Cancer Survivor, Actor, Writer, Producer & Singer Paul Anthony of Full Force Is Too Beefy to Contain into One Package!
As a Founding Member of the legendary and Grammy award-winning R&B Hip Hop group Full Force, Paul Anthony is also an accomplished actor.
As a producer, songwriter, and vocalist, Paul Anthony has worked with celebrities like Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam, UTFO, James Brown, Black Eyed Peas, Bob Dylan, Justin Timberlake, Rihanna, Selena, Nicki Minaj, and Patti Labelle. As an actor, he has starred in movies such as "House Party," "House Party 2," and "Krush Groove."
He's been in the entertainment business for over 30 years as a member of Full Force, the legendary R&B hip-hop group. The group was formed by Paul Anthony, Lou George Jr. (Bowlegged Lou), Brian George (B-Fine), and cousins Gerard Charles (Baby Gerry), Curtis Bedeau (Curt-t-t), and J.R. Clarke (Shy Shy). The following is what we discussed.
Paul Anthony, firstly, thank you. Speaking to such a unique and talented man as yourself is an honor. I'm genuinely grateful. You're welcome.
Where are you located? The East Coast, but right now, I am in the Poconos.
Awesome! Paul, you're such a dynamic and multi-talented man that I don't know how to compress all your awesomeness into a short interview. Nevertheless, I'll take a shot at it. I like that. I might have to put that in a song. (laughs)
That's a brilliant idea! Whatever you decide to do, I'm sure it will be just as successful as you've always been in everything you've done. Knowing where you came from will help us better understand where you are today. Sounds good. I was born and raised in Bedford, Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, East Flatbush, New York, with my two brothers, Brian "B-Fine" George and Lucien "Bowlegged Lou" George Jr.
Because you are so multi-diverse in your talents, which came first for you acting, singing, or producing? Firstly, my dad, Lucian Senior, always taught us that a singer is an actor. Therefore, many of my gifts synchronized their movements through music. For example, when we were children, we performed plays for our family in the living room of our home.
The first person to recognize my vocal abilities was my dad, who heard me sing a Smokey Robinson song in the shower. I was around ten years old at the time.
When he heard the melody and vibrato in my voice, he said to my mom, "Anthony can sing!" After that, I was outside, standing on an upside-down metal garbage can, singing and performing for people as they watched.
My brothers watched me through the upstairs window. Later, my dad taught them how to sing. That’s how I started singing. As far as I can remember, it was always in my blood.
So, if you want to find me, I'll either be in the gym or vocal both. It’s either one of the two.
Awesome! Love it! It's a great thing when you recognize your purpose and not only recognize it but walk in it. We have all seen so many diverse expressions of your creative and artistic abilities; I'm curious to know, do you play any musical instruments? I do not play an instrument. However, I have always considered my voice to be my instrument. Although I cannot read or write music, I have always had a highly developed ear for it.
In your youth, what did people observe about you that convinced them that you would one day be special in this field? No question, the singing and the performing on stage gave people the feeling that we all would be successful one day. When I was 12, and Lou was 13, we performed at the Apollo Theater. We did 21 shows, and you could feel the energy right then. Regarding myself, it was always the voice. Additionally, back then and even now in my professional career, I was the guy who was courageous enough to say the things that others shouldn't, wear the things that others couldn't, and do the things that others wouldn't. I was always that guy. Moreover, I was known for my voice and my extroverted character.
You have told us about how your beautiful voice and acting ability were discovered, and we have even heard a bit about the roads you traveled in your independent journey; now, we would like to know what launched your career to stardom. We performed at local clubs in Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx, Manhattan, and New Jersey. Pretty much any club that would have us, we performed in shows, getting our name out there.
