Monday, 28 October 2013

Michael Ajakwe Jr.


Born and raised in Los Angeles, Ajakwe graduated from Inglewood’s Morningside High and attended the University of Redlands on an academic scholarship. He earned degrees in English and Political Science and was named Most Outstanding Senior of his graduating class. He paid his way through college working in a movie theater, and covering news and sports for Redland’s Magazine, the Redlands Daily Facts and the Riverside Press Enterprise.

Since 1993, Michael has worked in the theatre with renowned performers like Emmy-winner Glynn Turman, Vanessa Bell Calloway, Debbie Allen, Ted Lange, Phil Morris, Robert Ri’chard, Hill Harper, Niecy Nash, Tommy Hicks, Tracee Ellis Ross, Art Evans, Gary Sturgis, James Pickens, Tatyana Ali, Marc Coppage, Estelle Harris, Wendy Raquel Robinson, Lee Garlington, Robert Pine, Shayla Rivera, Gary Anthony Williams, Ralph Carter, Deniece Williams, Charles Dutton and Oscar winner Mo’Nique. As a tv and film writer, he’s worked with Martin Lawrence, Greg Kinnear, Sherman Hemsley, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Tichina Arnold, Tisha Campbell, Charles Barkley, Marc Curry, Tracey Morgan, Tia & Tamera Mowry, Kadeem Hardisson, Kelita Smith, Brandy, Diondre Whitfield, Ali Landry, Kelly Perrine, Tim Reid, Tommy Davidson, Ernest Thomas, Richard Lawson, Jackee, Steve Harvey, Steve Trevino, Valery Ortiz, Eve, Paul Winfield, and 3-time Oscar nominee Djimon Honsou. As a live events show writer, he’s written for Anthony Anderson, Kimberly Elise, Jo Marie Payton, L.A. City Council President Eric Garcetti, ex-L.A. Police Chief Bernard Parks, NAACP National President Benjamin Todd Jealous, Jason Alexander, Ben Stiller, and the NAACP Theater Awards (’04-08).

He’s also developed TV and/or film projects for Russell Simmons, Dr. Dre, Bret Ratner, Kim Fields, Reuben Cannon, Norman Howard (nephew of The Three Stooges), Beverly Todd, Vidal Sassoon, ex-NBA great Kenny “The Jet” Smith and Natalie Cole. Mike has written and directed 9 plays and produced 16 that have garnered 27 NAACP Theater Award Nominations, winning 5.

He is a two-time NAACP Award-winning Playwright/Producer (Company Policy/Ted Lange’s Four Queens, No Trump!), two-time NAACP Award Nominated Director (If You Don’t Believe, Body Language), an Emmy Award-winning TV producer (E! Network’s Talk Soup), an award-winning filmmaker (Happy Anniversary, Punk!) and a trailblazing web tv creator (Ajakwetv.com’s Who...)

In 2010, he also served as writer/producer on the three-time NAACP Image award-winning music documentary series Unsung, airing on TV One, having made one-hour life profiles on great pop-soul soprano Deniece Williams, legendary sideman-turned-solo star Ray Parker Jr., and influential rock-funk icon Sly Stone of Sly & The Family Stone.

In 2013, Ajakwe wrapped production on "Trophy Wife', an original six-episode tv comedy series he created, wrote, directed and produced based on his Web series Who... (Ajakwetv.com).

Ajakwe has been featured in a myriad of newspapers, magazines and books, among them: Black Comedians on Black Comedy by Darryl Littleton (Applause Books, 2010), The Script-Selling Game by Kathie Fong Yoneda: 2nd Edition (Michael Weise Productions, 2010), African-Americans in Television: Behind The Scenes by Greg Adamo (Peter Lang Publishing, 2010), and Now Write! Screenwriting by Sherry Ellis and Laurie Lamson (Tarcher/Penguin Books, 2011). Additionally, Ajakwe's writings can be found in the book Souls of My Brothers by Dawn Marie Daniels and Candace Sandy (Plume Books, 2003), Outstanding Stage Monologs & Scenes of the '90s by Steven H. Gale (Merriweather Publishing, 2000), South Central Stories: Double or Nothin', The Ride, Happy Anniversary Punk! (Pipedream, 2001); Company Policy: The Rage Behind The Mask (Pipedream, 2000), The Best Stage Scenes 1996 (Smith & Krause), The Best Men's Stage Monologues 1996 (Smith & Krause), The Best Men's Stage Monologues 1995 (Smith & Krause), and The Best Women's Stage Monologues 1995.

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