Allen Maldonado is a survivor.
The “Black-ish” and “Straight Outta Compton” actor grew up in a drug and crime-plagued neighborhood, but a chance meeting with a successful actor made him realize there were other options in life. He made it out to find success in Hollywood.
Then, in his early 20s, his career was interrupted when he was badly injured by a drunk driver. But he survived again, and thrived. He’s gone on to add writing to his resume, working on a show whose title recalls his own feelings: “Survivor’s Remorse.”
“Why me?” He muses. “It’s deep, and I work hard every day for those individuals that didn’t have the opportunities that I was graced with. … It’s painful sometimes to think about it; I wish I could have done more.”
But having been through so much, he chooses to put aside negativity. “I live by the motto of life is not negative, nor positive,” he says. “It just is. Being that, it’s what you see it. If you want it to be positive, it’ll be positive. If you want it to be negative, it’ll be negative.”
“I had to rehab my entire body from my spine to my leg to my face,” he says, “but all of these positive things came from it.”
No wonder Maldonado chose “inspiring performance” films “Ali,” “Belly,” and “Crash” as some of his favorites.
He identifies with Muhammad Ali, as played by Will Smith in “Ali.” “Because I’m a family man,” he explains, “My biggest challenges are my family. How do I propel them? How do I inspire them? How do I put them in a position to win? … Being in the ring, being in the business of being an actor, that’s my fight. But my biggest fight is for my family.”
“Belly” follows its protagonist (played by rapper DMX) through the gangster lifestyle and, hopefully, to redemption. “How does the individual feel that they have no other options than doing these negative things,” he says. “This film kind of shows the growth, that even though you may have done all these bad things, you have an opportunity to change.”
His third inspirational title, “Crash,” reminds him that though people may be flawed and fearful, all are still human. “It’s weird how as soon as you turn like 12 or 13, all of a sudden you can see color, and you can see race, but if you see a child, an innocent child, you don’t really see that. That’s why I know that there’s so much good in people.”
To watch Maldonado’s top “inspiring performance” films “Ali,” “Belly,” and “Crash,”* and other movies like these, start your Tribeca Shortlist free, seven-day trial here.
*Titles subject to availability