By Dante Obligacion
There are times when thespians move us to feel what we long for in cinematic characters. Terms like “dialed in” or “focused” are used to describe their excellence in acting. True life experiences move some of the best of them towards naturalness in the purity of their work.
Balancing the complexities of life with the altruism of depth in character is a constant challenge but one that Brian White welcomes with a wealth of exposure, worldliness and savoir-faire. He possesses a maturity and confidence seldom seen in the industry. But why is this?
Born in Boston, Massachusetts, White’s mother served as a financial adviser which ensured his appreciation for prioritizing and budgeting as he eventually became a stockbroker. His father was NBA Hall of Fame Boston Celtic, JoJo White, an ex-marine, administrator, and entrepreneur and his uncle is Chris Chambliss, a New York Yankee Great.
I know from experience as an “Industry Kid,” that growing up with famous siblings, places you in the company of storied friends, popular teammates and prominent acquaintances. These affiliations become key components in the development of one’s character and initiative as they willfully leave lasting impacts. We discussed a myriad of topics.
Which family associations left lasting impressions on you? “My Godfather was Red Auerbach, and he was actually the one who told me to go to Dartmouth.” He explained the educational importance of Dartmouth University and the transcendent differences between Lacrosse and Football. He elucidated the intricacies of “Lacrosse and its analytical advantages over football as it pertains to thinking and harboring positive visions for the future.”
“Red told me how to really play the game and explained how the world had changed as it pertained to education. He said if you go to one of those big schools that recruited you elsewhere, you’ll be playing checkers not chess, and it’s all about chess!” Wow!
White parlayed that advice and education into becoming the best Lacrosse player at Dartmouth and eventually cultivated a business relationship with Jim Brown, the best Lacrosse/Football player ever at Syracuse. “Red said that Lacrosse players can call each other up at any time, get together and sit and talk with each other for hours anywhere, any place and any time!” How immeasurably insightful.
His father was the youngest of his siblings but White is the oldest of his. Financial literacy led his mother into financial advising while his dad’s short stint in the Marine Corps prepared him for his first training camp with the Celtics. The cub scouts, dance groups, youth and college sports, led Brian from the New England Patriots to Hollywood.
How was being the oldest? “I was the only boy and the oldest with five sisters,” which is an “enormous responsibility and I felt that I was fighting for their equity not their equality. I was the alpha male and it was truly very humbling.”
What truly motivates you? “Living up to the standard that being woke mandates; being authentic.”
There is a symmetry balancing your characters demeanors and I am detecting a strong female influence, who would that have been Brian? “Mom was my hero! I have five younger sisters and my Auntie played a huge role as did Grandma. You see, Boston is a multiracial community where people are experiencing classism not racism!”
Where do you get staying humble and hungry from? “I get that from my Dad, a first ballot Hall of Famer and subject of the film “Glory Road.” My sister’s godfather was M.L. Carr. I was taught to be the best you can be. We had a blue-collar nest! You see, what I am working for doesn’t get celebrated, which is excellent!”
Discovered while becoming emotional during a wedding vow scene in the film “Best Man Wedding,” White was expressing the mood for the moment so well, it garnered him a role on the TV series “Moesha” and the rest is history. So, “Don’t be afraid of roles as an extra.”
Where does “That Know” come from? “I am a writer and “that know” comes from my Mom. I must be authentic to my vision, I can’t divorce myself from it. My first movies which were “Me And Mrs. Jones” and “Redemption,” I learned to exert my thought to one take! All you can do is leave it on the field. One of Kenny Leon’s best projects was working with me on “Ambitions,” where I knew I needed to deliver what Kenny sees. He always says “Get the shot!”
“You must be about something” and “you should always present your best self” are rules he lives by and shares with the young minds he helps develop through his prioritized empowering messages to our youth with the UN Chair position he occupies.
“I am always about the writer.” Tyler Perry once told me I had to audition for a particular role, but I had never played a bad guy. I’ve never understood the bad guy and couldn’t see myself fighting with a woman, that’s just not who I am. The passions I experienced led me to Co-Chair a UN counsel position.”
Do actors and actresses typically show up on their days off like Meryl Streep, to read with other actors helping them to hit their marks? “Yes!” “I was trained by “The Shield” TV series to read with people on my days off. It was one of my first real dramatic roles. Michael Chiklis won best actor. He was on the phone for every take when he wasn’t there to make sure he was present on the shoot. We possessed “Blue-Collar Ethics” and strived for perfection in our scenes.”
The humility and compassion in his characters recalls the years of drive and discipline he endured growing up, and the volatility of perfection was displayed in his role as the antagonistic dance leader in the film “Stomp The Yard,” which makes “Media” the glass ceiling.