Back in the day, before we discovered the artists we managed, we cruised around the neighborhood in Kurt's father's Buick Electric 225 car with a bullhorn. We scotch-taped our photos all over the vehicle while rolling through all five boroughs saying, "Full Force is back!" Mind you, full force never went anywhere. We just said that. (laughs)
Hilarious! Great marketing strategy. So different from today, where everything is done digitally with the click of a button. Back then, you had to do footwork and go outdoors to market yourself. Most young people don't know anything about that kind of hustle, but that's the kind of hustle it took to get recognized by a label back then. Yes, amongst the most effective ways we promoted ourselves were by performing in multiple shows, frequently getting out there into the community, and making our presence known regarding who we were and what we did.
Excellent! Love it! Paul, how did "Full Force" get signed to a label? Our efforts went on and on after we joined forces with our cousins, Curt "Curt-t-t-" Bedeau, "Baby Gerry" C. Charles, and Junior "Shy Shy" Clarke. My brother Lou had a college friend, "Steve Salem," who later became our co-manager, had an idea. He told us," You guys are way ahead of your time because you're dressed like rockers, but you got a hip-hop attitude with a pop sensibility; maybe you should produce an act.” Because our uniqueness has always been our goal, our dancers, “Keystone Kids,” we took them and created, “UTFO,” and that’s how “UTFO” was born.
We then co-wrote and produced a song called "Roxanne Roxanne," which was one of the first big hip-hop hits, and it's recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records.
After that, my younger brother, "B," came up with an idea. Because there needed to be more Latino representation in the music business, we purposely sought out a Spanish girl to fill that gap. Mike Hughes, who worked with us, met this young lady named "Lisa," and brought her to us. We auditioned her and evaluated her voice, style, and appearance. She passed the audition, and that's how "Lisa Lisa" was born.
Then we got Alex "Spanador" Moseley and drummer/keyboardist Mike Hughes and put together "Cult Jam." Ultimately, we put them together, and that's how "Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam" were born.
When we brought out Lisa, we were the ones that gave birth to freestyle dance music. Before that, there was nothing like that. That was "Full Force and Lisa Lisa." Before Lisa, there was no Gloria Estefan, Menudo, or Jennifer Lopez; Nobody. So, we opened those doors. Then, there was a bidding war between Colombia Records and Warner Brothers with the guys who created "Roxanne Roxanne" and "Lisa Lisa." That's how it all happened.
It's a wonderful story; what a remarkable journey! Thanks for sharing that part of your history. You guys are indeed trailblazers and legendary. Besides the artists you mentioned earlier, who are some other artists you've worked with over the years? I would have to begin with the other members of our Full Force family, Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam, and then UTFO. We also worked with Cheryl Pepsi Riley. We wrote a song for her that was a huge hit, "Thanks for My Child."
We had another group, "Ex-Girlfriend." They were also a part of the full-force family. Apart from that, I've worked with the godfather soul, James Brown. As a matter of fact, "Full Force" was the only one to produce an entire album on James Brown. That was a labor of love, and I couldn't believe it.
I've also worked with Rihanna, Bob Dylan, Patti LaBelle, Earth, wind and Fire, Lil' Kim, Nicki Minaj, Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, Method Man, The Backstreet Boys, Allure, Joe, LeVert, 112, Genuine, Montel, Shanice Wilson, and The Black Eyed Peas. As well as the artist mentioned, I have worked with many others.
Paul, how will I condense all your achievements into a short interview? Is it even humanly possible to do so? What a talented man you are! Thank you. I appreciate you appreciate it.
You're welcome. Let's shift over to the wonderful world of film and TV. Besides all your musical and production skills, you also got involved in acting, not just acting, but acting in a role that put you center stage on the big screen. Please tell me how all of that came about. My first film as a big-screen movie actor was "Krush Groove," loosely based on Russell Simmons' life. During that time, our late, great commander, Steve Salem, shared an office with Russell Simmons, so we were all like a pack. We were there, including Run DMC, LL Cool J, and The Backstreet Boys. We were a family. We were separate from them, but it was all very cool. Therefore, one of our biggest hits was a song we co-wrote for Curtis Blow called "Basketball," which is still played today. Initially, that's how we got into film. The times were exciting back then.
