Former €Wire€ Star Releases Autobiography
Odell B. Ruffin | 9/9/2009, 5:33 p.m.
Seven years ago, Tray Chaney made his debut on the critically acclaimed HBO series €The Wire€ as "Poot," a low-level drug dealer in the inner city projects of Baltimore, Md.
Five seasons and 60 episodes later, €The Wire€ ended in March 2008. Like David Simon, the show€s creator, Chaney also had a story to share about his true-life experiences growing up in Prince George€s County, Md.
Chaney, 28, describes the character that he portrayed on screen as having certain character traits that he exhibited as a teenager and young adult. In his recently released book, €The Truth You Can€t BeTray,€ the actor-turned-author shares his experiences as a young performer at the legendary Apollo Theater in New York, the devastation of losing a child and how a successful acting career has changed his life.
€The book will take readers on a journey of how I started in the entertainment industry. It focuses on the trials and tribulations that I had to face. There is so much crime, violence and negative issues going on -- I just wanted to put something positive out to show people,€ said Chaney, who grew up in Forestville, Md.
Chaney joined the cast of €The Wire,€ a police drama set in Charm City when he was 21. Several years out of high school found him restless and disillusioned. But, one telephone call changed his whole perspective.
€When I got the call for €The Wire,€ I was so excited because things were just going wrong for me. To [audition] and actually get a call back made me feel as if I could go forward and be in the spotlight, like I had always wanted to be. It was terrific,€ Chaney said.
€My life has changed tremendously. I am no longer hanging out with the wrong crowd and wasting my life. I am now striving for my dreams and working hard to be as successful as I can. I€m working to make it to the top,€ he said.
Chaney experienced early career success at the age of eight-years-old when he started to win consecutive Showtime at the Apollo Amateur Night contests in Harlem, N.Y.
€I discovered that he was talented when he was four-years-old. Every time music came on, he would sing and dance. He really took it seriously at such a young age, I thought to myself this is no ordinary kid,€ said Elaine Chaney, the actor€s mother.
But, at 13, Chaney said he was forced to give up his dancing career to focus on his studies. His parents decided that hip-hop and R&B performances would no longer be the priority.
€That crushed my world. Around that time, I transitioned into high school and peer pressure started for me. I became a rebellious child, because I thought that it was a way to get back at my parents for taking my dream away,€ Chaney said.
Chaney attended Forestville High School and graduated in 1999. Though he tried to maintain a 3.50 grade point average, he was pressured into taking drugs and was suspended five times during his senior year. After his parents€ discovered drugs in his father€s car, Chaney was kicked out of their home.
His luck took a turn for the better after he met his future wife, Ayesha Cuthbertson at a popular Northwest nightclub in the District. They married in 2004.
€I knew from the moment we met that he would be my husband. I don€t want to sound corny, but I guess, it was love at first sight,€ she said.
Today, Tray and Ayesha live in Clinton, Md., with their two-year-old son and 16-year-old daughter. Chaney said he wanted the book to appeal to all age groups. €I wanted children of all ages to read this book. I hope they can learn from the wrong things that I did,€ he said.