Rickey Thompson is “booked and busy,” even during lockdown.
While spending time indoors and social distancing, the actor, comedian, and Internet personality has been keeping our timelines lively and fun with his dancing videos, vintage-inspired outfit posts, and motivational messages. But amidst the 24-year-old’s busy schedule, he stopped for a virtual chat with Tommy J. Atkins, chair and co-founder of Hearst Black Culture, to discuss royals, his fashion icons, celebrating pride, and the impact of the Black Lives Matter movement in this current time.
On starting his comedic career
Thompson’s online journey took off on the now-defunct social platform Vine, but he always had a knack for entertaining. “I’ve always had something to say,” he said. “And I always wanted to post videos and make people happy, because that’s what I did with my friends. I was always the comedic guy and always they guy they came and asked for advice.”
Then, Thompson realized, if he could be there for his friends, he could do it for viewers online. Now, he boasts over 5 million followers on Instagram and over a million on YouTube.
Last year, Thompson starred in BAZAAR.com‘s video series “Royal Tea,” where he educated viewers on royal family basics and commented on royal news. To no one’s surprise, Thompson is a Duchess of Sussex fan, so when he saw the announcement that she and Prince Harry were stepping down as senior royals to start a new life beyond the crown, he celebrated.
“Girl, I would have done the same exact thing,” he said. “I love how she said enough is enough, I’m not going to deal with all this. It’s so sad that she got all of that hate for literally nothing.”
He also praised Prince Harry for making the big decision with his wife. “The fact that her man left with her? That’s what I’m looking for. That is what I want,” Thompson said. “For a man to step down to be with his woman? That is what I want.”
On protesting injustice
“I honestly think it is absolutely amazing that now Black people are being heard,” Thompson said. “We are really out there letting people know that enough is enough, we’re sick and tired of the racism. We really want to be heard. Being Black is actually so amazing, and it just made me so upset because it’s like why are people so upset because of people’s skin color?”
The star recalled participating in the recent protests for seven days straight because he wanted to be involved in more ways than just posting on social media at home. “I actually wanted to be out there. I actually wanted to be chanting. I actually wanted to fight for these people who deserve justice,” he said.
Thompson’s takeaway from the current wave of protest and change is hope, as he praised how people are being called out on their racism, or how white people in leadership or creative roles are stepping down to make room for their Black peers.
“You know, hey, it makes me happy,” he said of the progress the Black Lives Matter movement has made so far. “I’m Black, I’m beautiful, and I am proud. So I will not be silent.”
On coming out
Yesterday’s chat took place on the last official day of Pride Month, but for Thompson, the celebration of his identity goes beyond just 30 days of the year. To him, “pride” means “really embracing the skin that you’re in and really being proud of who you are no matter what anyone has to say about you. And I just love, love, love that.”
He looked back on his first-ever Pride event, which he attended with his mother at a young age. “I knew that there was something different about me, but my mom took me to Pride in Miami and I just saw everyone so happy with just being themselves, all the rainbows, and all of the colorful … and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh. I’m gay, and I want to let it out.’ And ever since I came out, I am just always dramatic, just very excited, and I just love who I am.”
Watch Rickey’s full interview above.
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