Pooch Hall on Parenting a Daughter with Cerebral Palsy: 'I Want Her to Have as Much Normalcy as Possible'
Hall, who stars in the new TV One drama Media, tells PEOPLE that he has a great support system: "It's crazy how much support I get. ... I've been blessed"
Pooch Hall is a self-proclaimed “family man” — and that commitment is lived out both on and off screen.
Hall’s new movie Media — which premieres on TV One on Saturday — explores the drama and secrets behind a powerful family dynasty. In the film, Hall, 40, plays the hot-headed but protective eldest brother of the powerful Jones family, who is battling the competitive challenges of keeping their status and position in the communications industry.
“My character [Clay Jones] has a little bit of Godfather dynamic, as far as making sure his family is good,” Hall, 40, tells PEOPLE about his role. “The Jones family is about unity, strength, power and understanding how to stay on top. I hope when people watch Media, they walk away with a new definition of what it’s like to be a not so perfect but proud African American.”
Hall says doubling as an actor and living life as a family man with four children — Djanai, 18, Djordan, 8, Djaeda, 10, and Djulian, 14 months — is never easy. “As far as me, being an actor and a family man in this world that we are working in … it’s never going to be easy,” he says.
But when it comes to the parallels between the fictional Jones family and the real-life Hall family, he quips, “Both families aren’t playing around.”
Hall’s eldest daughter, Djanai, has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair. In support of their daughter and other special needs children, Hall and his wife, Linda, created the non-profit inClusion ClubHouse, where children with developmental disabilities can learn and play. Their ClubHouse will include five key spaces, including an arts and crafts “creation station” and a multi-sensory experience room.
“I want my daughter to have as much normalcy as possible. And other parents, who really wish they can have this for their daughter, or son, where they experience and exercise their normalcy in the world that we live in. … It’s real work,” he says about his family’s efforts to support the special needs community.
Hall also shares that he is excited for Djanai to be treated with equality at the ClubHouse. “I think I’m mostly excited about her being equal and her being like, You know what, I’m equal,” Hall explains. “My daughter, Djanai, is not looking at herself as I’m different. She will go, Okay, I’m part of this world and I am equal. She’s not looking at [it] as far as I can’t walk or talk. My daughter is super fun, super dope.”
When the Ray Donovan actor isn’t filming, he says he spends as much time as possible with his family. And the ClubHouse, which is opening soon in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley, will be a new space for focusing on family fun.
He adds that his Media cast has been extremely supportive of his family’s endeavor: “It’s crazy how much support I get. … I’ve been blessed.”
On Sunday, March 5, Hall and his wife will host a Celebrity Karaoke Night in L.A. to benefit their organizations, with proceeds going towards helping them continue offering much-needed programs for children with special needs and towards a building fund to open inClusion ClubHouse.
Media premieres Feb. 25 (8 p.m. ET) on TV One.
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