“The Wire” star, who played Malik “Poot” Carr, talks with us about his time on the show, his musical career and giving back.
By Jacob Engels
Over the past month, I have re-watched HBO’s The Wire from start to finish. It has long been one of my favorite shows because of it’s honest portrayal of politics and bureaucracy, and it was a treat to be reacquainted with characters like State Senator Clay Davis (Sheeeeeeeeet!), Detective Jimmy McNulty and everyone else that makes The Wire the amazing piece of art that it is.
The storyline of Bodie, Poot & Wallace in the first couple seasons was easily one of my favorite sub-plots. Earlier today, I had the pleasure of speaking with Tray Chaney who portrayed Poot. Our Q&A is below!
Tell us a little bit about your upbringing in Maryland and how it helped shape your creative drive.
I grew up in Forestville, Maryland – right outside of Washington, D.C. I was blessed to grow up with both of parents who’ve been married for over 34 years, so my sister and I were taught by great examples. My Dad always provided for us and my Mom did the same. My creative drive comes from them always constantly pushing me to strive for my dreams no matter what, and letting me know if you put GOD first, all good things will come.
Most know you from your role as “Poot” on The Wire, how did that show effect you as a person and performer? Who are you most close with from the cast?
Carr in HBO’s The Wire as Poot.
Just to say I played POOT on The Wire for 5 years is a blessing. It taught me so much about acting, as well as the other actors who always helped me whenever I had questions or was unsure about something. I’m very close with Anwan Glover who played Slim Charles and we have several other projects coming out. I’m always in communication with majority of the cast members. We are still like a big family. Everyone is on their hustle and grind.
Over the past few years, you have spent a lot of time focusing on your musical career. You focus on fatherhood, bullying, and most recently the importance of education. So many rappers or hip-hop artists sell SO MANY records focusing on violence, sexual depravity and drugs – why be different?
Chaney’s new music video promoting school attendance and a focus on education.
Well…I just feel the need to focus on stepping up in Hip-Hop and becoming a leader who speaks on social issues that society needs to hear & majority of the rappers are not selling as many records no more. My kind of music doesn’t always lead to a bunch of radio play or record deals, but it has got me invites to the White House and I’m on tour every year at different schools educating students to stop bullying, read more and have perfect attendance. This is forever type music I’m making and it’s actually working.
You seem to have the entrepreneurial bug. Production company, your own LLC…what’s your next business venture. How are those going?
“Truth, I’m a rapper but I’m trying to tell you to wrap it up” – World Aids Anthem
YES! I’ve got so used to doing everything on my own, until I embraced being an entrepreneur and my next venture is building the brand of mrtraychaney.com. I am also working on partnering up with the Prince George County Health Department to continue to inspire people to prevent HIV/AIDS and have a video called LIVE World Aids Anthem that premiered on MTV Jams last month during World Aids Day. I feel the musical can touch even more people’s lives.
I’m not sure if you play WOW (World of Warcraft), but there is an event that takes place in the game called the Darkmoon Faire. It’s a carnival of sorts with games, food, and even a petting zoo. There are three NPC’s (non-player characters) that walk around the event named Poot, Bodie and Wallace. What do you think about that? Over 100 million people have played the game and it is the most popular MMO ever created.
It’s a blessing that THE WIRE has a huge effect on pop culture. I’m just blessed. I have to check that out, I haven’t played it yet.
What is on deck in 2015? Film, TV, Music.
I have a new TV show called RISE that I’m currently filming right now. I play a character named KAI FINLEY, who is a well educated business man that gets involved with money laundering. It’s written and directed by Taylor Young (Riot Scene Pictures) and I can’t wait until the world sees this. Filming that has been taking up a bunch of my time, but it’s so worth it. We are also focusing pushing the Attendance music video. 2015 will be a great year.
Jacob Engels, is the Founder of East Orlando Post & Seminole County Post. He is a seasoned political operative who has led numerous statewide political groups and has worked on several high-profile local, statewide, and national races. Jacob has been interviewed on national television & radio programs, with his work having been featured in the Orlando Sentinel, New York Times, Washington Post, Miami Herald and other publications nationwide. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org