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‘The Chi’ star Jacob Latimore on his Milwaukee roots and mental-health push

How do you know Jacob Latimore?

The smart money would be on his work as an actor that has spanned more than a decade and extends from the big screen (Ride Along, The Maze Runner, Collateral Beauty and the new version of House Party) to prestige television series like his current run on The Chi, which recently got renewed for a seventh season.

But you might know him from the music career that started before any of his screen time and includes his 2014 hit with T-Pain, “Heartbreak Around the World,” right through to his most recent single, “Take It Back.”

It’s also possible you know him as a Milwaukee native who did some big things after venturing from his hometown. To put it another way, Jacob Latimore does a lot. But that doesn’t stop him from doing even more.

Recently, Latimore found a way to bring together two things that have made a major impact on his life: Boys & Girls Clubs of America and the decision to prioritize his mental health, even to the point of bringing it into his work on screen.

“It’s definitely encouraged me to take care of my own mental health because I do play so many other roles,” he explained to HYFIN’s Element Everest-Blanks in a recent interview. “I’m always worried about someone else’s shoes, and then I get back home, and I’m like, ‘Who is Jacob? What am I doing?’ It’s extremely important for me to make sure I’m taken care of so I can show up to these characters and have some sort of authenticity.”

Through a partnership with Kohl’s and Boys & Girls Clubs of America, he’s bringing that truth to a new generation. Last Saturday, Latimore had a high-profile chance to speak to them directly by joining a panel discussion to promote youth mental-health awareness. It was just the latest example of Kohl’s longtime support of Boys & Girls Clubs and an extension of the two organizations’ recent push to create an environment where kids can feel comfortable and safe talking about their mental health.

“When I was going to school and I was promoting my music at a young age, the Boys & Girls Club and schools were where I went to promote my music, to spread my name,” Latimore recalled. “It was one of those places to mingle and be social and also just do what I love.

“Coming back full circle at this point in my career is extremely important because it’s a whole new generation, whole new mindset I think kids should have. If I can install something to protect them for the journey ahead, I definitely want to speak on that.”

Latimore had plenty more to say about his own experiences — career-wise and as part of this mental-health journey — in the full interview, which also includes Kohl’s director of community relations Tara Geiter. You can listen to their conversation with Element using the player at the top of this page, learn about the partnership between Kohl’s and Boys & Girls Clubs here, and catch Latimore on The Chi on Paramount+.