What role did Full Forces' unique style of dressing play in the success of your acting career? Because we dressed like rockers but maintained our Brooklyn attitude, Russell Simmons approached us and told us he needed us to play the bullies in "Krush Groove." In one of the scenes in the movie, we beat up actor "Blair Underwood" in the elevator. He played my little brother, Rusell Walker, in the film. That's how we were cast in "Krush Groove" as bullies.
So, it was an easy progression for us because, as I mentioned earlier, my dad always said a singer is an actor, so we just became the role. I tell artists, whether established or new, when you sing a song, don't just sing it, but become the song. That's what I do.
Whatever I write, I metamorphize into that role. If there's a video I'm doing with a young lady, I first check if they are single because I don’t need any problems. I don't just sing the song; I become the song, OK. (laughs) I want to ensure that the coast is clear from the beginning so that we can work uninterrupted and without distractions.
Back to “Krush Groove,” doing that movie was a labor of love. Lou did a movie called “Who’s The Man” with Ed Lover and Dr. Dre. A friend of ours who's also our co-producer, Robert Ford, knew a friend of his who went to Howard University and was working on the script that garnered much interest. But, in the script, in parentheses, he said, “The bullies are three muscle-bound, Jheri curl-wearing guys like Full Force.
So, my man said, "Well, why don't you just get Full Force?" Then the other guy said," Yeah, right." Then my man said, "Those are my guys; I know them." The other guy said, "Really?"
So, I got a phone call one day from my now dear life brother, Reginald Alan Hudlin. He was a little nervous, but he said, "Hey man, my name is Reggie, and I got this script called House Party, and Robert said he knew you guys." I then intervened and said, "Reggie, say no more. Send it over, and I will check it out." Our attitude is always, you never know.
He sent it over, and I read around twenty to thirty pages of the script and noticed that our part came in at the beginning of the Movie. So I was excited about that! I thought it was awesome! I immediately sent it to Lou because he always wrote our skits when we were younger. After he read the script, he called me and said, "Yō, we can rock this man! We have to change a couple of things, but we can rock this!" He said, "Since you and Paul workout, they have you as peewee, so I'll switch places with you, and I'll be peewee. And I'm going to talk like this throughout the Movie, and that's how we're going to do it." (Paul temporarily speaks a baby voice) So, that's what we did. Every line of ours in that Movie was rewritten.
What did they say about you rewriting the lines? They said, "Keep it!"
So, you guys are also scriptwriters! Yes, all the iconic lines you hear us say in House Party, we came up with those lines and made them up on the spot. Those lines have now become part of hip-hop lore, and I'm excited to live forever through that.
You and your family have so many talents. What an incredible achievement! As a physically fit person, have you competed in fitness competitions, and do you train? Throughout my career in fitness, I have helped train many professional athletes and inspired millions in the fitness and bodybuilding communities.
I'm also credited with being the first one to bring bodybuilding and fitness training into the R&B and hip-hop world. Full Force collectively. My brother Curt works out too. Although he was always in shape naturally, I was the one that put it in your face.
I was in videos curling and bench-pressing girls, even in my concerts. I'm known for stripping down to my bikini briefs and doing bodybuilding poses on stage.
I recently ran into some Hall of Famer professional athletes, and they expressed how they were blessed to meet me," When I was ten, I saw you, and you started my life!"
I have received so much admiration and appreciation from famous actors, basketball players, and football players. Inspiring people and touching lives is an incredible feeling. It's another way of living forever.
Fitness is essential to caring for the magnificent bodies God has created. Staying fit mentally, spiritually, and physically is necessary to keep a healthy, functioning body. Paul, you are a man of many talents and have accomplished so much! Out of all your fantastic achievements, what would you say is your greatest accomplishment? Both personally and professionally, there are so many. On a personal level, performing on the streets of Bedford-Stuyvesant and professionally, making a great career in music and production, and being revered as legend's in this field.
