Michael Jai White

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Michael Jai White
Michael Jai White 2016.jpg
White at the MagicCity ComicCon, January 2016
Born
Michael Richard Jai White

(1967-11-10) November 10, 1967 (age 51)
OccupationActor, martial artist
Spouse(s)Courtney Chatham (2005–2011)
Gillian Iliana Waters (2015–present)
Children3

Michael Jai White (born November 10, 1967) is an American actor and martial artist. He is the first black person to portray a major comic book superhero in a major motion picture,[1] having starred as Al Simmons, the protagonist in the 1997 film Spawn.[note 1] White appeared as Marcus Williams in the Tyler Perry films Why Did I Get Married? and Why Did I Get Married Too?, and starred as the character on the TBS/OWN comedy-drama television series Tyler Perry's For Better or Worse. White portrayed Jax Briggs in Mortal Kombat: Legacy. He portrayed boxer Mike Tyson in the 1995 HBO television movie Tyson. He also played the title role in the blaxploitation film Black Dynamite, as well as the Warner Bros. Animation series of the same name.

Early life[edit]

White was born in Brooklyn, New York and moved as a teen to Bridgeport, Connecticut, where he graduated from Central High School in 1985.

He is an accomplished martial artist, holding black belts in eight different styles: Shōtōkan, Taekwondo, Kobudō, Tang Soo Do, Wushu and Kyokushin,[2][3] with a specific focus in Kyokushin (although his style incorporates aspects of many different martial arts forms).[4] White started training in the martial arts at the age of seven in Jujutsu and then shōtōkan moving to other styles later.[5]

White is a former teacher.[6] He cites his history in education as the reason why, despite his personal love for the music genre on "a lot of levels", he cannot "in good [conscience]" have a positive opinion on hip hop or "excuse some of [its] pervasive and destructive elements", mainly due to his experience with youngsters who had difficulty seeing the difference between it and real life.[6]

Acting career[edit]

White's first major starring role and breakout performance was in the 1995 HBO film Tyson, as heavyweight boxer Mike Tyson. He portrayed the eponymous character in the 1997 movie Spawn, making him the first African American to portray a major comic book superhero in a major motion picture.[1] His work in Spawn earned him a nomination for the Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Best Male Newcomer. White starred opposite Jean-Claude Van Damme in Universal Soldier: The Return. In 2001, he also starred opposite fellow martial artist Steven Seagal in Exit Wounds. In 2003, he starred in Busta Rhymes' and Mariah Carey's music video "I Know What You Want". Since 2003, in addition to his on screen roles, White has been doing voice work, including Static Shock and the Justice League. White showcases his martial arts skills in the direct-to-DVD film Undisputed II: Last Man Standing. He also appears in Michelle Yeoh's Silver Hawk in 2004. He appeared in Kill Bill: Volume 2, although his role was cut from the theatrical release. His film Why Did I Get Married? opened at number one at the box office on October 12, 2007.

White played the role of the mob boss Gambol in the 2008 film The Dark Knight. He also starred in the film Blood and Bone and the blaxploitation homage Black Dynamite, both released in 2009. White wrote the scripts for both Black Dynamite and his upcoming 3 Bullets in which he stars with Bokeem Woodbine.

On March 30, 2010, White appeared on The Mo'Nique Show to promote his film Why Did I Get Married Too. The two joked about the acclaim that comes with winning an Oscar. In May of that year he appeared in the music video for Toni Braxton's new song "Hands Tied" from her album Pulse, as well as the Nicki Minaj music video for "Your Love" as Nicki's sensei and love interest.

He also starred in Kevin Tancharoen's short film Mortal Kombat: Rebirth,[7] as Jax Briggs, and reprised the role in Mortal Kombat: Legacy, a webseries from the same director. He recently posted on Twitter that he would not be returning to the role for the second season, but would return for the 2013 film.

White made his directorial debut and starred in Never Back Down 2: The Beatdown, which was released on home video on September 13, 2011.[8]

White also provided the voice of Green Lantern in the video game Justice League Heroes.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

From 2005-2011 White was married to Courtney Chatham and together they have a daughter named Morgan. In addition, White has two sons.[9][10] In February 2014, White announced his engagement to actress Gillian Iliana Waters.[10] In July 2015 White married Waters in an intimate, but extravagant ceremony in Thailand.[11] In April 2015, White penned an endearing open letter via Facebook entitled "Apologies to My Ex's", where he credited Waters for helping him become, "the very best version of myself."[12] In 2014, he was honored with the Fists of Legends Decade Award at the Urban Action Showcase & Expo at HBO.[13]

