The performing arts can often feel daunting for anyone looking from the outside in. The highly exclusive guilds and clubs and overwhelming standards can make any newcomer or aspiring actor feel out of place. Performer and acting coach Nakia Dillard is out to challenge that status quo and make the world of performing arts more accessible to anyone aspiring for a place in the world of performance.
Nakia is a top-notch actor, director, and casting director who hails from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He also runs the Aikan Performing Arts Center, an acting training center for youth and adults. The training center builds on a safe, fun, and friendly culture. Since its beginnings in 2009, Aikan Performing Arts has trained over 1,000 students and workshop participants from the Philadelphia area and beyond.
Aikan Performing Arts Center began through the efforts of Nakia and his mother, Gloria Dillard. “Aikan” is Nakia spelled backwards, and he established it in 2013. In 2019, partnering with board member Wajid “Shakez” Jemmott of PR with No Ego’s, the training company expanded into online classes, which came as a blessing disguise during the COVID-19 pandemic. Even as the crisis rages on, programs continue in a virtual setting as more and more students have signed up for their virtual courses. With the help of Wajid Jemmott, the company was able to increase the number of virtual students during the crisis.
Wajid, a public relations and entertainment business professional, has had his fair share of experience in film himself, working on films like “Redemption” as one of the producers and “Nork” as part of the production crew.
As a coach and acting teacher, Nakia Dillard is nothing short of world-class. He has worked with anyone from beginners to Hollywood-level actors, training them to level up their acting prowess and increase their chances of getting into films and shows. Recently, Nakia worked with celebrity Idris Elba as a speech and dialect coach for the film “Concrete Cowboys,” which features other Aikan act students as well. Nakia has also helped train upcoming film writers, such as Al Miller from Moon Brawl Motion Pictures, a company working on the 2021 feature film, “Nork,” which will also feature Nakia Dillard as one of the actors.
Nakia also plays a controversial role in a film directed and produced by Ms. Angela White called “Hands Up” which has already won Best Narrative Short in the L.A. Film Awards 2020 with Silver Lining Entertainment. Nakia is also playing the lead role of famous motivational speaker “Les Brown” due for future release under Barrington Films.
Nakia also has his fair share of screen work. One of his most notable roles is playing Terrence Long, a father searching for his missing daughter, in the CW television series “Black Lightning.” He also played a role in the short film, “The Negro Zone,” a comedy about stereotyping African American men.
He has reprised various acting roles and helped his students get professional acting jobs as well. Aikan actors have appeared on various commercials, television shows, and films that have appeared on YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and many other platforms.
To the acting coach and instructor Nakia, his work goes beyond just teaching acting. By heart, Nakia Dillard considers himself first a philanthropist. He is generous and never holds back on giving his students the best training possible. Apart from acting classes, Nakia hosts financial investing workshops for actors with Calvin Cannon Jr., a financial investment coach. The finance guru teaches people financial literacy principles and basic real estate, credit building, and wealth management.
After twenty-five years in the performing arts industry, Nakia Dillard still has so much more to offer. He hopes to expand his influence and help aspiring actors achieve their dreams of turning their passion into a profession. The acting coach also looks forward to practicing what he preaches and reprising more roles for major productions. His next upcoming project will be another film, which will start production in 2021. The film is called “Nork,” written by Al Miller.