because she wanted me to get a college degree. When it came time to put that suit and tie on and get a real job- no offense to the people that do that- I knew that I had a different way. I took a chance. Things led to modeling and commercials and bad modeling. Trust me bad. Look up my pictures. International Male, Mervyn’s, it’s bad. My ass and my legs were too big to fit the clothes. I wasn’t going to last very long.
I was really shy. I was really shy and I used to watch kids in school, high school, college, and I thought it was fascinating that they would go into a theater and put on wardrobe and wigs and things and play pretend. These were kids I went to class with, but when I saw them in the theater, they were completely different than what I knew them to be. I just said, you know what? Maybe I can get into acting and that’ll give me the nerve, that’ll give me the balls to be something that I don’t allow myself to be in my real life. That just escalated into me taking chances and an acting career and luck, I was born.
Has there ever been an episode that really touched you on Criminal Minds?
Shemar Moore: On Criminal Minds? What I’m most proud of, I’ve been doing – I don’t know the exact numbers, 238 episodes at this point, maybe a little more. That’s a milestone in itself. To be on a show for 10 years. For a kid with a dream that was just a soap opera star, that was just a six pack, and now I’m 10 years on a very serious, very dark crime drama, I’m proud of it. Tonight I found out people are paying attention. I get reminded by the fans. My fans are something serious. They are so loyal. I tell them on Twitter, Facebook, I want them to take me seriously because if people aren’t watching me, there’s nothing for me to go to work and do.
If I had to say, there is a story line that I’m really proud of that I’ve done on Criminal Minds in season two. I think it was episode 12. It was an episode called “Profile a Profiler.” Then again in season eight, kind of mid season, there was a episode called “Restoration.” It’s where my character Derek Morgan – Derek Morgan’s the alpha male. The way I describe him is he’s the first one in the burning building and he’s the last one to come out because he wants to take care of his family, he wants to be the big brother and protector.
He has vulnerabilities. I told the producers and the writers I don’t want him to just be cliché and one dimensional. I don’t want to be just a tough black guy who kicks down doors and says tough things and handcuffs guys. They gave me levels as the seasons went on. In these few particular episodes it was a molestation case where my character had been molested by a mentor, my childhood football coach. My father in the story was killed in cold blood in a liquor store and my character had witnessed it. I was 10 years old. This man took me in and taught me how to play football, but at the same time, was taking advantage.
We just kind of massaged this idea and I said, for me as a black man – now I’m half black and I’m half white but don’t get it twisted, I’m very proud to be black. My father ran with the Panthers. He was good friends with Tupac’s mother. There’s a lot you don’t know about me that you’re going to find out in the next 20 years. I can’t tell it to you on screen, on Criminal Minds. I can’t tell it to you on stage at the Image Awards. I’m going to find a way, if it’s a book, if it’s a one man show, I want you to know who you’re dealing with who’s chasing his dream. When I die I don’t die with Hollywood and what kind of star I was. When I die my children and my loved ones are going to know what kind of man I was and know that I’ve never forgot, always respect what I came from.
I know that’s a lot of answers to your question but “Restoration” and “Profile a Profiler” was a story about a black man, me, getting molested. You know in the black community that’s something you take to your grave. I know that by telling this story, I’ve been told by letters and responses, that I freed people to get rid of the guilt, to get rid of the shame, to feel better about themselves and their life. In real life.
My dream and my ability to pretend on television is affecting people’s real life. That’s my proudest take away from my journeys thus far on Criminal Minds.