Also, I’ve been blessed to work with so many artists that we have admired and looked up to throughout our life, one being James Brown. As aforementioned, working with "the godfather of soul," James Brown, was a significant accomplishment knowing that no one's ever done an entire album with him. James Brown opened many doors for so many artists. He was the first original rapper and an activist who used his platform well. He was the ultimate entertainer.
I'll never forget when we walked up to the elevator and saw James Brown. My group said, Paul, you meet him. He stepped off that elevator with a three-piece, double-breasted pinstripe suit and round platform shoes with a horseshoe in the front. He had on a multicolored ascot with a gold ring. He had a blue shirt with an extended lapel and pink wide-rimmed glasses. He also had black motorcycle gloves with the knuckles out. His hair was fried, dyed, and laid to the side with a full-length fur coat that extended to the floor. I'm talking about a legend! I remember it like it was yesterday. When I saw him, I said, Mr. Brown, everyone from Mick Jagger to Prince Michael has lifted from you. All I ask is that you believe in us because we believe in you. We're going to put you right back out there."
We talked a little while, and then he said, "Look here, I think I love you, and I'm gonna love you like my sons. We gonna get this going on, and we ain't gonna stop. We gonna make it a winner." I said, thank you, Mr. Brown."
So, that was the pinnacle of my success. And of course, when they had record stores, you could walk into "Tower Records" to see "the godfather of soul," Mr. Dynamites Greatest Fifty Hits, which included, Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag, Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Proud, Mother Popcorn and the 50th song, I see Static, 1 & 2. All I could say after that was, "There is a God!" Out of all the things I've accomplished, meeting and working with James Brown was the crown jewel of my success.
But there's been so many great things that have happened, from being in House Party to creating acts and songs for an unknown pop group, The Backstreet Boys, and two years later, while in the Meadowlands watching 60,000 people singing songs that we wrote in our basement. There are many moments like that. Those were undoubtedly some of my greatest professional moments.
Personally, I would have to say beating cancer three times is my greatest accomplishment. When you're diagnosed with cancer three times, and all the complications that arise because of it, most people don't survive, but I did. Because of that, I consider myself a champion of cancer. To go through all that and still look sexy, stop playing with me! (laughs)
How awesome is that! I give God all the glory for what He has done in your life. Your life must have been incredibly challenging during that period of history, but through God’s grace, you survived it and could use your strength, peace, courage, and faith in God to serve His purposes. I see that God is already using you in that way, as you are already encouraging and supporting those experiencing the same challenges you did. I love it! Yes, at this point in my life, my music is the gift, and living life is my love, but the purpose is how can we continue to touch, change and save lives? That's my purpose. That's my promise to Him. When I talk to God, I speak from my heart and remind Him of His promises to me while reaffirming my promise to Him. I speak to Him in my own special way.
I am glad to hear you recognize how God brought you through your trials and reflect on what God has done in your life. If you could change a past decision, what would it be? Sometimes our choices. If I could change anything, it would be the times we let our egos get in our way. We were hot and had great success with many groups, but a producer was hotter than us, Max Martin. He was a great guy! We were both signed to “Jive Records.” Well, NSYNC was about to record their next album. We were on their first album, Diamond. So, Clive Calder, who owned Jive Records, came to us and told us that we were fantastic, he loved us, and that we were part of the family, but he wanted Max to produce NSYNC’s next album with us. He told us we could keep our publishing, but he wanted us to produce the album together.
Unfortunately, our ego got in the way, and we took offense to that; we were like, “Excuse you?” In hindsight, it would have been nice to have an album produced by Max Martin and Full Force. After all, we still kept our publishing. Nevertheless, our egos got in the way of a great opportunity.
That song is still in our Dat and Tape machine, doing nothing. We kissed away probably around $11 million because of our egos. If I could go back and change any one of the decisions I made in the past, that would be the one decision that I would reverse.
