The entertainment business can chew you up and spit you back out if you don’t have a strong sense of who you are as a person. Luckily for Lance Gross, dreaming big has not only afforded him quite the career as an actor but also allowed him to bless his loved ones.

While some people jump at the chance to blow their first big paychecks on themselves, Gross had something different in mind.

He wanted to show his gratitude to the very people responsible for his existence.

His First Big Check

“I sent my mom and my pops to Turks and Caicos,” the “Deuces” actor told AfroTech during the 2023 Essence Festival of Culture, where he was relishing in all the #BlackBoyJoy as an AT&T Dream In Black ambassador.


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What’s more, Gross, who has always been an advocate for historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and graduated from Howard University (Washington, D.C.) with a Bachelor of Arts in theater, opened up about how that community encouraged him to dream big.

Dreaming In Black

“I mean it’s kind of like a village,” he shared. “It’s like my aunties and uncles that want to see me win, so I feel like they instilled the drive and a need to succeed.”

As he celebrated the 50th anniversary of Hip-Hop during the annual event that takes place each summer in New Orleans, LA, Gross also reflected on the current state of technology, specifically as it pertains to artificial intelligence (AI).

The Future Of Entertainment

“It’s… I ain’t gonna lie, it’s scary, just because we’re used to the movies, and AI is taking over, but also, how can I put it, it’s good,” Gross said. “…Because we have access to so much more through AI. Like, we can ask a question and just get a whole run down, so it’s give or take to me.”

As previously reported by AfroTech, the topic of AI’s use within the entertainment industry has picked up steam among creatives from all backgrounds, including music, film, television, and beyond.

While some aren’t necessarily completely closed off to the idea of it being used to make life easier, others, such as Samuel L. Jackson and Ice Cube have made it very clear that they have no desire for the technology to be used to recreate their voice, face, or anything in between.