Simeon Daise has been a rising star since the very beginning.
He was only a baby when he joined the cast of Nickelodeon’s hit show Gullah Gullah Island, celebrating the Gullah Geechee culture of St. Helena Island, where his father Ron grew up. Together with his dad, his mother Natalie and his sister Sara, a singing-and-dancing Simeon was beamed into the homes of pre-school age children all over the country from 1994 to 1998. By the time he started kindergarten at Beaufort Elementary, he was already a show biz veteran.
And Simeon’s star has been rising ever since. (We’re not just talking all those leads he snagged
as a local high school theater kid – The King and I, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, High School Musical . . . ) Over the past decade, Simeon has established a solid career in film and television – mostly as an actor, but also as a writer and director. He’s had roles in Tyler Perry’s The Haves and the Have Nots, BET’s The Bobby Brown Story, and BET’s American Soul, and most recently, played recurring character Jabari Long in the CW’s critically acclaimed All American. Next month, you’ll able to see Simeon in Disney’s remake of the classic family comedy Cheaper by the Dozen.
But first, he’ll head home to Beaufort to accept the Inaugural Rising Star Award at the 16th Annual Beaufort International Film Festival.
We recently spoke to Simeon Daise via email . . .
LCW: You starred in your parents’ hit Nickelodeon TV show Gullah Gullah Island as a very young child. How did that experience influence your current career?
Simeon Daise: Well, Gullah Gullah Island was a show for the culture. Apart from the roles I currently portray, I’ve been using my platform to highlight Gullah Geechee culture. So, it’s all aligned.
LCW: You’re a cast member in Disney’s upcoming remake of Cheaper By the Dozen. Unofficial word has it that the movie’s scheduled for release next month. Is that still happening, and what should the audience expect?
SD: Yes, the official trailer was just released. It’s streaming March 18th on Disney +. Be prepared to have a lot of fun watching with your family.
LCW: How was the experience of filming that movie? You were interrupted by the pandemic, right?
SD: All of Hollywood was interrupted by the pandemic. It caused some major adjustments, such as how we interact as castmates on set, but we still had a great time. I think the audience will enjoy watching it as much as we did filming it.
LCW: What are some of your favorite roles thus far?
SD: All American is definitely a dope show and platform, and the real ones love Jabari. But, season 5 of Snowfall is coming…
LCW: As a writer/director, what kind of films are you making… or hoping to make?
SD: Afro-futurism. I’m dedicated to highlighting Gullah culture and black people in a new light. I’m focused on telling more innovative stories that stretch the imagination and allow us to re-envision ourselves.
LCW: In accepting the inaugural Rising Star award at BIFF, you join the ranks of special honorees like Pat Conroy, Blythe Danner, Michael O’Keefe, Andie McDowell, Julie Dash, and other show business heavyweights. What does it mean to you to receive this award from your hometown film festival?
SD: It’s an honor for my work to be recognized amongst legends such as these. A lot of people strive to put on for their city, so I appreciate the acknowledgement.
LCW: According to IMDb, your middle name is Othello. Is there a story behind that Shakespearean reference?
SD: My father wanted me to have a powerful name. I guess it speaks for itself. I was created for this.
Simeon Daise will receive the inaugural Rising Star Award at the 16th Annual Beaufort International Film Festival awards ceremony, on Sunday, February 27. For a full schedule of events, visit www.beaufortfilmfestival.com