Back on the screen

Published 5:02 pm Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Aqeel Ash-Shakoor feels comfortable dressed in a law enforcement uniform.

The Murfreesboro native and former Hertford County Deputy Sheriff, now turned actor, has a role in the new HBO Max Limited Series, “The Staircase.” The show covers the high-profile murder trial of American novelist Michael Peterson following the death of his wife, Kathleen Peterson, in 2001 in Durham, NC.

Aqeel Ash-Shakoor, a native of Murfreesboro, is quickly making a name for himself as an actor, to include a role as a law enforcement officer in the new HBO Max Limited Series, “The Staircase.” Contributed Photo

This marks Ash-Shakoor’s first HBO Max TV show role. He will play a North Carolina State Trooper in Episode 7 of the series that will air on Thursday, June 2.

“I was employed as a Hertford County Deputy Sheriff when this real life murder took place,” he recalled.

“My role in this series involves the ongoing investigation of the murder and the murder trial,” he added.

The Staircase will officially kick off with three full episodes and one new episode dropping each Thursday through June 9. The new show is based on the true story explored in the documentary of the same name.

The Staircase follows Michael Peterson (Colin Firth) and his large North Carolina family, and the suspicious death of his wife, Kathleen Peterson (Toni Collette).

For Ash-Shakoor, this is the latest of what has been a busy two years in front of the camera.

His first lead role in a feature film came last year in “Turn of the Cheek.” That film was released Aug. 29 on Vimeo on Demand. It’s a faith-based film centering on forgiveness that was written and directed by Janaya Black of Black-Smith Enterprises.

In May of 2021, Ash-Shakoor played the role of Willie, a neighborhood business man, in Renika McQueen’s edgy dramatic thriller, “Cain and Abel,” directed by Kamal Smith.

One month prior to that was the season premiere of “Smoking Good”, a TV series that Ash-Shakoor had a role.

Before making it in front of a TV/movie camera, Ash-Shakoor landed his first ever modeling job in May 2015 with the well-known Mid-West Fashion show, “Walk Fashion Show.” Since then, he has filmed several commercials on the national level, feature films, and short films. He has also co-starred in the popular “Chicago Med” on NBC and has been featured in other TV shows on the major networks, to include “The Chi.”

Later this year, Ash-Shakoor will co-star in the recurring role as Pastor Donald Turner in the Amazon Studios/ Netflix spin-off comedy series, “A League of Their Own.” The new comedy series is the spinoff the original Penny Marshall feature film, “A League of Their Own. Production is now complete for this project.

He is also scheduled to hit the big screen in the highly anticipated “SHIRLEY,” a feature film highlighting the life and presidential campaign of Shirley Chisholm. Ash-Shakoor will play legendary James Farmer, Chisholm’s opposing candidate.

“You may remember James Farmer as one of the students from the popular Wiley College debate team, for which the movie “The Great Debaters” was created starting Denzel Walker,” Ash-Shakoor noted.

Shirley Chisholm will be played by Oscar Award winner Regina King. The film is directed by Oscar Award winning director John Ridley.

At the present, SHIRLEY is set for a late 2022 to early 2023 release date. The film is now in post production.

Born on May 6, 1970 in Murfreesboro to the now late Melvin Lee Liverman and Evangeline Gatling Moore, who later married Henry Lee Moore, Aqeel attended Murfreesboro High School and was a graduate of the final class there (1988) prior to the consolidation of both Ahoskie and Murfreesboro High Schools. Aqeel played baseball, basketball, and football all four years.

His paternal grandparents are the late Gealone and Clara (Walton) Liverman of Murfreesboro, and his maternal grandparents are the late Willie and Naomi Gatling of Mapleton.

After high school, he joined the United States Marine Corps and continued playing football as a strong safety for three years of his Marine Corps career. He served as a United States Marine Security Guard at the US Embassies of Bonn, Germany; Havana, Cuba (US Interest Section); and the US Embassy Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He was honorably discharged from the United States Marine Corps as a Gulf War Veteran at the rank of Staff Sergeant.

After relocating his family and himself back in Hertford County in July 2000, Ash-Shakoor begin working as a Deputy Sheriff for the Hertford County Sheriff’s Office for the next seven years before returning to college to earn his Bachelors of Science Degree in Business Administration from Saint Paul’s College in Lawrenceville, VA and then earning his Masters of Science Degree in Criminal Justice from Everest University in Tampa, FL.

He would then go onto work as a Drug Court Probation & Parole Officer in the Norfolk, VA Probation and Parole Office.

In 2010, Ash-Shakoor returned to North Carolina, employed by the Bertie County Probation and Parole Office.

Shortly after relocating to Lansing, MI in 2013, he and his wife graduated and received their Doctorate Degrees in Ministry from the Chaplaincy International Canadian Association (C.I.C.A.) University & Seminary, Houston, TX. They were appointed Ambassadors At-Large to the United Nations, and planted their church ministry, Walking With Christ Worship Center.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

email author More by Cal