We can all look back and pinpoint the lessons and the blessings that have shaped our lives. However, those who learn from them are the ones who triumph and grow to their full potential. It's sometimes the trials that we go through that make us the best versions of ourselves. What would you say to those going through challenging situations or maybe even an incurable disease such as cancer to encourage them? I would tell them that life brings challenges, and I believe He brings His toughest battles to His toughest warriors. That would be the main thing to keep in mind.
Sometimes you have to go through the get-through. So, I would say that it would be highly beneficial to those dealing with any sickness to change many things. Change how you eat, sleep, and rest, and some people you hang around. Toxicity can come in many forms. I did many natural things like acupuncture, circular breathing, and herbs. I did these things before I began chemo because, in my mind, I was protecting myself from the side effects of chemo more than the cancer itself. To me, placebo's medicine. Whatever the mind can manufacture, the body will follow by the spirit. I've always advocated for the mind, body, and spirit connection. So it was easy for me to say, OK, I got this.
My interpretation was, "OK, you know, God, I think I know what you're doing; you're preparing me for my next season." It is sometimes necessary to endure challenges to find your strength, and I am equipped to handle them. Now, if the same thing happened to me to my brothers, I would have been a basket case because I've never been a guy on the sidelines. I've always been at the tip of the sword. So, because it was me, I was like, "Let's dance."
I worked out before every treatment. They even have photos of me doing chin-ups on my door. And although I was required to do only 12 laps around the floor with my IV pole, I went above and beyond and did 22.
When my doctor asked why I would push myself to go above and beyond, I told him that twelve is ordinary, and I've never been ordinary; I've always been extraordinary.
Whenever I would work out in the gym, I did extra, and when I got my bachelor's, I studied harder and put in extra hours. Then, I told my doctor I would do extra laps because I moved a God of increase. So, when they would see me, they witnessed me going above and beyond in my workout routine, bopping out, blocking, and doing my thing.
Then, I would tie that yellow gown around my neck like Batman while wearing gym gloves, rocking and saying, "What's up? Y'all know me," even when 3rd cancer that came was leukemia.
What kind of cancer was the third one? It was acute myeloid leukemia. My doctor friend told me that at that very moment, I was fighting for my life. My response to him was, "Well, doc, you're not looking close enough because if you look closer, you will see my crown of glory because I'm different and special." I went on to say, "Hurry up and do what you're going to do. So that God and I can do what we're going to do because He has things for me to do. I would flip it like that. That's what I would say to my doctors whenever they would try to bring me negative news.
Throughout the entire process, I knew when He brought me through it; I would have things to do, people to touch, and a testimony to share with others like I'm sharing with you today.
Philippians 4:13 of the King James version Bible says," I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Also, another scripture from the same source says, in Philippians 4:8, "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." Well done. You did this exact thing, and you came out on the other side. I believe one of your purposes in being there was to encourage those suffering from the disease today and even those on the medical staff. That's awesome! Yeah, that's exactly right.
NEW Single, The Legend Paul Anthony - Rest Of My Life
So, God healed your body and brought you through cancer three times over, and now you're back bigger, better, and stronger than ever. What's next on the agenda of Paul Anthony? Well, I just moved into a space where along with making music with my brothers, I want to do my own thing. Sometimes you have to individualize and capitalize, and I do that through the "Paul Anthony Cancer Champion Foundation" and my music. I'm excited about my solo songs.
Awesome! Tell me about that. The first single I released is "Ready to Learn Your Love," and I have a duet out with a wonderful songstress and singer, Shalea Vintage, called "The Rest Of My Life," and they are both great songs!
I'm just focusing on our women, lionesses, and Queens. I always try to do that. In fact, I produced a play not too long ago called "Dancing Is My Soul" based on domestic violence.
Other notable mentions are that I do speaking engagements, am working on my book, and was recently given an honorary doctorate in philosophy humanitarianism. I'm trying to get used to people calling me "Dr. Anthony."
