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Actor and poet Omari Latif Hardwick grew up in Decatur, Georgia. His parents gave him a name to set a precedent – “Omari” means “most high,” and “Latif” means “gentle.”

“I, in no way, believe that I am the highest or most high, but I feel like my name gives me something to strive for,” says Omari.

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Growing up, sports were everything to Hardwick, but he still had a passion for the arts. By the age of 14, Hardwick was writing poetry on a regular basis, a passion he would carry with him into adulthood. In high school, he excelled at basketball, baseball, and went on to play college football. Although a star on the field, Hardwick never gave up his passion for acting, and even minored in theater in college.

“I hugely attribute sports to my success in entertainment business,” says Omari. “Being on the field taught me dedication and discipline. I already came from a strict household when I was growing up, and sports just took that to another level. Whenever I approach a set, I always feel as though the cast, crew, director, are all part of a team. I have always married athletics and art, two huge parts of my life.”

After graduating from college, Hardwick relocated to San Diego for a spot on the San Diego Chargers (NFL). However, a knee injury cut his football career short.

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