Age has never been a determining factor for excellence. Especially, when it comes to performers who are moreso judged on creativity, dedication, and raw talent. At least that’s what we can take away from watching Donielle T. Hansley Jr., known professionally as Lil Dee Dee. This 14-year-old young man already holds the titles of dancer, choreographer, actor, and motivational speaker. All of these jobs and he can’t even vote.
If you don’t recognize the name, then you’ve probably seen him playing Frank on Tyler Perry’s If Loving You Is Wrong or as Thomas on The CW series Containment. If those don’t ring any bells then you’ve definitely heard his voice while listening to your kids watch Cartoon Network‘s The Amazing World of Gumball. Dee Dee is the voice actor behind Darwin Watterson, the fish best friend/adopted brother to the cartoon character Gumball.
However, if all of that went over your head then you can catch him on the upcoming film Honey 4. He’ll be the one playing the chill young dance. Which is like a regular day in the life of Lil Dee Dee. Only in real life, he has much more on his plate. He’ll be starring alongside entertainers Teyana Taylor and Bryshere Y. Gray from FOX’s Empire.
Coming from a family that is bursting at the seams with talent, Lil Dee Dee was destined to be a performer. His father is an R&B singer, who used to bring his children with him to rehearsals. Which is where Dee Dee and siblings picked up on dancing. All of his siblings can dance, but he’s the only one who pursued it professionally. His brother is a contortionist in a traveling circus. One of his sisters is a model and the other is rapper/singer. Dee Dee is the dancer/actor of the family.
His talents have allowed him to become one of the youngest professional choreographers in the world. Lil Dee Dee’s dancing even caught the attention of R&B/Pop sensation Usher, who’s also known for his dancing. He was even a featured dancer in Usher’s “No Limit” music video. Before that, he danced in music videos for WeAreToonz’s “NaeNae” and B.o.B’s “Strange Clouds”.
Lil Dee Dee also wants to be an inspiration to kids his age by setting a positive example for them to aspire to. He frequently works with Usher’s New Look Foundation to teach leadership among youth on a global. When he’s not working Dee Dee gives back to his community by visiting public schools and speaks about pursuing their passion, and never giving up.
It’s amazing that Lil Dee Dee has been able to already reach such heights at a very young age. He’s doing better than most people who have years of training coupled with a high school diploma or a college degree. Clearly his talent, passion, and amazing work ethic are major factors in his success. Cute kids are a dime a dozen, but truly talented kids like Lil Dee Dee are extremely exceptional.