Editor’s Note: “The Reel Black List” is our annual spotlight of brothers and sisters in the worlds of advertising, film, TV, music, radio and media who are making a difference through their contributions and creativity. For the next 29 days, you will be able to celebrate these various personalities with us.
Titus Makin, is making it. Not only is he lighting up TV screens as Jackson West on ABC’s hit drama The Rookie, but the cultured, suave, handsome actor is also a musician and entertainer. He is no rookie.
This multi-faceted star is also an accomplished musician under the stage name Butterfly Ali. In his new single Righteous out this week, Ali delivers joyously powerful fun. With percussion fueled rhythms, majestic horns, and buzzing bass, to the upcoming Righteous music video here:
Born into a military family, Titus grew up traveling and moving across the United States, including Hawaii, Colorado, Arizona as well as Germany. From a young age, Titus took to sports, singing and performing with his older sister at home-staged talent shows. Titus began excelling in gymnastics and dance at a young age and would eventually start looking into gymnastics as a potential profession later down the road.
It wasn’t until his senior year of high school that Titus decided to give acting a try after seeing the hit dance film Step Up, which opened his eyes to the possibility of combining his love of dance with acting.
From there Titus dedicated his time and energy to further his craft and would eventually go on to attend the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts. During his time in NYC before moving to LA, Titus took jobs to get by and eventually became a New York Knicks Acrobat, and a dancer/tumbler for the WNBA’s New York Liberties
Once relocated to Los Angeles 2 years later, Titus immediately began working on auditioning and booking gigs. One of the first roles he landed was as one of the original ‘Warblers’ from FOX’s hit sensation Glee. From there, his original 3-episode arc turned into 2.5 seasons of work, as well as touring and being a part of the GLEE 3D CONCERT MOVIE and national tour.
Titus began to flourish in the industry and soon began booking roles as a leading man in various television series and films including A CINDERELLA STORY: ONCE UPON A SONG opposite Lucy Hale, Freeform’s Pretty Little Liars, HULU’s The Path, ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy, and the CW’s Star-Crossed.
What did You Originally Want to be When You Grow Up? Originally, I wanted to be an Olympic gymnast. I spent nine years of my life training professionally in gymnastics then my senior year of high school randomly decided to switch over to acting. I have been doing music privately for the majority of my life, but it wasn’t until my adulthood that I tried it on a professional level.
How did You Get into the Industry? I auditioned for a school in New York called the New York Conservatory for dramatic arts. Upon being accepted into their program I trained there for two years then moved out to LA. Shortly after, did an acting showcase, got representation and the rest pretty much rolled from that point (auditions, meetings, etc.).
Who Were Your Mentors? Pretty much my parents and my sister. I didn’t have many people inside of the industry that were guiding me as much as I had people keeping me grounded & loved.
What is Your Biggest Achievement? I would say my biggest achievement is continuing my relationship with God through this crazy industry. It’s easy to lose sight of what’s important and life when so many things are thrown at you.
What is Your Biggest Disappointment? My biggest disappointment was when I didn’t book Star Wars, after such a long casting process and almost being the chosen guy.
Name Your Biggest Pet Peeves? I can’t think of many but one that I can think of is when you hold the door for somebody, and they don’t say thank you.
Predictions for Casting in Movie/Television Over the Next Decade: It would be amazing if I could get cast in a movie alongside Will Smith or Viola Davis.
Name a Job You had that Would Surprise People: I have a few. Are used to work at Kmart, McDonalds, Golden Corral, bowling alley & Dairy Queen, All within my four years of high school.
What Marvel or DC Superhero do You Get to Play? It would be awesome to play Miles Morales or Static Shock.
Congratulations, You Built a Time Machine! What do You Go Back and Tell Your 15-Year-Old Self? I would tell my 15-year-old self to trust your gut, your singing voice will get better over time. Have a little more confidence in it 🙂