Wesley Trent Snipes (born July 31, 1962 in Orlando, Florida) is an American actor, film producer, and martial artist.
He is best known for his role as the Marvel Comics character Blade in the Blade film trilogy. He formed a production company, Amen-Ra Films, in 1991, and a subsidiary, Black Dot Media, to develop projects for film and television. He has been training in martial arts since the age of 12, earning a 5th dan black belt in Shotokan Karate and 2nd dan black belt in Hapkido.
Snipes began training in martial arts when he was 12 years old. He has a 5th degree black belt in Shotokan karate and a 2nd degree black belt in Hapkido. He has also trained in Capoeira under Mestre Jelon Vieira and in a number of other disciplines including kung fu at the USA Shaolin Temple and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. During his time in New York, Snipes was trained in fighting by his friend and mentor Brooke Ellis.
Snipes has been married twice, first to April Snipes, with whom he has a son, Jelani Asar Snipes (born 1988). Jelani had a cameo role in Snipes' 1990 film Mo' Better Blues. In 2003, Snipes married painter Nakyung "Nikki" Park, with whom he has four children: son Akhenaten Kihwa-T Snipes, daughter Iset Jua-T Snipes (born 2001), son Alaafia Jehu-T Snipes (born 2004), and son Alimayu Moa-T Snipes (born 2007).
Snipes spends considerable time in Park's home country of South Korea, which he calls his "second home". Snipes, who was raised a Christian, converted to Islam in 1978, but left Islam in 1988. During a 1991 interview, Snipes said "Islam made me more conscious of what African people have accomplished, of my self-worth, and gave me some self-dignity".
Snipes' apartment was destroyed by the collapse of the World Trade Center's Twin Towers during the September 11 attacks. He was on the West Coast at the time.
On October 12, 2006, Snipes was charged with one count of conspiring to defraud the United States and one count of knowingly making or aiding and abetting the making of a false and fraudulent claim for payment against the United States. Snipes was also charged with six counts of willfully failing to file federal income tax returns by their filing dates.
He was found guilty on three misdemeanor counts of failing to file federal income tax returns (and acquitted on three other "failure to file" charges). On April 24, 2008, Snipes was sentenced to three years in prison for willful failure to file federal income tax returns
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