Jahleel Kamara is already well into accumulating an impressive list of credits in film and television guaranteed to help him build toward an even more successful career. The history of child performers in the industry isn’t always a glorious one, but any seasoned observer of these worlds are capable of readily spotting the signs of eventual disaster. There’s none of that here.
It is all the more remarkable because we’re talking about a six-year-old boy. Children are capricious, but a six-year-old’s capriciousness is a far different thing than, let’s say, a 12 year old’s. Jahleel Kamara, however, sparkles with a mix of near-supernatural maturity and the ability to manifest the expected wide-eyed exuberance/innocence of a late toddler. It isn’t a put-on. It’s the real stuff.
His ability to harness it naturally and enlist the camera in his dialogue with the audience is ineffable magic. It has no shape, you can’t slap a label on it, but experienced viewers recognize it when they see it. Others call it charisma. It’s the abiding quality that’s carried Kamara through projects such as the ABC/Hulu production Bammas, a recurring role on ABC’s Manifest, and Disney+’s Rise.
The aforementioned list is partial. Kamara has stayed busy over the last two years, beginning his career at four years old, and is a seasoned professional by any standard of the word. Prodigy isn’t a word one wants to bandy around in jest, and we aren’t in this instance. The title fits, but his gifts are more unique than readily apparent.
He’s a homegrown artist – meaning, in this usage, that Kamara is relatable rather than remote and embodies each role as naturally as breathing. Let’s hope technique never clitters his presentation too much as, even at six years old, Jahleel Kamara has an natural effect that could carry him far.
It has carried him into his latest role opposite veterans such as Kerry Washington, Omar Sy, Mark Strong, Natalia Reyes, and many more in the thriller Shadow Force. Production is underway in Columbia for this Lionsgate production depicting the flight of two former leaders of a multinational special forces group after they refuse to end their love affair and to protect their young son.
It’s a human-interest genre drama with evergreen appeal. It’s an action-adventure nailbiter with a surprisingly contemporary narrative; read the news over the last ten years and the idea of a multinational special forces group isn’t at all farfetched. Jahleel Kamara’s presence in the film will add a great deal to its emotional weight as both his appearance and on-screen gait will reinforce those stress points in the movie’s script.
t’s just one more step into ever-brighter stardom. He’s educating himself about his craft during these formative years, along with enjoying the fruits of childhood, and the lessons learned here will give him the basis he needs to survive into adulthood as a performer. Every sign points to that. He has a long and meaningful run ahead of him, however, before that day arrives, and stands out from the pack in a way few of his peers ever do.