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By Territa Givens, UMBC Athletic Communications
Q: Armando, why do you choose to go by ď
A: I choose to go by ď
Q: What do you do as manager of the UMBC menís basketball team?
A: As a team manager of a Division-I basketball team, I basically make sure everythingís alright. I make sure the guys know the hours weíre leaving for a bus trip, make sure they understand we have wake-up calls and reservations with hotels. I am basically like their big brother and theyíre like my little brothers. I make sure that everythingís prepared, the jerseys are washed and clean. I record games, attend games and support them. Theyíre like my little soldiers, like the general trains his soldiers and thatís basically what I do. I donít do the whole coaching, but I give them that inspiration, motivation from peer to peer because we are basically the same age. And you try to build that relationship not like becoming a boss but a friend-to-friend, and they understand you even more.
Q: Something that you are extremely modest about is your role on the Baltimore-based HBO Series The Wire. When did that begin for you?
A: People really didnít know what The Wire was. I played a drug dealer. I had one episode, and I had two lines. That season took me to a position in my life where I became a SAG (Screen Actorsí Guild) member. I did not see my first check because to join SAG it was $1,400. Three years later I got a call from the person who helped cast the show, who said, ďI have a part for you. I will need you to audition.Ē I prepared myself, I was more trained, and I was more experienced in the acting industry. I came, I preformed and I was blessed. So, The Wire started for me again in season four around January or February.
Q: Are there more doors open to you for future acting opportunities?
A: Well, hopefully. The acting world is not a guarantee profession, itís a hustle. You must be motivated, you must be passionate about what you do, you must be willing to struggle in order to be successful. And thatís what I am preparing myself to do. You toughen up, you get knocked down, you get back up, you get criticized, you polish yourself, you train, you train and you train. You look for jobs that fit you, that will feed you and your family. Itís a personal motivation, itís an individual sport for me. Hopefully jobs will be available and I will be prepared when that opportunity arrives. I feel that I am a great actor. Yes, there will be more jobs.
Q: As team manager, youíre more of a behind-the-scenes guy. Do you prefer to stay in the background or would you like people to recognize you more?
A: I love to be in the forefront. I feel like I am the glue to this team. When the team is out there playing they need that extra person to cheer them up, to pump them up, to make sure that they feel like they have that one fan. There could be 9,000 people or 10 people in the stands, but they always know when I am around they have that one person screaming them on, cheering them up. Telling them to defend, telling them to play hard, telling them to pick it when theyíre down. I do not like being in the back. And itís impossible because I am an actor. So, I bring that to the game, I bring that energy to the game, I bring that drive and that will to win. So people know when
Q: Between school, basketball, and acting do you have any free time? What are your other hobbies?
A: Well, I design clothes with my partner Andre Williams, who is a former basketball player of the UMBC Retrievers. He grew up with me, weíre kind of like family. Itís called ďB-More Creative.Ē No weíre not from
Q: You are involved with so many activities with school, basketball, acting, music and your clothing line. Do you find it hard to balance all that with peace of mind?
A: No, I do not find it hard to balance because Iím not about being flamboyant and showing off. I am very humble about what I do. I let my work speak for me, I let my respect and my actions speak for me. My conversations through people speak for me. I donít really showboat about The Wire, my clothing line; I donít make it known that various artists wear my clothes in the industry. Itís not hard to keep a peace of mind, and I am very family-oriented. Going back to the word
Q: You are profoundly involved in the entertainment industry in a variety of ways. What is the ideal career path that you have for yourself?
A: My ideal career pathÖwell, actingís my passion, musicís an outlet, my clothing line is my future. So when I graduate from school I will continue to do acting, Season Five of The Wire. And then various projects will come after that. Music will continue, it will just be more time in the studio, more focus. I am already building a buzz for myself within the music industry. I have my own record label. I have signed a couple artists to my label. That will just continue, that is not a problem. My clothing line also is not a problem, it will just continue to get better. Once I graduate Iíll have more time to focus on each project. Iíll just go full throttle. I can only move forward. I have a family to feed, plain and simple.
Q: Are there places in the community that people can find your merchandise?
Q: With rapper Method Man acting on the set of The Wire with you, have you been able to work with him musically?
A: Not yet, no. He does respect me. I made some shirts for him, and he was very excited. He gave me his contact info, and you build a relationship off that. And not based off the rapper wanting to do a song. Once youíre in the industry, the manager takes care of all that. Method Man would have to sign a consent form saying ďI donít want to charge him for a verse, I just want to do this.Ē And we would just get paid off of how much interest the song gains. The artist canít say I want to do this and that, because at the end of the day heís still a professional, he must get paid someway, somehow. Something must be signed in order for him to give me a free verse. But my man, heís cool. He looks out for me, all those guys are like my big brothers, they look at me and see that I really want this and they respect me for that. By the way, I didnít give Method Man the shirts while we were working together. I found out he was performing at a spot, I fought my way through security guards, and managers trying to get on the bus until like 3:00 in the in morning in order to give him the shirts. When he got the shirts he said, ďOh man, my man
Q: As an up-and-coming actor already, why do you find it important to still remain a college student?
A: Because of my mom. My mom struggled so much, as did my father. Even though theyíre not together, they struggled so much to raise me. I wasnít a good kid when I was growing up, I can admit that. I was in a lot of trouble. My mother and father are both Hispanic, theyíre both Panamanian. Iíll be the first for my mom to graduate and for my father Iíll be the second. My sister graduated from UMBC as well. Just to give them that pleasure to see their son walk down the stage. I could have dropped out of school and continued my acting career because it is successful right now, but I owe this to my mom and to my family. I come from a background of Hispanic people that donít speak English, who still live in poverty today. I carry the responsibility to be the bread-winner at a young age. And know that I must, and I have to support them when I graduate and help them out. So thatís why itís important, and it will give me an advantage in
Q: After graduation can we count on seeing more of you in the limelight?
A: All day. Thatís an obvious answer. Hell yeah, Iíll be in the limelight; Iím that man. Thereís no stopping me; Iím that dude. Iím ď