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The concept of legacy is nothing new to Laz Alonso. The seasoned actor who has starred in films like Jumping The Broom and Just Wright has been forced to think apart from his own financial future from the start of his career. He revealed his first major purchase when Hollywood came calling on the red carpet for the Prudential documentary Legacy Lives On.

“I bought my mom a house,” said the actor. He made the purchase with his check from 2005’s Jarhead. Many would have used their windfall from the popcorn flick to splurge on something selfish, but Alonso had one agenda protecting his mother from falling victim to gun violence.

“This was D.C. in the eighties,” he explained. “My mother used to park her car in this lady’s house, and she rented rooms too.” His mother routinely parked her car at the woman’s home to prevent it from being broken into or stolen at the height of the city’s crack epidemic.

“She went inside and had tea with the old lady every day after work,” he said.

“One day my mother got there and there was police tape around the house. One of the rooms was rented to a drug dealer and one day they came in the house and shot the old lady, the drug dealer and the drug dealer’s kids,” he continued somberly.

“She had stayed at work a little late this one particular day. Otherwise she would have been there at the table.”

Seeing how close his mother had come to losing her life forced Alonso to focus on how money could be a tool to provide for him and his loved ones. “I was like ‘I gotta get my mother out of here. I don’t care how much debt it’s gonna put me in.’”

A consistent fixture on the large and small screens he has used his money to invest in not only real estate but projects that afford him the luxuries accompanied by ownership.  He praised the documentary for offering what he called “practical tips not vague information,” on how to save and invest.  He also expressed a desire to make an “investment in the community,” with the funds from his current projects including an Amazon Prime TV Show called The Boys where he will work with Gabrielle Union and Jessica Alba.

He advises younger actors coming into the industry as streaming services threaten to dismantle traditional business models to do the same. “Create, create create,” he said.  “You should be creating. Your intellectual property is your real estate.”


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For 2024’s iteration of MadameNoire and HelloBeautiful’s annual series Women to Know, we knew we wanted to celebrate the people who help make the joys of film and television possible. To create art is to create magic. This year, we spotlight Hollywood Executive’s changing the face of cinema.