Brian White: The Difference
written by: iman n. milner
Since his breakout role in 2007’s Stomp The Yard, Brian White has steamed up the screen with various roles in some of Hollywood’s biggest films. Though his charming good looks and perfect physique often take the lead in conversations about the happily married actor, his outspoken and fearless way of thinking is what keeps him in the game.
When White arrived in Hollywood 11 years ago he had already been part of the New England Patriots, a successful stock broker and a dedicated philanthropist but adding actor to his resume came from a chance run in on the streets of LA. “I’d been in Los Angeles for two days and I was approached by casting director Kim Williams”, he explains, “she allowed me to audition for Moesha and I ended up on the show”. No stranger to hard work, Brian refused to allow his easy break in the industry to invite complacency into his life. Since landing his first gig he has immersed himself fully into the world of acting; taking classes, learning from his colleagues and challenging himself to go after roles that call on an unyielding confidence to even attempt. While many rising actors of color often complain about the lack of work, Brian looks at things differently by always challenging himself to step outside of the box. “Out of all the lessons I’ve learned the most important has been that Hollywood is not biased”, White says, “you create your own success, there’s guys like Herman Cain on one side and Barack Obama on the other who can climb to the top; there must be some level of access”. And though this way of thinking may shock many, he suggests that limiting opportunity and creativity to the boundaries of race is what further hinders us all from breaking down the barriers. “The best filmmakers, the best story-tellers—they don’t see race, they see people, human beings. The films that succeed the most are the ones that speak to the greatest number of people…as soon as you start to alienate any group of people, we all fail—when we all realize that, the world will be a better place.”
But does he practice what he preaches?
It would appear so.
Having caught heat from many regarding his marriage to a Latina woman last year and earlier this year when he found himself defending his thoughts that surfaced from a misquoted interview that painted him to be a malicious, Black woman bashing sellout –Brian shows no fear in speaking up for what he believes and standing by his opinions. Even in the face of adversity he displays the same relentless commitment to being better than what some would expect. But his recent success did not birth his courage, this was something that he had even before his words could cause weeklong debates all over the Internet. Yes, Brian White has never known anything but a true commitment to the man he is and hopes to be. “I’m not a complacent person”, he says sternly, “I’m never satisfied with where I am and there’s always room for improvement. As an athlete, you’re taught to compete and that’s what life is all about. If you’re poorly prepared and have no game plan to help you move forward…you do everything in fear. You’ll lose and you’ll have no choice but to take the loss”. A must win attitude is necessary for a man juggling actor, model, husband and big time philanthropist. White has owned and operated numerous charity corporations all committed to preparing the next generation to live with no boundaries since early 2002. Through his Phunk Phenomenon Urban Dance Theater in Boston, he and his staff provide, what he calls, edutainment to kids in neighboring areas by teaching classes, professional skills and the beauty of giving back. He added author to his multi-hyphenate list of titles when he released a book to accompany the work he has done as co-founder of Black Carpenter, a youth empowerment brand that seeks to give an essential toolbox of skills to the future leaders of the world. His list of community service endeavors stretches far and wide but somehow goes unnoticed by the media at large.
However, you won’t see him complain about the stress of fame. Contrarily, he welcomes the opportunity to continue to disprove his loudest critics. “I can handle anything. I feel strong. Everything you survive helps you to recognize your strength and prepares you for the next battle. I’m still full of joy and passion to live out my purpose in this world—it all makes me feel empowered.” No kryptonite for this Superman it seems. Brian White is unbreakable, determined and stands steadfast upon his desire to be the difference. The difference in Hollywood. The difference in his community. And inevitably the difference in the world.
Find out more on Brian White: BrianWhite.com
Follow Brian on Twitter: @actorbrianwhite
Photos By: Emily Perez
Stylist: Felipe G
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