Well, look at you, Dr. Anthony! What an honor, indeed! As I said at the beginning of the interview, there's not enough time to get all your amazingness and one interview, but we did our best to get at least some of it. You're so inspiring. Dr. Anthony, I want to speak out of context for a minute and return to your film career. Will we see you on television or on the big screen anytime soon? It's funny that you asked me that question because I just finished the whole presentation for the full-force documentary a few hours ago. I think I've secured the funding, so we will be doing the Full Force documentary, which will be amazing and "all that!"
When can we expect to see it? Well, I'm timing everything with the book's release. Also, I will be doing some more acting because I also love doing that. You're right on point.
Oh, that would be great! You know I would love to see you in the next Wakanda movie. I can also see you in roles that reflect your more serious side. For example, you would be super amazing in action-packed dramas and science fiction films, like Star Wars or Star Track, or you could produce the next movie like Thunderdome 2. You guys are so unique; you can play those types of roles and even create those types of films where the characters are dressed in creative science-fiction fantasy-like costumes. Either way, you would consider a character that differs from what we've seen you portray before. It would be fun to see you in a different type of role. I know your fans would love to see you in movies again because I believe that you are more than capable of producing grandiose films. You can do that because you rock everything you do! I so want to see you at that film this weekend. (laughs) I'm all geeked up for it now. (laughs) I'll wait. (laughs) Oh yeah, come on now. You already know. I'm ready to fight.
Awesome! That's what I want to hear! Now, fast forward back over to the music again. I'm going to give my readers whiplash, flipping back and forth. They must think I'm mad. (laughs) But I have to ask, are you planning to do any touring soon, or are you touring now? Yes, both with my brothers and individually. We have a number of shows coming up. I recently performed at a fashion show, "Miguel Wilson's Black-Tie Experience," which was a beautiful event. The Queen of Hearts in Atlanta, Ethel Buckholt, also honored me again. She's a wonderful woman who recognized what I was doing. So, she will be honoring me, but I will be doing a number of speaking engagements and touring as well. So yes, they'll be shows, speaking engagements, and real men and Women's Health enrichment speaking. I will do it well, and I'm going all out!
That's going to be amazing! I look forward to seeing all the things God will do in your life in the coming years. In closing, what would you like to say to inspire and encourage those starting in this entertainment business? Leave nothing on the table of life. Enjoy everything because tomorrow is not promised to anyone. I don't invest in "would Of's, could Of's or should haves." My model is, believe it, know it, and do it. So, whatever inspires you, you can follow your dream while getting an education and pursuing your career. Don't put limitations on yourself because there are no limits. The information is out there, and there are so many ways available to you today to get your music and your gift out there to be seen, but you must be activated. Some people watch things happen, and others make things happen, but you should do both, make it happen, and be active. That's the best advice I can give to everyone.
That is an excellent word to hang on to. I want to tell you once again, thank you so much. It is a complete honor and a privilege to interview someone as extraordinary as you are. My prayer for you is that God will continue to bless the works of your hands, be it done according to His will for your life. I also pray that God will protect you and keep you and your beautiful family safe and healthy while traveling on your journey. Last, I want you to know how proud I am that despite everything the enemy tried to do in order to discourage you from living out the rest of your life victoriously, you chose to fight by walking in faith and trusting God throughout the process. You are and will continue to be an inspiration to so many people. I'm sure you already know there is much more to do. And lastly, you owe me an action Thunderdome Sci-Fi type film. (laughs) God bless you! Thank you.
End of Interview With Paul Anthony
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Words of inspiration posted by The Indie Post, written within ( The New American Standard Version Bible Verse) and are not the interviewee's words.
"John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but so that the world might be saved through Him."
"Romans 10:9-13 9 [f]that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10for with the heart a person believes, [g]resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, [h]resulting in salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE [i]PUT TO SHAME.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; 13for “EVERYONE WHO CALLS ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.”