For anyone who says Houston can’t be compared to Hollywood, you sure can’t tell by looking at the resume of one of its natives. Stephon “007” Davis has been keeping the Houston entertainment scene afire, with local projects proving that H-Town, indeed, is a force to be reckoned with.
To be honest, we didn’t even know this much lights, camera and action was happening in the Bayou City, but Davis is showing that talent coming out of Houston is all that and a bag of chips – or several buckets of popcorn – in this case.
“Houston has a lot of talent and we get overlooked. They say Atlanta is supposed to be the Hollywood South, but now after the Census, Houston may become the third largest city,” Davis said. “They shoot more productions in Atlanta because of the tax incentives. If we had the same amount of tax incentives here in Houston, people would flock to our city because we have plenty of great filming locations. We actually have studio lots just sitting around, and we are just waiting for it all to be discovered. Once they open the flood gates, more people will start taking notice.”
Stephon Lamar Davis was raised in the “Brentwood” neighborhood in Houston’s Hiram Clarke area. A “Class of 1989” graduate of James Madison High School, the track and field athlete went off to Cisco Junior College in Cisco, Texas on a full football scholarship. From there, he transferred to the University of Houston and finished out his collegiate career at Texas Southern University, obtaining a degree in Radio & Television/ Communications.
At TSU, he created a movie called “21 Crunk Street,” with fellow classmates, now-comedian Marcus D. Wiley and John Tucker, who is now a notable Hollywood music video director. The production, which was a campus success, re-ignited a fire Davis had since he was 5 years old.
“I used to get in trouble when I was little for imitating and mocking my mom and other relatives. But my aunt said one day, ‘Don’t whoop him because he might have a little talent or something and if he doesn’t do anything with it, then we will whoop him,'” he laughed.
Davis says he was so obsessed with entertainment, his young mind tried to figure out how he could literally get “inside” the actual television box.
“I used to go around to the back of the TV so I could see how I could ‘get in’ and get in the show,” Davis said. “I knew in some kind of way that I wanted to be on TV.”
Despite Davis’ natural talent as an actor, his initial dream career was that of so many other young, Black men: to go from college straight to the National Football League (NFL). He had the opportunity to go to the NFL combine to workout for pro scouts, but a severe injury (hamstrings both legs) derailed his pro football career. Luckily, he had his education to fall back on and that childhood TV dream stayed atop his mind.
But like his NFL career, his dream of being on TV also had to take a “life happens” hold.
Davis began working in Corporate America for 19 years as a top-rated sales executive for T-Mobile/Sprint, AT&T and Verizon. But when something’s “meant to be,” it comes around again — and most often, when you least expect it.
In 2004, Davis got a major opportunity with a big name during a huge event. The blessing gave him a glimpse of the Hollywood lifestyle that was still calling his name.
“I had an SUV and a friend who owned a business called and asked if I could take Russell Simmons and his wife, Kimora Lee, around. I thought he was lying, but I went anyway. I saw a crowd at the hotel and I was wondering what the buzz was about, then there he was, Russell Simmons, standing right at my door. My mouth dropped!” Davis recalled.
Simmons asked Davis if he would take them around while they were in town, and of course, he said yes.
“They gave me a badge and a pass and I went everywhere they went. I had the chance to hang out with The Rock, Booker T, Michael Ealy, Tyrese, Deion Sanders,” Davis explained. “I saw Beyonce, Jay Z and so many others who were in town.”
He also ran into his old TSU acting classmates, Wiley and Tucker, at one of the Super Bowl parties and they encouraged him to get back into acting.
“And right then and there, that was it. I always knew that was what I wanted to do, but it was confirmed when I had the opportunity to be with Russell, his friends and my old friends that weekend,” Davis said.
Davis got moving, signing a contract with Pastorini-Bosby, one of the largest talent agencies in Texas, which also represented actor Matthew McConaughey.
Stephon is also represented by Landrum Arts LA, and managed by Panache Management, which is based in Los Angeles.
At 49 years young, he is running on all cylinders.
“LL (Cool J) ain’t the only one that can look good. I can lick my lips, too!” he joked. “People say we look alike, and I would love to work with him one day.”
Davis has been in numerous national and local commercials, including one for BBVA Compass Bank, in addition to several television shows, including Friday Night Lights.
