“If you put in the work, you will ultimately be rewarded for it.” That is the belief that Stephen Rider of the Netflix series Marvels’ “Daredevil” has grown up with and today he is a living testimony of that belief. Stephen was raised in a household where belief in God was top priority and belief in self was second. His grandmother, Mary Rider, always told him ‘once you start believing in yourself, you can never let go of your faith.’ And he held onto those words.
In his own words, Stephen Rider is a regular guy from Delaware that grew up a dreamer and a doer. He knew he wanted to be greater than his circumstances and in order to do that, college was his way out. Stephen chose Morehouse as the place to propel him into the realm of success and greatness – he figured if he roamed the same campus as the late Martin Luther King Jr., then he too could discover his purpose and in part that’s what he did.
While his initial major was in the world of financing, Stephen knew this was not what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. Stephen took a leap of faith and joined a friend’s production in college which forced him to push himself as an actor. The production was for a thesis film about a young black man away at school in a school that didn’t necessarily see him. That role pushed and fueled Stephen’s drive as an actor.
When asked what Stephen Rider brings to the table, he responds with one simple answer: “Myself… I know it sounds a bit cliche and maybe even arrogant to some but I would have to say myself. I think as long as you are able to reconcile with who you think you are versus the person you actually are, and you have a clear understanding of both, then you’re able to put your best foot forward and portray that both on screen and in your personal life.”
Speaking of meditation, Stephen says he meditates. “I started doing Transcendental Meditation at the David Lynch foundation in L.A. A friend of mine named Alicia told me about it once before and I said, hey why not. One day I sat and asked myself, ‘Stephen, you’ve done so much – you’re taken classes to hone your craft, you keep an open mind about any and everything but what have you done to connect to your purpose? And I thought,its okay to work on your outer self but a lot of times we leave behind our core and whats inside. Transcendental Meditation, I must say it has helped me immensely and I’m not as reactive and I’m a lot happier. I try and do it twice a day for twenty minutes. It really helps me.”
Nowadays, Stephen stars as Blake Tower in the Netflix series “Marvel’s Daredevil”. “In my eyes, Blake Tower is the voice for the voiceless. He is the politician who’s for the people but at the same time we can’t forget that he is a politician and that in and of itself can be a little problematic. He works with Daredevil because he wants the crime in his city to stop and the only way there seems for it to get done is with the help of Daredevil.”
If Stephen Rider hadn’t chosen acting, he’d probably be a teacher of some sort. “Anything that involves me communicating and reaching out to people, that’s what I enjoy doing the most… The other day I was on the subway and I ran into these seventh graders who were coming from a trip to the museum and I started up a conversation with them. At first they were a bit stand-offish, a little hesitant but once I told them I was on TV and I came from an inner-city just like them they began to open up to me. I challenged them to dream big and always think outside of their current circumstances.”
Stephen Rider is more than just a dreamer, he’s a doer. He took his time, honed his craft and put in the work required to meet his dreams. He didn’t wait for the opportunities to come to him. He went after them and in the end, it’s totally worth it.
By Monique C. Tillman