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Roots Run Deep

06/01/2021 04:13 AM By Lisa Anderson
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sean hampton
Sean Hampton
Story by Lisa Anderson • Photos submitted by Sean Hampton

Roots Run Deep

A Legacy Mindset

Being a Hampton in Ocala comes with a lot of expectations, but Sean Hampton appreciates the achievements his family had in the area. His grandmother, Dr. Effie Carol Mitchell, became the first licensed female physician in the state, white or black, in 1906. In 1915, she married Dr. Lee Royal Hampton, Sr., who just happened to be the first black dentist in Ocala. They eventually owned a building in the downtown area which housed both their practices and their pharmacy.

The College of Central Florida was once divided to serve both the white and black populations. According to the college’s About page, Howard Junior College opened in 1958 to serve the black community, but the name was changed shortly thereafter to Hampton Junior College in honor of Sean’s grandpa. Dr. Hampton and Dr. Mitchell-Hampton were big supporters of education in Marion County. The colleges eventually integrated and merged their facilities. Now, Hampton Center serves as the campus’ location for the dental assisting program and the Marion County Dental Clinic.

“My dad came along, and he was a dentist in Ocala for 50 years.” You can hear the admiration in Sean’s voice as he talks about his family history. “I can say their example for me was that you don’t have any excuses for not getting whatever it is you want to get. They could have really easily said, ‘Well, I’m black, I can’t do that, or I’m a woman, I can’t do that.’ But that never came up. I was never brought up with that [mindset] to use my race or position as an excuse.”

Sean never had the privilege of meeting his grandparents — they passed away before he was born — but he has taken their mindset to heart and feels it is the true legacy they left behind.

“Looking back, [Ocala] was a very nice place to grow up. It’s the kind of place you definitely want to raise a family, but probably not really the place a kid wants to grow up in.” Sean laughs as he says this, and his whole face lights up with mirth. “It was a very different place than what it is now. It was a lot smaller of a community back then. And it wasn’t a racist town by any stretch, but it definitely wasn’t as integration-friendly as you would think. There wasn’t a race problem. All of my friends were white, as I went to private school, but looking at the way life is now versus back then, it’s easier to see that, yeah, it wasn’t as progressive as maybe you’d like for it to have been.”

Realizing this doesn’t mar his memories of childhood, but he never saw himself as staying in the area. Even at 10-years-old, Sean had a dream of living in Los Angeles, California. “I felt like I wanted to live in a place that the world would come to, and L.A. felt like the place where the world went.”
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Published July 1, 2021
sean hampton
Sean Hampton
Story by Lisa Anderson • Photos submitted by Sean Hampton

Actor to Producer

The Conclusion of Sean's Story

“My production career has been very interesting,” Sean chuckles.

Sean Hampton cut his teeth on short films and produced several community feature films. He and a friend co-owned a production company for a few years. During this time, they produced a lot of live wrestling events. “That was really interesting, because it took me way out of my comfort zone. I got into that, because my business partner and I did a movie together, and we started the company because of that movie. It introduced me to the stunt performer world.”

Before the movie, Sean hadn’t been around stunt performers. “It was weird. Imagine a five-year-old that can jump off of walls. That’s what a stunt guy is. They really don’t think they can hurt themselves until they actually get hurt.” He covers his face with hands. “As a producer you think, ‘Oh my god, my insurance.’”

The production company was beginning to get some traction, but Sean was tired of being a freelancer. In 2019, he took a position as a producer for The Matt Walsh show at The Daily Wire, a conservative news website and media company founded in 2015 by political commentator Ben Shapiro and director Jeremy Boreing.

In November of 2020, The Daily Wire moved its headquarters from L.A. to Nashville, Tennessee. Most of their employees were happy to pack their bags and move with the company, including Sean and his family. He enjoys working with Matt and his other co-workers. “The company is very open to the employees. If I have an idea, I can develop it and put it through to the right channels. Number one, they will listen, and number two, I’ll get full consideration, and if they like it, we can move forward. They understand the talent they have under their roof and they nurture it.”

Sean, his wife Jennifer, and their two children are now happily ensconced in Nashville. They enjoy the lower cost of living, the landscape views, the family values shared by their city neighbors, and definitely a shorter commute. Sean is also excited by his ability to expand his handgun collection. He’s an enthusiast, and his time at the gun range is much appreciated.

Life is looking bright for the Ocala native, and it is fair to say he is passing on the mindset legacy of his grandparents and parents to his children.
Read the July 2021 Issue Online