There’s a calm and inviting demeanor about Lamman Rucker. Maybe that’s why he’s a force to reckon with in Hollywood right now. With new movies hitting theaters soon including “The Man in 3B” and “Service to Man,” fans are in for some of his best work yet. But he’s so much more than an actor. “Courage. Optimism. Discipline. Excellence” – the code in which he lives by. Lamman’s goal is to be a living example of everything he preaches. From founding The Black Gents of Hollywood, to partnering with The American Heart Association to help combat hypertension in the Black community, to sharing his story in the book REACH: 40 Black Men Speak on Living, Leading and Succeeding, Lamman is sowing seeds of knowledge back into the community and setting up the path for others to follow. Lamman took some time to share his story with Black Fitness Today and his thoughts on health, personal development and what you didn’t know about the “Why Did I Get Married” series.
Along with several of your memorable roles, Lamman is a fan favorite from the “Why Did I Get Married” movies as Troy, Sheila’s “knight in shining armor.” What we loved was the type of man Troy was to Sheila. She was even inspired to take his lead in living a healthier lifestyle! We asked Lamman what he would say to so many women (and men) out there who may not love the skin their in and struggle with self-image…
When you think about it its like well what’s the real problem? Was the real problem the weight/health and therefore low self-esteem, or was the problem the low self-esteem that led to issues with weight or health? One of the things that exacerbated the self-esteem issue for Sheila (played by Jill Scott) was the fact that she was in a relationship with someone who didn’t acknowledge or encourage her (Mike, played by Richard T. Jones).
I have to correct people sometimes when they’re like, “oh, (Troy) saved her.” No, no, no – he didn’t save her from nothing [laughs]. If anything, he encouraged her so that she could see it for herself, you know, and that’s what has to happen. Other people can love you and support you but it still has to be your own choice to see yourself in a different light and find the balance between accepting yourself as you are and desiring to improve.
Lamman believes the films would have been even better if we saw more of the storyline between Troy & Sheila.
You would have fallen in love with them even more if you would have been able to see the process and that’s where I feel like people were kind of cheated, because you just saw how they were checking for one another and before you knew it, they were married. If you could have witnessed the process; if you could have seen them becoming friends, just literally enjoying each other’s company – gradually the friendship grew and intimacy on a higher level started to evolve.
What else don’t we know about the films?
One of the things that you also don’t know is that Troy was married in the initial script. Part of what takes him up to the mountain is for him to heal and to lick his wounds from what he had already gone through… he wasn’t sheriff of that town his whole life. He was a wealthy business tycoon, a philanthropist and a hometown hero.
Although Sheila showed us the “I’m feelin’ myself” aspect of the transformation, Lamman points out that it all began on the inside.
When you see Sheila in that scene talking to her girlfriends and when you see her walk in the bathroom and she’s like “oh, you” (talking to Trina, played by Denise Boutte) the power that you saw wasn’t coming from the need to diminish anybody — and she was very honest about the fact that she was like, I would take this to the street years ago, but you know what, I’m past that, not because of what that man [Troy] was able to help me do for myself, but I’m past that because of where I am with myself. Let’s say Troy and Sheila aren’t together anymore; she would be like “I’m okay, because I’m nowhere near in the place that I was when I lost the first man as when I lost this last one.” BUT hopefully that doesn’t happen and I’m even not going to dream that up [laughs] because hopefully we don’t see that in Why Did I Get Married Three – here I am making up story lines already!
As Men’s Health Month came around, AHA was interested in working with a gentleman who is active and actually walks the walk and not just talks the talk, and they found me worthy the partnership. So it’s been going really well and we’ve been getting a lot of traction and most importantly, people are responding to the message that we’ve been putting out.
Why is Lamman spreading this message?
For me it’s the fact that it disproportionately affects people of color. The overall goal is so that people don’t just see a slogan but they actually can see a PSA and see themselves in it. They see people that look like them, sound like them and portray situations that they actually live in, or have actually been in. I think it makes it a little bit more real, authentic, sincere and accessible. I’m involved in a variety of initiatives and movements that are all connected to trying to save, uplift, empower and preserve the lives, minds and spirits of all people but in particular, Black people. I’ve just become really passionate about prioritizing the issues that are really impacting us at a higher level.
The common theme for me has always been how can we do better and how can we be better? And not just temporarily feel better but actually be better. More importantly, as an extension of that, how can we then be our best? So again, the overall goal and purpose is that we all need to get involved. This takes everybody’s engagement; we can’t just look over at somebody else and judge them. If you love somebody, say something. Don’t be afraid to speak up, whether it’s your mate or spouse, your boy, your homegirl, mom, dad, grandma, your son, daughter, whomever. Everybody needs to find a way for there to be some mutual accountability across the board. And don’t just tell people to do, set the example, live the example and do these things together because it actually makes things easier to accomplish when you get more people involved.
We asked Lamman how he keeps his health in order and stay in such great shape…
We all have our [unhealthy] habits but I’ve just learned how to be smart and pay attention to something as simple as my sugar intake. Sometimes it’s not even the fat and cholesterol that’s killing us, it’s the sugar that’s probably the bigger devil. There are also certain things that I don’t eat anymore – mayonnaise, butter, pork and I drink very little soda. Now I’m not going to lie, I love root beer so every once-in-a-while even if it’s once a year, I might grab a 32 ounce but I’m going to nurse it! [laughs] It will probably last me a week instead of one sitting.
I’m very careful about the kind of stuff that I keep in my house and the stuff that I keep accessible to me. My lady loves juice so we get our sugars and our greens from juicing as opposed to sodas and whatever else. We try to cook at home as much as we can. We eat very little-to-no dairy. I don’t drink cow’s milk anymore either. Trust me, I love myself some food—ain’t nothing like some good food! But is it worth eating like that every day, all the time and killing myself in the process? No! So what is that balance? It’s about understanding who we are and what we know is best for us.
Lamman is so much more than an actor. He is a multi-faceted man who is passionate about transforming lives.
I want to transform people’s sense of personal power, self-worth, identity and purpose because if you believe you’re supposed to be here, you’re not going to do something detrimental to yourself. That’s part of where my discipline comes from – hell, even sometimes my arrogance – I’ve got work to do! [laughs]. And it doesn’t have anything to do with me…if I’m not taking care of my body then I can’t fulfill my destiny and be obedient in executing my purpose. The more you value who you are, I think the more you set the example so that other people can value who they are.
Catch Lamman in his upcoming film, “The Man in 3B”, in theaters November 6, 2015. And tune in to WeTV this fall as he stars in “South of Hell” – a We TV Original Drama Series.
For information on upcoming films, “No More Mr. Nice Guy” (2016), and “Service to Man” (2016), and get the latest on his works in the community, follow Lamman on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. For appearances / speaking requests, visit LammanRucker.com.