Movies have included Lap Dance, One Crazy Christmas, Complex, Keep On Lovin, The Friend Zone, Harvey, My Brother’s Keeper, My BFF, Big Boss, JobHaterz, and Because I Love You, just to name a few. Davis said for the movie Complex, he had to tap into his dark side as the movie dealt with schizophrenia and murder.
“I actually scared some of the production people because they said I was really playing this role. It was really dark,” he said. “I had to go into a different side of myself. I trained with renowned acting coach Troy Rowland – who trains many Hollywood A-listers including Naomi Harris, Queen Latifah and Morris Chestnut – to prepare for that role.”
Davis is also a regular on the number one TV series on UMC/AMC streaming network, 5th Ward, in which he plays Troy Hermes, the postman.
For Davis’ latest project, he is filling dual roles as a producer and supporting lead actor in O’ Shea – Words or Bullets, a pilot TV series.
O’Shea – Words or Bullets is a thrilling and dramatic series which follows Malachi O’Shea Edwards as he leads a movement out of oppression in a society on the edge of a revolution. The series is created, directed and produced by Eric Hunter, along with Antrone Harris (lead actor / producer) and Hollywood director and producer Dr. Tyrone Dixon. It’s represented by famous entertainment attorney Ricky Anderson.
[BAYOU BEAT NEWS READERS ARE PROVIDED WITH FIRST GLIMPSE OF PILOT]
The series also stars Gary Sturgis, comedian CoCoa Brown, and “A Different World” cultural iconic actress Charnele Brown.
You can currently catch Davis on Amazon Prime in the hit stage play, It’s A Love Thang. You can also watch him perform live in The Good Girl, directed by Annie Johnson. This stage play will be debuting at the Stafford Centre on Valentine’s Day 2021.
With all that he’s got going on, what’s Davis’ ultimate goal? Well, he admits he has a few big ticket items to punch.
Davis’ dream is to play in a movie with Houston’s legendary sisters Phylicia Rashad and Debbie Allen, in addition to veteran actors Samuel L. Jackson, Danny Glover, Denzel Washington and Sydney Poitier, whom he refers to as “Black Royalty.”
“These trailblazers got into it when it was hard for us, they paved the way for us all,” Davis said.
He says his favorite movie as a child was Let’s Do It Again, starring Poitier. And wouldn’t you know it, Davis’ good luck — or “God is always in the driver’s seat” moment came full circle again. Just as Davis had a chance meeting with Simmons, he also had a “chance luncheon” with Poitier.
“I get choked up just thinking about it. A good friend of mine, Clyde Jones (who played the ‘Soul Glo’ poster man in Eddie Murphy’s Coming to America) and I were sitting at a restaurant in Beverly Hills and Sydney, who lived in the neighborhood, was having lunch at the same restaurant and allowed us to join him,” Davis shared. “I told him that I had been watching him since I was a kid and I wanted to one day win awards like him and he told me the same thing he told Jamie Foxx, Denzel Washington and Morgan Freeman, he said to me ‘Young fella, I’m passing you the torch, and you run with it.'”
Davis continued, “He tapped me in the chest and hugged me just like my father – who had just passed away at the time – and I just couldn’t hold it in. It was so emotional.”
And he has one more item on his wish list to fulfill. Remember Davis’ nickname “007,” it has significant meaning.
“2007 was a rough year for me. My dad passed away from brain cancer. He fought it for seven years and had seven brain surgeries,” Davis said. “My daughter was born the day after he died, my aunt passed away two days after bringing my daughter home from the hospital, and I learned my stepfather was diagnosed with throat cancer on the day of my dad’s funeral. My acting stage name was to pay homage to all of that, plus I’m a huge James Bond fan.”
Which leads to his main goal.
“I want to become the first Black James Bond to ever play the role,” he shared.
And wait — “Mr. 007” has some good genes we need to mention. He is the father of four children; two boys and two girls. Three are in college – Alex, Stephon Jr. and Jasmine, and his youngest daughter, 13-year-old Megan, is following in her daddy’s footsteps.
She is acting in school plays and was the lead in a Solange Knowles music video, and continues to audition for national projects and commercials.
“I want to give back, help my family and help my community. I want to support ministries and support projects that would keep kids out of the streets. We will all get there together one day. We just have to keep striving,” Davis said.