Actor Monti Washington Had to F.L.Y. (First Love Yourself) to Beat Depression, Homelessness and Poverty

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Monti Washington burst onto the entertainment scene with his debut role as Nia’s ex-boyfriend and cop, Terrence, on BET’s Games People Play. The last few years have brought on a few tv show projects that are slated to be released this year. One that was released this year includes Urban Movie Channel’s newest show Stuck with You starring Tammy Townsend and Timon Kyle Durett. Before fame, Monti’s life wasn’t all but glamorous, which included growing up as a foster child, traveling from home to home and sleeping in parks. Monti used all of his past experiences to fuel his success. Learn more about him and his upcoming projects below.

Who is Monti Washington?

I am one part foolish, one part alpha, one part nerd, one part lover, and one part friend. When you mix all of that together, you get a unique man of God who follows his own path.

Please tell us about your upbringing.

I grew up sleeping in parks, crack houses, and really struggling in poverty.  Eventually, I got placed into a group home and a few foster homes where I was forced to learn a lot of hard lessons. I have experienced physical abuse and was even locked in a room for over three months. Much of the abuse that I experienced early on lead me to be placed in special education classes until I was in high school while I battled with depression. After seeking help and focus, things started coming together for me. I went to college and earned two degrees while discovering my passion for acting and public speaking.

How did the negative and positive aspects of your life help to mold the man you have become?

I can whole-heartedly and unapologetically say I love the man I am today. I have overcome low self-esteem, depression, and an assortment of debilitating mental issues to arrive at this point. All of the negative childhood experiences held me back for many years. We have this belief that “our experiences form us”. I believe our experiences don’t “form” us but rather “inform” us. Every experience is merely information either physically or emotionally. It’s what we do with that information from those experiences that create who we are. When you start to F.L.Y (First Love Yourself) things begin to change from the inside out. Now all of the negative experiences continuously fuel my success.

The phrase “The streets made me” has been used in both good and bad stories of people’s lives. How did the streets influence and inspire you?

Every person you meet is a teacher and every environment is a classroom.  That holds true for the streets as well. I grew up with a mother addicted to crack and I remember having to beg for money and food regularly. I saw people get shot, robbed, and other horrific things living on the streets.  Seeing all of that made it clear to me that wasn’t the life I wanted for myself. It inspired me to do everything in my power to not allow myself to remain in those circumstances. There are so many lessons that can be gathered from watching pimps, hustlers, and even living in poverty. The only difference between myself and someone who succumbs to the pressures of the hood are the choices I made. In no way does it make me better than those who remain in those circumstances, It makes me blessed to have made it out.

What is Montivation?

Montivation is my own form of motivation. It’s equal parts empowerment, entertainment and engagement. It is everything that I have amassed from my life put into an engaging and empowering form of public speaking. 

Please tell us about your role in Stuck with You and Bruh.

Without giving away too much, both roles and characters are incredibly fun to bring to life. My role as Vaughn in Stuck With You is a straight savage. He is a man who goes after what he wants and who he wants without fail. In this role, I’m after the lead actress played by the incredibly talented Tammy Townsend. It is a brilliantly well-written script.

My role as Bill in Bruh is a bit different from Vaughn. Bill is lovesick and after the woman he loves while trying to be there for his “Bruhs” at the same time. Out of the four fellas, Bill is the glue of the group. The chemistry all the fellas have is what really elevates this show. There really isn’t any show on TV starring four men of color that shows them navigating their career and love life. I am supremely confident both shows will resonate with the viewers in many ways.

What advice would you give to the younger you?

I would tell myself to have more belief in yourself. Stop with all the doubt and second-guessing. I would also tell myself that everything you’re doing and accomplishing is so much bigger than yourself. 

Stuck With You airs on Urban Movie Channel and Bruh will air on BET+ this year. Stay connected with Monti on Instagram.

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