Robert Ri’chard is building his legacy in Hollywood one move at a time. The seasoned actor states, “I’ve been in everyone’s household for the last 24 years.” In 2020, aside from his recurring role in “Empire” and roles in four major films, he is making his mark on and off the red carpet through his big-picture philosophy. He talks to us about film, real estate, and influencing the health, wealth and fitness world.
Q: Did you always want to be an actor?
I went to Johns Hopkins University and studied engineering; I was pursuing my discipline in engineering and striving to be an astronaut. At the time, I was already on television; I think the fork in the road for my career path occurred for me when I realized the entertainment business would never play second position to my school, they thought it was a distraction. Then, on the other hand, my dean at school didn’t care about my entertainment career. So I dropped out; I bought property; I got into real estate, that’s all. As far as goals are concerned, I believe in aligning the passion you possess with the value that you must bring to society to earn a living – the problem that you’re solving for mankind. There has to be a relationship between the two, because if not, then it is frivolous. You could be the greatest person on Tik Tok [mobile app], but what does that do for anybody?
Q: Is there a moment in time that you felt might be considered a tipping point?
I grew up in an underprivileged urban household in the Crenshaw area of Los Angeles. We didn’t have a lot, and I was always told that education would be my vehicle to success. My principal, Mrs. VanZant, would invite influential people to our elementary school to speak. I was made the master of ceremonies for all of our assemblies, even though I was a troubled kid. Mrs. VanZant introduced me to our presented guests – these influential people. Once, a gentleman asked me, “What’s your name?” I said, “Robert Ri’chard.” He replied, “My name is William Clinton, and this is my wife Hillary Rodham Clinton.” He said, “always give your full name and always ask everyone their full name and they’ll never forget you. You’ll never forget them.” That was 1991 before Bill Clinton became the president of the United States. I think that event changed my entire life, it left an imprint, it never left my mind.
Q: What do you call this philosophy that you live by?
I don’t know what I call it, but I’m definitely building my family legacy. I admire what other families have and I think about birthright and royalty – how it is inevitable that they will be princes and kings. The stones were laid way ahead of their lifetime. I thought to myself, “If you think about your life, not in a 40-year span, but in a 400-year life span, then you can accomplish what the Hiltons, Marriotts, Buffetts or one of these tycoons that are laying a substantial foundation for their future family to prosper are achieving.” I have always thought, how do I create seeds that grow into these big, magnificent, beautiful trees of success that I can pass down to my kids?
“20 years from now, when I look back, I want to be satisfied when I ask myself this question: did you invest in people, in the greater republic? I think that’s going to be what makes me feel the most fulfilled.”
Q: What gives you the most energy?
I think that God’s salvation is not only the most humbling thing in my life, but it also gives me the most energy for others, in service to the world with God’s love. I read a statement from an astronaut that was profound. It said that when you are in space and you are looking back at Earth, it is absolutely beautiful – there are zero lines separating us. From space, there is no California, and there is no USA. There is no Republican or Democrat. There are no lines that exist on the planet when you look from space. I think that we are all one, and we all create this unnecessary divide. I have to change that.