Anthony Alabi: From Football to “Family Reunion”
From football fields to production sets, former football player, Anthony Alabi can be found tackling the new Netflix series, “Family Reunion” staring Tia Mowry-Hardrict. As we know, family reunions can be funny, hectic and entertaining. Portraying the fun yet disciplined dad, Moz, Alabi claims he is similar to the character he plays in many ways. We sat down with the father of two daughters to talk about being a dad, on screen and off screen.
Congrats on your role as the character, Moz in the new show, Family Reunion. Can you tell us a little about the show?
Thank you! Yes. Family Reunion is a new Netflix multi-cam comedy centered around the McKellen family. After playing 15 years in the NFL, my wife Coco and I decide to retire and move the family from Seattle to Georgia, in order to be closer to extended family and get back in touch with our roots. Seattle being Seattle and Georgia being Georgia, we were destined to have a lot of comedic conflict.
You’ve acted in many TV series, what makes this series special?
Well, for me personally, this is my first series as a lead. Because of that, it is and always will be special to me. As a show, it is the first all-black writer’s room, which is something special in and of itself. I think the fans will find that nostalgia of family comedies from the 90s. We lean into themes and references that are relatable and on the pulse of black culture.
Why do you think having an all-black writer’s room is important for the authenticity of the show?
I think an all-black writer’s room allows the show to be written in a way that is authentic to us. Meaning the show comes from a place where we are portraying black culture the way we see it and not a filtered version of it.
Do you feel like you can relate to the character that you play? If so, in which ways?
Haha! Moz and I are pretty similar in a lot of ways. Both played professional football. Both are fathers and we are both big kids at heart. I think we approach life in the same way with a lot of fun, discipline, and being exactly what we need to be when the situation calls for it.
How old are your children?
My daughter is two-and-a-half. My son will be one this June.
Even though your kids are younger in real life, your character is the dad to teen/tweens. What are you learning from your character and anticipating for your future when your kids grow up?
Great question. It is an amazing resource. I get a lot of advice from the writers, who have older kids, so when I get to implement them in the scenes they write, it helps. Now hopefully I’ll have a game plan for my kids as they get older. Will it work? Ask me in a few years.
If you could give your kids one piece of advice to take with them throughout life, what would it be?
Work (from a hustle standpoint) solves everything and don’t underestimate happiness.
Family reunions can be fun. Do you have any interesting stories of a family gathering you attended?
Oh man. There have been a few good ones, but we all know how crazy family can get, so I’ll save you the details. Let’s just say family reunion the show, gets it right.
Family reunions are all about connecting to your roots. How important is that for your own family?
That’s something very important to me. As the son of a Nigerian father and a Puerto Rican mother, I grew up with a lot of culture. My parents were all about making sure I knew exactly who I was and where I came from. That’s carried over to my own children. My wife is Irish/Italian, so she grew up the same way. When we decided to have kids, we knew two things: 1) They would know all about the history of where they came from and 2) the food was going to be really good!
It can get busy being a working parent. What do you do with your children when you get a chance? Also, how important is it for you to dedicate alone time with your kids?
Quality time with my kids is something I seek out as much as I can. It’s very important. Between filming and other responsibilities, I find that there are days when I don’t see them. I make sure that when I have time off or a half day, I spend it with them. In my house, we have a play area for the kids. I’ve spent hours in there with them rolling around, playing, and dancing to “Baby Shark,” the “Ferdinand” soundtrack, or the intro song to “Spirit Riding Free.”
Will you and your family be spending quality time watching Family Reunion? Also, do your kids think you’re a cool dad for starring in show?
Of course! My kids are still babies, so they won’t understand the show. When my daughter sees me on TV she yells “Dada show!!!” I’m sure with Family Reunion releasing soon, we’re about to hear that a lot.
Family Reunion is releasing on July 10 on Netflix.