Actor Obba Babatundé recalls having been delighted by the invitation to join the cast of THE BOLD & THE BEAUTIFUL as Julius Avant, the patriarch of transgender model Maya’s family. However, he’d had one condition: “I said, ‘I want to represent this man as a fully realized human being.’” Fortunately, he was given the green light, and as his Emmy win suggests, he did a great job. “I’ve had many transgender people say to me,” he shared, “‘I want to thank you for your portrayal of Julius’ perspective because it helped me to understand my father better.’”
Now, the actor has taken on the recurring role of yet another patriarch, one whose strong values cause him to clash with his daughter — played by SCANDAL vet Kerry Washington — on Hulu’s LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE (which premiered on March 18). “It’s an in-depth look into how society has viewed women, their roles and the positions they’ve been forced into accepting,” he related, “and at those who have — whether through bravery or a feeling of necessity — broken the mold.”
Babatundé’s other recurring role, that of Hondo’s dad on CBS’ S.W.A.T., has him working with THE YOUNG & THE RESTLESS’ former Malcolm, Shemar Moore. “This character has a rich background: He’s a former member of the Black Panthers whose son grew up to be the head of a SWAT team — there’s a conflict there!” the actor explained. “But also, we’ve dug deep, because we’re identifying the issue of the separation of father and son and now coming back together to deal with impending illness.”
When not shooting movies (A Polished Soul, Miss Havisham Effect), Babatundé is looking forward to returning to Netflix’s DEAR WHITE PEOPLE, where he’s playing “the first African-American dean of a historically white Ivy League college,” he offered. “They’ve announced a fourth season” but not when production will start.
However, if B&B wants him, too, the actor is game. “People keep asking, ‘When are the Avants coming back?’” he acknowledges. “At the holiday party, [executive producer/headwriter] Brad Bell said some very nice things, so I’m hopeful.”
For more from your favorite B&B stars — past and present — keep reading the CBS edition of Soaps In Depth magazine.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine