LaRoyce Hawkins: A Voice for the Culture

(Photo by Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images)

It seems like cop shows are a dime a dozen nowadays. You have NYPD this, Code Blue that, Swat, etc, but NBC’s “Chicago P.D.” beats to a different drum. That’s mainly because of its cast. It’s cast like Chicago: a little bit of hip-hop, a little thug and rachet, but all heart.

One of the standouts in the cast is Officer Kevin Atwater, played by LaRoyce Hawkins. Even though he’s a cop, Atwater lives in a predominantly African-American neighborhood suburb where gun violence is real. It’s because of that, he can flip the script, talk a good game while still standing up for what’s right.

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“I’m grateful to be that voice to speak for both cultures,” Hawkins told the Chicago Tribune, “the black culture and the cop culture.”

So who is LaRoyce Hawkins? This handsome star was born and raised in Harvey, Illinois, a southern suburb of Chicago. While Hawkins was growing up he lived with his grandparents until he was 13 and he credits them with shaping his life and the lives of his siblings.

Hawkins attended Thornton High School, where he was recruited to play basketball. His grandfather’s advice of “choose what makes you feel better,” stuck with him, so Hawkins left the basketball team sophomore year when it felt right and joined the speech team. It was there where he caught a glimpse of his calling and became a two-time state champion in comedy speech writing and received awards twice from the Illinois High Speech Association: for “original comedy” in his junior year and for “humorous acting duet” in his senior year.

“When they told me the character could be from Harvey? That was the most valuable gift they could give me as an actor because then I knew exactly who he was. I’m from Harvey myself. I grew up with…