Filmography[edit]

White at Comic Con in July 2011

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1989 The Toxic Avenger Part II Apocalypse Inc. Executive
1989 The Toxic Avenger Part III: The Last Temptation of Toxie Apocalypse, Inc. Executive
1991 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze Audience Man Uncredited
1991 True Identity Alley Guy #1
1992 Prototype Stunts
1992 Universal Soldier Soldier
1993 Full Contact Low-Ball
1994 On Deadly Ground Stunts
1994 Lion Strike Silvio
1995 Ballistic Quint
1996 2 Days in the Valley Buck
1997 City of Industry Odell Williams
1997 Spawn Spawn / Albert Simmons
1998 Ringmaster Demond
1998 Thick as Thieves Pointy
1999 Breakfast of Champions Howell
1999 Mutiny Ben Cooper
1999 Universal Soldier: The Return SETH
2000 The Bus Stop Short film
2001 Exit Wounds Lewis Strutt
2002 Trois 2: Pandora's Box Hampton Hines
2003 Justice Tre Direct-to-video
2004 Silver Hawk Morris
2004 Kill Bill: Volume 2 Da Moe Deleted scene
2006 Undisputed II: Last Man Standing George Chambers Direct-to-video
2007 Why Did I Get Married Marcus
2007 PVC-1 Executive producer
2008 The Dark Knight Gambol
2009 Black Dynamite Black Dynamite Also writer
2009 Blood and Bone Isaiah Bone Direct-to-video; also producer
2009 Three Bullets The Man Short film; also writer, producer and stunt choreographer
2010 Why Did I Get Married Too? Marcus
2010 Mortal Kombat: Rebirth Jackson "Jax" Briggs Short film[14]
2011 Never Back Down 2: The Beatdown Case Walker Direct-to-video; also director
2011 Tactical Force Hunt Direct-to-video
2012 We the Party Officer Davis Direct-to-video
2012 Freaky Deaky Donnell Lewis Direct-to-video
2012 The Philly Kid Arthur Letts Direct-to-video
2013 Fedz Big D Direct-to-video
2014 Android Cop Hammond Direct-to-video
2014 Falcon Rising John 'Falcon' Chapman Direct-to-video
2014 Skin Trade Special Agent Reed Direct-to-video
2015 Chocolate City Princeton Direct-to-video
2015 Chain of Command James Webster Direct-to-video
2016 Beyond the Game Direct-to-video
2016 The Asian Connection Greedy Greg Direct-to-video
2016 Never Back Down: No Surrender Case Walker Direct-to-video; also director
2016 Vigilante Diaries Barrington Direct-to-video[15][16]
2016 Chocolate City: Vegas Strip Princeton Direct-to-video
2017 Cops and Robbers Michael Direct-to-video
2017 S.W.A.T.: Under Siege Scorpion Direct-to-video
2018 Accident Man Mick Direct-to-video
2018 Triple Threat Devereaux Direct-to-video
2018 The Outlaw Johnny Black Johnny Black Direct-to-video, also director
2018 The Family Business Vegas Duncan Direct-to-video
2018 Primer Vincent King (Hollywood) Direct-to-video
2018 HeadShop Reverend Carter Direct-to-video
2018 Making a Killing Orlando Hudson Direct-to-video
TBA Dragged Across Concrete Biscuit

Music videos[edit]

Year Video Performer
2003 "I Know What You Want" Busta Rhymes and Mariah Carey featuring The Flipmode Squad
2010 "Your Love" Nicki Minaj
2010 "Hands Tied" Toni Braxton
2012 "Let's Go" Calvin Harris featuring Ne-Yo

