A childhood hero, a husband who everyone can relate to in one way or another, and a funkadelic Robin Hood. Simply put he’s a jack of all trades, Michael Jai White is a poet of his roles as well a poet with his martial art skills.
The star of the 2009 cult classic Black Dynamite and director of its upcoming follow-up The Outlaw Johnny Black, White proves his versatility in more than one way. Starting off as a teacher, he managed to balance his acting career and college classes all in one swoop. His career has been plagued full of groundbreaking roles. It’s hard to forget his role as one of the first African American superheroes to ever be on screen. White’s portrayal of Al Simmons in the 1997 film Spawn has been capsulized in the hearts of comic book fans across the world. As a child, the film was not only amazing to watch, but how well White and John Legizamo acted in it made me believe the film was real which still haunts me to this day. As an actor, he is underrated, looked over and underrepresented. It’s not everyday People of Color can say they’ve seen an African American martial artist. Hollywood as a mainstream is just now starting to break the mold. White basically catapulted superhero movies in a way. Throughout the years, White has been building a massive fandom with his projects like Never Back Down II, Falcon Rising, Tyson</i, and Mortal Kombat: Legacy.
After the rise and success of Black Panther, White is “profoundly proud and very happy.” With heroes like Meteor Man, Blankman, and Pootie Tang there needs to be a change for the better and change came in a big way. White added, “There was a time where I thought there was never going to be a possibility of a sovereign black nation highlighted in such a movie.”
White also mentioned that he’s “happy for the youth who can see themselves in such a glorified light” and “happy for the new generation that has this type of superhero to look up to”.
Always working and wanting to break the mold for media, Micheal Jai White recently stuck his hand in the pot and formed a multimedia production company under the name Jaigantic Studios. Being such a many men type of person, he offers to bring something new to the table.
When asked what a quintessential gentleman means to him he answers “A fully balanced man….everything in nature points to balance.”
Today, White is still acting with 4 films on the way and still has time to treat his body like a temple. His workout routines are also diverse and versatile as he changes up his routine every 2-3 months. Most action stars have some basis for their fitness and disciplines and White has been grinding since he was a kid after he saw his first kung fu movie. He was hooked on the “prowess and power” of action stars like Bruce Lee. In all of White’s roles, he is physically fit and this is his choice and lifestyle simply put he “enjoys it”. Being that his busy schedule as an actor doesn’t let up, he doesn’t have time to give out lessons but when he does he teaches seminars on some techniques he learned over time.
Evidently, there is more to come with White so it’s best for old fans and new fans to keep their ears to the ground.
Check out Michael Jai White’s feature in our Sports Issue of The Quintessential Gentleman.