(CBS Local)– Howard University alum Mark McKinnon can be seen this weekend in a new BET movie that was shot in Maryland. “The Waiting Room” premieres on Saturday, October 17 at 9pm EST and it is a film about two women that receive life-changing breast cancer diagnoses.

The short film is being presented by BET Her, an initiative focused on putting Black women in leading roles in front of and behind the camera. McKinnon is extremely grateful for the opportunity to be in the film and work with several talented Black women.

Photo Credit: Mark McKinnon

“It was truly an honor and I had a lot of fun being in this project,” said McKinnon, in an interview with CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith. “I had so much fun working under Sheryl Lee Ralph, who was the director and I really wanted to be a part of something that was going to make a major impact in our community. This project was the one to do that. The biggest thing I learned is we all have to work together. A lot of time we have different egos on set or our own agendas and a lot of times it can cause a lot of chaos. One thing about this project is everyone was on the same page and everyone is impacted somehow by breast cancer.”

McKinnon dedicated his role in this movie to his late grandmother who died of breast cancer. October is also Breast Cancer Awareness month, so this movie comes at a really important time. While the Waldorf, Maryland native is known as an actor now, football was first love. When he got to Howard University, he had to make the hard choice between the gridiron and the stage.

“Trying to make that decision to leave football was really, really tough for me,” said McKinnon. “It wasn’t something that I wanted to do and I tried to navigate both. It was extremely hard. When I went to go audition for the Howard University Theater Arts program, they said you can’t audition for the program if you’re planning on playing football. I said why can’t I do both. They said no one has ever been an athlete and part of our theater arts program at the same time because of the schedule. They let me auditon and in the back of my mind and I said I was going to do both. I walked onto the Howard football team and we had a 5 a.m. practice three weeks into the season and that practice didn’t go well, so they said y’all have to come back tonight. I already had a rehearsal scheduled for a show and this was the first time I felt that battle and I had to make that decision to hang up the cleats.”

Watch “The Waiting Room” on BET this Saturday, October 17 or steam it on the BET+ app.

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