Ash-Shakoor’s star power grows with latest movie role

Published 4:29 pm Tuesday, March 19, 2024

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A former deputy with the Hertford County Sheriff’s Office continues to make a name for himself as an actor.

Murfreesboro native Aqeel Taahir Ash-Shakoor plays a major role in the movie – “Shirley” – that debuts Friday (March 22) on Netflix.

Aqeel Taahir Ash-Shakoor’s latest venture is a role in the movie “Shirley” – the story of Shirley Chisholm, the nation’s first Black congresswoman who made a bid for U.S. President in 1972.

Oscar winner Regina King plays the role of Chisholm.

Ash-Shakoor portrays James Farmer, a leader in the Civil Rights Movement who served alongside Martin Luther King, Jr., in nonviolent protests to dismantle segregation and organized the first “Freedom Ride” in 1961.

“Shirley” will make its debut on Netflix this Friday (March 22).

The film is written and directed by Oscar winner John Ridley, whose earlier screenplay “12 Years A Slave” earned him an Oscar.

Born on May 6, 1970 in Murfreesboro to the now late

Melvin Lee Liverman and Evangeline Gatling Moore, who later married Henry Lee Moore, Ash-Shakoor 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. He 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, Ash-Shakoor 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 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. His first acting role was in 2010 when he played lead as Jesus Christ in a church play titled, “I’ll Rise Again,” at the C.S. Brown Cultural Arts Center located in Winton.

Since that time, Ash-Shakoor’s movie career began to blossom. He had roles in TV movies “Turn of The Cheek” and “Cain and Abel.”

He later co-starred as Pastor Donald Turner in the Amazon Studios/ Netflix comedy series, “A League of Their Own,” a spinoff of the original Penny Marshall feature film.

He portrayed an NC State Police Officer in the HBO Max Limited Series, “The Staircase” and followed that with an appearance on the big screen with his role in “On Sacred Ground.” It’s a story about a journalist and oil company executive finding themselves on opposite sides of the fight during the construction of the contentious Dakota Access Pipeline that runs through the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North Dakota.

Last year, Ash-Shakoor had roles in two popular TV series: “FBI” and “Law & Order: SVU.”

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.

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