In honor of Black History Month, China Anne McClain (“A.N.T. Farm”) spoke with the Huffington Post about the 10 most influential African-Americans to her. These are in no particular order!
1. My Mom
As soon as I heard “influential African-Americans,” the first people I thought about were my amazing parents! Let’s start with my Mom. She is always so loving and supportive of me. She has always been the one who listens to my problems and gives me the best advice on how to fix them. Mom is so understanding and always tries her best to make me happy. She is also hilarious and that helps me with my comedic acting! She has influenced me positively in many ways, but the thing that I will always remember is how she and my dad taught me to ALWAYS be humble and remain a good person.
2. My Dad
Now for my Dad! He has influenced me so much by following his dreams. He has been a music producer since before I was born and he loves it! Seeing him do something he loves made me want to do it also. He has also taught me very important things like how to control my singing voice and is always very patient with me until I get it right. He and my Mom have always pushed me to do my best and that’s what has gotten me where I am today! I love them very much and could not have asked for better parents.
3. Michael Jackson.
Michael Jackson has influenced me to be a passionate performer. When he was on stage performing, you could tell that he loved it and was really having fun. Every single time I watch videos of Michael performing, I feel like I am on stage with him! I always think about how blessed I am to have the opportunity to perform and entertain people like Michael Jackson did. His amazing work will always inspire me.
4. Hattie McDaniel
Hattie McDaniel was the definition of multi-talented. She was a singer, songwriter, and an incredible actress! Mrs. McDaniel would go on to become the first African-American woman to receive an Academy Award. Sadly, she was not allowed to sit with the rest of the cast of Gone With the Wind or with the rest of the nights attendees because of segregation. She and her escort had to sit at a table separated from everyone else. This shows how far we still needed to go as a country dealing with racism in 1940; but still, what a great honor. All of Hattie McDaniel’s talent and hard work has influenced me to try new things!
Beyoncé has taught me how to be confident on stage! She always has so much attitude! My sisters and I always watch her tours and performances together to try and learn how she manages to pull her audience in, whether it’s 10 or 10,000 people! Every time my sisters and I go over our shows and rehearse we think about how Beyoncé practiced everyday and how the hard work paid off for her!
6. Martin Luther King
I respect Martin Luther King so much for spending his life standing up for African-American’s rights. Because of his charisma, determination and faith in GOD, he has touched the hearts of people everywhere, of all races. It’s because of people like him that I get to act, sing, and do what I love everyday. His words and what he believed in will live forever. He has taught me that I can really inspire people with my voice, and that’s how I want to spend a big part of my career.
7. Barack Obama
Barack Obama is such an amazing president. When he sees that there is a serious problem in the United States that needs attention, he deals with it right away. He is responsible and very productive. That’s what he has taught me and I’m pretty sure many other people as well! If you see a problem that needs attention, big or small, take initiative and fix it. There’s no need to wait!
8. Michelle Obama
What an amazing person to represent us as females, and in my case, as an African-American female, Our First Lady of the United States. Bold, beautiful, black, mothering, compassionate, brilliant, humble, strong, supportive, innovative and so many other things. This is the type of person I want to see staring back at me when I look in the mirror.
9. Gabby Douglas
Gabby is someone I’ve recently become friends with and I feel strongly about putting her on my list. Her awesomeness and determination in the 2012 Olympics was inspiring to children AND adults all over the world! Even though she is young herself, she gives African-American girls someone to look up to and teaches us that dreams really do come true!
10. Oprah Winfrey
What Oprah Winfrey has done for women and little girls all over the world is completely mind-blowing! She changes people’s lives everyday with nothing but her voice. She gives very wise advice that I live by everyday; not to mention all the charity work she has done with young African-American girls! She is so caring and is really an inspiration to me.
Mr. Perry has been a big influence in my life because his decision to cast me in “House of Payne” has really impacted my career positively. He also put my sisters and me in our first movie together! He has also impacted many other people with the amazing messages involved in his plays and movies.
Sierra & Lauryn McClain
My sisters are my inspirations because they are both so talented and are really good people. They have taught me most of what I know on the guitar and have helped me strengthen parts of my voice that were once weak. They inspire me with their confidence and determination in practicing their art. They are also very honest with me about everything and always encourage me to do the right things and make the right decisions.
China was fabulous in the “A.N.T. Farm” episode “influANTces” that aired last Friday (February 1, 2013) in honor of Black History Month!