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1993 Saved by the Bell Military Police Man #2 Episode: "Wrestling with the Future"; Uncredited
1993 Renegade Luther - Dawn's boyfriend Episode: "Vanished"
1994 Martin Valdez Episode: "Arms Are for Hugging"
1994 Living Single Steve Episode: "Hot Fun in the Wintertime"
1995 JAG Navy Petty Officer Peter Quinn / Lt. Martin Payne Episode: "Big Break"
1995 NYPD Blue Off. Reginald 'Reggie' Fancy 2 episodes
1995 Tyson Mike Tyson TV movie
1996 Captive Heart: The James Mink Story Elroy TV movie
1996 Shaughnessy Carpenter TV movie
1999 Mutiny Ben Cooper TV movie
2000 Wonderland Dr. Derrick Hatcher Recurring
2000 Freedom Song Coleman Vaughnes TV movie
2001 Boston Public Darren Schofield Episode: "Chapter Eighteen"
2001 Soul Food Russell Banks Episode: "Who Do You Know?"
2003 CSI: Miami Officer Roy Bailey Episode: "Hard Time"
2003 Justice League Doomsday (voice) Episode: "A Better World"
2003 Hotel TV movie
2003–04 Static Shock Osebo (voice) 2 episodes
2004–05 Clubhouse Ellis Hayes Recurring
2006 Justice League Unlimited Doomsday (voice) Episode: "The Doomsday Sanction"
2006 Getting Played Actor TV movie
2007–08 Tyler Perry's House of Payne Bryan 3 episodes
2008 The Legend of Bruce Lee Ali 3 episodes
2010 The Boondocks Bushido Brown / Cop (voice) Episode: "Stinkmeaner 3: The Hateocracy"
2010 One Angry Juror Derrick TV movie
2011 Batman: The Brave and the Bold Tattooed Man Episode: "The Scorn of the Star Sapphire!"
2011–14 Tyler Perry's For Better or Worse Marcus Williams Main cast
2011–15 Black Dynamite Black Dynamite / Jim Kelly / CIA Member (voice) Main cast; also producer
2012 Somebody's Child Douglas TV movie
2012 Aqua Something You Know Whatever Zucotti Manicotti (voice) Episode: "Zucotti Manicotti"; uncredited
2013-18 Arrow Ben Turner / Bronze Tiger 8 episodes
2016 The Crooked Man Milo TV movie
2017 Insecure: Due North Zeke Episode: "201"
TBA Spawn: The Animation Barabbas (voice)

Video games[edit]

Year Title Role
2006 Justice League Heroes Green Lantern / John Stewart
2007 The Underground Bounty Hunter Hatch

Web series[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2011 Mortal Kombat: Legacy Jackson "Jax" Briggs 2 episodes
2012 Métal Hurlant Chronicles Teague Episode: "King's Crown"
2014 Métal Hurlant Chronicles Balt Episode: "The Endomorphe"
2016 Enter the Dojo Himself Episode: "How to Fight a Clown"

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Spawn was released on August 1, 1997, two weeks before the release of Steel, which starred NBA basketball player Shaquille O'Neal. Robert Townsend and Damon Wayans also starred in the superhero films The Meteor Man (1993) and Blankman (1994), respectively, both parodies.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Michael Jai White is first Black comic superhero to star on the movie screen in 'Spawn.'". Jet magazine. September 22, 1997. Archived from the original on May 25, 2012. Retrieved October 17, 2009.
  2. ^ "Male Celebs Who Practice Martial Arts", Jet magazine, Sept. 24, 1903, at pp. 38-39.
  3. ^ "Michael Jai White Ignites Black Dynamite". Black Belt Magazine. Archived from the original on January 2, 2010. Retrieved 2009-12-27.
  4. ^ Taco the Town: Michael Jai White Archived 2010-06-10 at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ "Homepage - Black Belt Magazine". www.blackbeltmag.com.
  6. ^ a b 47 HH interview with Michael J. White and Scott Sanders to promote the movie Black Dynamite
  7. ^ "New Mortal Kombat Promotional Featurette Delivers the Goods".
  8. ^ Morales, Wilson (September 13, 2011). "Never Back Down 2: Michael Jai White". Blackfilm.com. Retrieved December 11, 2011.
  9. ^ "Michael Jai White's Adorable Baby Girl". Archived from the original on 2009-01-24. Retrieved 2009-01-23.
  10. ^ a b Bailey-Tureaud, Kimberly (3 February 2014). "Michael Jai White and fiancée Gillian Iliana Waters share the secret to their romance". Las Vegas Black Image. Retrieved 10 March 2016.
  11. ^ Caslin, Yvette (8 July 2015). "Exclusive: Michael Jai White and Gillian Iliana Waters tie the knot". Rolling Out. Retrieved 10 March 2016.
  12. ^ Williams, Brennan (15 April 2015). "Michael Jai White Writes Letter Of Apology To His Ex-Girlfriends: 'I Believed All Women Were Crazy'". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 10 March 2016.
  13. ^ "2014 Urban Action Showcase International Action Film Festival & Honoree Awards". YouTube. Retrieved 2014-01-27.
  14. ^ "Mortal Kombat Fans, This Is The Hard 'R' MK Movie You've Been Waiting For". Archived from the original on June 11, 2010.
  15. ^ Sesma, Christian (2016-06-24), Vigilante Diaries, retrieved 2016-08-29
  16. ^ FOX. "Michael Jai White on new film 'Vigilante Diaries' and finding his soul mate". Retrieved 2016-08-29.

External links[edit]