Playing the President of the United States might be too easy a role for him, but it’s a presence White habitually projects on screen. If acting is “to pretend” then it should be easier to portray someone that you are passionate about, however, with moving audiences to feel as the primary goal. Few thespians answer the bell in epochal fashion like White. Some actors just seem like directors when they’re performing!
Which thespians move your emotions? “I watched Claire Danes during “The Family Stone” have to shoot a crying scene with Sarah Jessica Parker six times, and she literally pulled it off every time,, slightly different per take, but she pulled it off!”
“I also watched Angela Bassett, one of the greatest ever to do it, go from laughing and joking about not being prepared for a serious scene that day, to immediately getting called up to do the same thing Claire did. She stood up, looked the other way, her facial expression totally changed, her body shrank a little bit, she went out there and nailed the scene perfectly, having to cry and it was a comedy!”
White’s level of preeminent intensity lends itself to historic world leaders of our past. If I were recruiting actors to play motivational speakers, he would be one of the first ones I would call.
As ubiquitous as African American actors are in the entertainment industry today, there are those who indubitably stand out! Whites prone posture possesses a pleasantly intimidating persona revealing the virility necessary to beguile audiences, allowing him to be highlighted.
Sicily Tyson said, “actors in our community need to be careful with the roles they choose to play,” is that still important? “Absolutely, our roles are of major importance to our youth in this industry. In “Ambitions” we are out for gain and purpose, we are sort of Trumpeon’ in our ways. The Lancaster’s and Carlisle’s struggle over power where one family is powerful and white, and the other is powerful and black, but both are at the top of their games. We’re different from the “Cosby’s,” “Fresh Prince” and “7th Heaven.”
The realization of picking the right roles to further a community’s plight towards positive imagery is paramount and adds to the intrigue of his quest to better the struggle by creating a new narrative, one in which minority roles in television and film are unambiguous.
Where does dance fit into all of this? “Dance is everything! Everything I do has a rhythm and music to it, for its vibrating! My mind and body are constantly asking what they are moving to. The music lives in your body.”
Brian is one of the busiest actors in show business, with entrepreneurial endeavors, the charities he supports, the self-empowerment positions he holds and the responsibility of remaining a consistent force in the characters of suave, debonair and distinguished gentleman- a plateau he achieves with startling regularity.
White’s approach to acting commands viewers to remain focused on his characters and the multidimensional presence he exhibits on screen all too often allows White to render himself “Colorless,” which is an unfathomable attribute!
Just when I was thinking he could become one of the best directors in Hollywood someday, he “one-upped” me by revealing his plans for the ON! Channel as their new President! He will be changing the narrative with a drive towards bettering the visual landscape. “At the ON! Channel we want to move the needle.”
“It’s not enough to stand and watch! Number one, we support minority owned companies like ON! It is one of our primary focuses. Number two, at the ON! Channel, June 12, 2020, “Redemption” is going to be replayed where I play the son of a network mogul.” You’ve got to be ecstatic right?
“Yes!” “I am proud to be the President of a minority owned business with two other minority partners and equally as proud to be able to showcase our vision. I come from a diverse tapestry and I consider myself a global citizen, believing that we should celebrate our differences!”
Having creative control over content allows Brian a way to speak without speaking and cultivate the way we think while challenging us to remain curious. It’s an enormous gift of responsibility which he welcomes.
“We’re interested in Data, it’s all about Data, and “Snap Call,” which will revolutionize the technical landscape and remain a primary force in technology. “We have a waiting list to check out our programming and July is a big month for the company. We are also extremely and deeply devoted to charity endeavors.”
White admits “I haven’t really spoken out yet, I’ve just been waiting for the right time, but I do have something to say.
I am a unifier applying diversity. It’s healing and cathartic and I believe in effective solutions and change!”
His vision and purpose will sow new seeds of irrefutable transformation in the industry at the ON! Channel as a pragmatic perfectionist mastering the insight into substantive aspects of challenges leaving no stone unturned. Much praise is given to his absolution towards the perfection he continually exhibits in his work and the tireless effort he puts into bettering world dichotomies.
With at least fifteen producing credits and a couple of ventures into directing, he has eclipsed the quadruple-crown of “writing, acting, producing and directing.” He is actively involved in self-empowerment, multiple businesses and charities which is why EzWay partnered with this like-minded individual who is helping us make this world a better place by winning victories for humanity one day at a time.
At EzWay Broadcasting we acknowledge how we want to live our lives in a positive sphere, then determine what we are willing to put into it, challenging ourselves to be the best we can be at all costs, with no regrets. Our cultivation of necessary antidotes and desire to advance agendas, while uniting people, ensures a segue into epic new directions.