You may know Brian White from Moesha, Stomp The Yard, Scandal and most recently, Ambitions starring Robin Givens and Essence Atkins. Premiering June 19th and produced by Will Packer, Brian White plays Atlanta Mayor, Evan Lancaster who’s political ambitions seem to cloud his judgement as he is willing to do anything to get to the next level of his career.
Brian White sat down with Lapalme Magazine to give us the latest scoop on his career, his family and how he’s able to balance both.
LM: Being a man of many talents; dance, football, political psychology, modeling, actor, youth helping program- is there any of these you enjoy more than others?
BW: My greatest passion is making a positive difference in the world with my presence. To that end, time with my family, my time spent on youth and community outreach and any opportunity to promote projects I am lucky enough to work on that speak to various social issues are where I most enjoy spending my time.
LM: How do they play a part in the man you are today?
BW: They have each directly shaped my life, and led me to become the man I am today. I rely on my experience in each of these areas to help me flesh out fully realized characters in my job as an actor, and also use all of my various life and corporate experience in both my entertainment career and outside endeavors as well.
LM: How do you manage your time off?
BW: My wife is my best friend and the best life partner anyone could ask for; and she helps me manage to make it work for us. Constant communication is the key. Putting family first in all situations, is something we’ve always made a priority.
LM: Is it hard to manage your private life with your work life?
BW: The travel schedule can be grueling, especially on kids nearing full-time school age, but if family comes first in the process of my accepting jobs and incorporated into the initial planning it is much more manageable in general.
LM: What do you enjoy most about acting? What inspired you to join the industry?
BW: I’m enjoy the opportunity to create content that my daughter’s generation will view as progressive, and forward thinking, when they are old enough to view it. Ambitions breaks new ground by portraying a single Black family comprised of characters that range from Blue Collar Liberal Democrats to White Collar Conservative Republicans; and allowing audiences to witness those politics collide in a soapy yet largely realistic 2019 universe.
I was originally inspired to become an actor to portray characters in storylines in which I saw some social significance and had a strong personal connection; with the greater goal of inspiring positive dialogue within my community and social change through art.
LM: How do you mentally prepare yourself for each role?
BW: Each role in different. Some roles require physical transformations, the development of new physical, language or mental skills; or the re-sharpening of old ones. Some roles require intense schooling. Some require much more of you, and some come easily. Part of the fun, is figuring it out each time for each different role.
LM: What can you tell us about your new project, Own’s series Ambition?
BW: It’s the ensemble story of several strong female characters, led by Robyn Givens, and the men who love them. Robyn plays an ivy league pedigree, billionaire attorney, with a Mayor husband who is at odds with anything that stands in the way of her ambitions. I’m her husband, The Mayor. We’re Ying to each other’s Yang, and all that entails.
LM: What can we expect from this series?
BW: Buckle up, because it is a force to be reckoned with. It will make you laugh; it will make you cry; it will make you think and it will definitely entertain you.
LM: What is it like working with Will Packer?
BW: Inspirational. If you look at the definition of a ‘Producer’ in the dictionary there is a photo of Mr. Packer smiling at you. He is a role model of the transformative power of positive thoughts, positive actions and positive messages; and his brand consistently showcases the best of us and leaves audiences better off for having supported his work.
LM: Do you have a favorite role to date?
BW: I’ve actually never watched one of my films of TV episodes in their entirety. I try not to watch myself, because it makes me self-conscious about the areas of my work I cannot control, as opposed to the way it feels, which is my main focus. However, the more I get into Directing, and the ability to control how a frame looks definitely changes that for me. For that reason, I’d say ‘Dear Frank’ (coming to theaters November 2019) is a favorite because I co-Directed it with, Josh Webber and was able to set all the shots with him on that one. Directing is definitely something I plan on doing more of!
LM: What has been the most difficult thing about acting? Most rewarding?
BW: The most difficult thing is the time away from your family. The most rewarding is the luxury of being able to spend 100% my ‘off time’ with my family, living our best lives together.
LM: What shows are you binging on right now?
BW: Up until recently I didn’t watch any TV. But we got on Netflix and the first binge was OA. Finished it in 3 days, and it was excellent except for the final episode. I really enjoyed that one. My wife and I also watched almost the entire series of Idris Elba’s, ‘Turn Up Charlie.’ Enjoyed that one as well.
Photo Credits: Rowan Daly