The entertainment bug may be more of a genetic predisposition. His father Cuba Gooding Sr. is the lead singer in the R&B Soul group Main Ingredient. Gooding’s older brother Cuba Gooding Jr. is an Academy Award winning actor that has a bevy of blockbuster feature films in his resume.
His break happens while doing a favor for his brother. At 10 years old, his brother’s career is fire. While driving and running errands with Cuba, Cuba sends Gooding to pick up a script at his agent’s office. The agent spots Gooding.
“I’m grinning from ear to ear, and she says ‘You got a great smile’”.
The agent ask Gooding if he wants to try acting. With his mother’s permission after some persuasive begging, he goes out on two auditions, and he books his first gig with McGruff the Crime Dog.
“So we were like ‘Alright we booked one out of two. Not bad. Let’s give it a try.’ The rest is history after [McGruff the Crime Dog]. I just got the bug after that.”
A few years later, he lands a regular role on Wild and Crazy Kids. Then, he lands Hangin' with Mr. Cooper. One of the executive producer from Hangin' with Mr. Cooper starts a new series Smart Guy, and he lands that gig too. From his early teens to 22 he’s works consistently on sitcoms.
“My career was non-stop.”
While building a consistent resume on television, John Singleton gives Gooding a call to take a read for Baby Boy. Baby Boy, the coming-of-age conscious drama that tackles masculinity of young men in the hood. A film with gangs, guns, violence, and rape is far from a comedy sitcom. Baby Boy is a shift in Gooding’s career to help round out his acting chops and showcase his versatility as an actor.
“I go out now, and people will say, ‘Man that Baby Boy [character] was so strong the way you portrayed it’. I’ve seen grown men come to tears, and say ‘Bruh you was telling my story.’ That means a lot to me.”
These affirmation makes him happy with his project choices. Since Baby Boy, Gooding has acted in a number of sitcoms and films. He’s happy that his body of work helps people laugh, cry or think. He just wants you to be entertained.
“I’m most proud of my body of work. I try not to compromise. I try not to do something just for the money. I stay selective and picky with the roles that I choose. When someone says ‘Keep up the good work.’ I take that to heart, and that means people are enjoying the choices I’ve made.”