Frequently asked questions

The About Me page does a good job of summarizing my life leading up to acting, but this section is meant to address the questions that might come to mind when you meet me and help give you a better feel for my personality. 

How do you pronounce your name

It's like jam, but with an S. Sjam.

Could I get that answer hold the sass?

Kuh-bed-uh. Handy mneumonic: it sounds like you better believe it

Person: Really?

Sam: Kebede believe it!

has anyone told you that you look like a young obama?

I've gotten Barack, Malcolm X, Arsenio Hall, Arthur Ashe, and Michael Jackson.

michael jackson?

You know which version.

Where are you from?

I was born and raised in Southern California, but my parents are both immigrants from Ethiopia. They came separately though. My mom pretended to be my Aunt's daughter to get into America at 17. She started in Texas and eventually moved to LA. My dad was on a scholarship to go to school in the (then) Soviet Union where he studied biomedical engineering. He was supposed to come back to Ethiopia, but he fled across Cold War Europe and eventually applied for political asylum in Italy to gain entry into the U.S.

Your parents must be really cool.

They used to be, now they're just regular old immigrants who overcompensate for their accent and culture by listening to country music and eating apple pie. I've listened to more Conway Twitty than I'd like to admit.

Do you speak your parent's language?

I can understand Amharic (the main language of Ethiopia), but when I speak I have a very american accent so I usually just respond to my parents in English. 

I can speak Japanese though!

So you're an Actor/writer/comedian/scientist?

You're not gonna ask about the Japanese thing? Fine.

Yeah, I hold a few hats. The actor and scientist parts are pretty obvious if you've read my About Me page. As for the writer part, I've spent a lot of Grad school writing plays that I plan on producing over the next few years. I've written a one person show about the South Side of Chicago, a Kafka adaptation, a play about BLM vs. All Lives Matter, and a comedy webseries about black actors. As for Comedian, I have a 30 minute stand up set that I've broken apart for open mic nights, As I start to develop my act, I will start to put up more videos of my stand up on this site. 

Why write a play about the South Side?

When they released the video of Laquan McDonald being shot by the police, I was mortified. I expected huge waves of change and protest, and there were some things that happened, but it was all so momentary. After a few months no one cared any more. I thought about why this happened, and I came to the conclusion that a screen isn't close enough. Human interaction is the corner stone of progress, so I packed my bags and went to Chicago. This led to the scariest and most enriching time of my life as I spent my days and nights on the south side during the bloodiest summer in decades.

I'm currently in the process of booking shows and collecting donations for resources on the South Side like better schools, community centers, and job training centers. 

What are your goals as an artist?

The same as when I was a kid, I want to heal minds. 

Can I touch your hair?