Conversations Magazine, Oct./Nov. 2021 (Click below to order yours today)

Saturday, October 30, 2021

Michael Jai White: Fulfilling His Life's Assignment with Every Role

by Cyrus Webb

For many the path of Michael Jai White* is definitely that of a man who is larger than life. 

He has been able to make a name for himself as an actor, producer and Martial Arts expert with fans around the world. You can find him in roles that are as diverse and entertaining as his own passion for life, but at his core he is an individual who is just appreciative for the opportunities to do what he loves. Like the rest of us he has not been unscathed by the pandemic that has enveloped so much of our lives, but he presses onward, channeling all that he is into his art. 

In 2021 I had a chance to catch up with Michael to discuss his career, his success and what's to come. 

You've been in this unique position, Michael, of being able to do what you love, not only in front of the camera, but also in Martial Arts. What has that been like for you to take your passions and to be able to share them with all of us?

I'm blessed behind it, because I get a chance to do what what's in my heart. I felt blessed early on, because there was a time where I learned that I was following my dream. Once I learned that piece of information, I felt like I've already won. Everything else to me is just gravy. That's my attitude going forward, and no matter what, I'm gonna continue to try to just do my best.

You've been able to amass a following. I think that it's not only inspiring for other creators like yourself, Michael, but also shows people what's possible. You've been able to reach people who enjoy the drama, the comedies and enjoy the action. How does that feel to have this cross section of support from so many different arenas?

It feels great. I just keep moving forward. I don't really reflect too much on it. I know it's a good thing, but there is so much that I want to accomplish that I'm not very reflective a lot of the time.

In 2020 WELCOME TO SUDDEN DEATH was just one of the projects you starred in that had people talking. It has to do with something that means a lot to you, Michael, that being family. What was it like for you to see the way that even through the pandemic people were responding to it. 

I'm finally getting the chance to play characters that are closer to myself. I understand you have to pay the dues and play characters that sometimes paint you a certain way. There were people that used to be frightened of me because I played a lot of rough characters. Friends of friends would say, 'Oh, I saw Mike. but I didn't want to go up to him because, you know, I'm kind of scared.' My friends are like 'No, he's a nice guy,' but I understand that sometimes you play a character that's pretty menacing or whatever, and they kind of define you by that. 

Well, [Welcome to Sudden Death] was a great opportunity, because I can really show the real me in a lot of those situations. I am a husband and a father, and my family is like a sitcom. We don't bicker. It's no drama. There's a lot of laughs. I was able to bring that into my movie.

You have fans literally around the world, Michael. Has it become a comfortable thing to look at yourself as an example for others in your industry?

We're always going to be examples, no matter what. Again, I don't really think too much about it. I'm one that is very uncomfortable with accolades and compliments. I enjoy lifting other people up more so than receiving anything myself. I'm painfully shy when it comes to that. 

I've been put on the earth as an entertainer. It's about service, right? So I'm entertaining people, and people are responding to it. That is a great thing for me. Even though I'm at the forefront of it, it's so not all about me. It's really all about what I'm providing.

Stay connected with Michael on Instagram at www.instagram.com/officialmichaeljai


*     Photo Courtesy Jaigantic Studios


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