How Global Action Star Michael Jai White Became The Most Sensitive of Artists…You’d Never Want To P*ss Off
Long recognized as “the baddest man in HollywoodLand”, Michael Jai White’s road to success has been anything but easy. In this inaugural episode of Moment To Moment, the respected Action Star, Director, Martial Artist, Father, and Husband openly shares about his early gang days riddled with fist fights & gunfights, and the life-changing moments that connected him to both his pain, as well as his secret dreams — spurring him towards the Creative Life.
Join us as Michael reflects on the influences that have shaped the artist & man that audiences the world over have come to love watching, and the fellow that artists ranging from Heath Ledger to Jean-Claude van Damme have come to love working with. Plus, an unbelievable Christopher Nolan story you’ll have to hear to believe.
Michael Jai White often credits the composure and attitude that he picked up in martial arts as the source of a great deal of success in his life. Born in 1967 in Brooklyn, White started studying martial arts at the age of 7. He has since earned black belts in seven different styles: Tae Kwon Do, Goju Ryo, Tang Soo Do, Wushu, Kobudo, Kyokushin, and Shotokan. By age 14 he was earning money fighting in local tournaments and teaching at the local YMCA.
It may come as a surprise that what bit him first wasn’t the acting bug, but the teaching bug instead. After college, White spent 3 years teaching troubled middle school kids before securing his first professional job in the role of Tom Robinson in a production of To Kill A Mockingbird. Now thoroughly under the influence of the acting bug, White decided to move to Los Angeles in 1992 and pursue his dream full time.
Nabbing a series of minor roles initially, he didn’t land his first lead role until 1995, when he played Mike Tyson in the film ‘Tyson’. Since then he has taken on several legendary roles, including playing the first ever black superhero to appear on screen in the form of Al Simmons (aka Spawn), Jax in Mortal Kombat, staring roles in multiple Tyler Perry works including Why Did I Get Married? and Why Did I Get Married Too?, Gambol in The Dark Knight, and Black Dynamite in the film Black Dynamite (a film he also wrote).
White has had a legendary career and is regarded by many as one of the greatest action stars of his generation; a title which he has earned through a three-decade long career led by his ambition, talent, and immense grace.