Everybody may hate Chris, but everyone loves Imani Hakim. She stole our hearts at just 11 years old when she landed her first big role on the hit show, “Everybody Hates Chris.” She quickly rose to fame as a child star playing Tonya alongside Terry Crews and Tichina Arnold. While the show made the cast a household name, Hakim didn’t seem to notice just how big the show had become.
“ I feel like I didn’t know how big of a deal it was back then because I was just a kid. But now when I think about that I’m like that’s insane! That was my first major role, and I was working with Chris Rock.”
Today, Hakim is building her resume as an adult actress, explaining that it has been quite the transition from a child star to an adult actress.
“It has been a journey. It has been a journey filled with knowledge and major growth. It hasn’t been too difficult, but there have been some lessons learned along the way. I am loving the journey so far, and I’m grateful for the journey I’ve had. I am really excited to see what my adult career is going to be like. I think we’re just getting started so I am excited to see what is down the road for me.”
Although transitioning from a child star to an adult actress can be quite the challenge, Hakim seems to be handling the transition just fine. Landing the role as Gabby in “The Gabby Douglas Story” and her current role as Rochon, in “Burning Sands.”
“Burning Sands” is a coming of age story that tackles the subject of hazing. It follows a young man, being torn between two worlds, and whether he chooses to speak up or remain silent. The audience gets to see how his actions end up affecting his relationships.
She was immediately intrigued by the role because she hopes to bring awareness to all the fraternities and sororities out there and hopefully help put an end to hazing.
“I wanted to be part of this film because it has a message, I was unaware that all this stuff was even happening. I love storytelling and anything that I can learn from, I love to be a part of things like that. Also, my character Rochon is different from any character I’ve played before, and she is this powerful character who is on her own journey to becoming a fashion designer. I love playing strong characters, and I haven’t really had the opportunity to do so. I think that is really one of the main reasons why I was attracted to the film.”
Hakim has always looked up to strong female characters, expressing her love for Jada Pinkett Smith.
“She is my inspiration because I see myself in her. I watch these YouTube videos of 10 reasons for success, and her story really stood out to me because she is this small petite thing and she is still able to play these leading roles, this is really inspiring to me. You like to see people that look like you or that have your body type. To me that matters, she has paved the way for me.”
With such an amazing career already behind her and a transition into a new one, Hakim hopes to help influence others by reminding them that they are not their story. She hopes people will remember as someone
“Who was able to bounce back and didn’t stay down for too long if I was down. I think perseverance is really important. I think with perseverance you can do amazing things. You are not your story, just because you come from a certain environment or a certain community, that doesn’t mean you have to stay that way. That doesn’t mean that you can’t come back even harder, stronger, and better than before.”