Between his flourishing career and gorgeous wife, Brian White may seem to have it made. But the star of Tyler Perry's Good Deeds, The Shield and Stomp the Yard had to fall several times before he could soar. The Boston-born actor, who will next be seen in the new CW series Beauty and the Beast, opens up to us about the lessons he learned from failure. Plus, White gets political with a few words for the haters ganging up on Stacey Dash after her public support of Mitt Romney.
Tell us a little about your character in Beauty and the Beast.
I play Joe Bishop, a New York police lieutenant who is the boss to Kristin Kreuk and Nina Lisandrello. My character has a tumultuous home life, which comes out in episodes down the line. It affects his work life and relationships in various ways. As for the show, it's completely re-imagined as a supernatural, action-romance-drama. There's something for everyone in there!
You're working with a lot of young actors on this show. How does it feel to be the veteran for a change? Are you giving any advice to the rising stars, the way you got it from guys like Bernie Mac?
One thing I learned early on is to always be a student. I learn as much from my co-stars as they can from me. Take Kristin for example, she's been on the air, on one show, for ten years. I don't know any actors who can say that. But she was able to do that because of her mentality, her temperament, her work ethic. She's a joy to be around 24/7. On top of that,she's extremely talented. But what you learn after years in the business is, it's not even the most talented people who succeed, it's the ones who are pleasant to be around for 20 hours a day, every day.
Last time you talked to BET.com, you told us that acting was the second biggest love of your life. What's the first?
My wife. Hands down. My wife. Work comes second. I work to take care of my family, not the other way around.
Beauty and the Beast shoots in Toronto, so how do you guys handle the long distance and time apart?
We have a two-week rule. We never go more than 14 days without seeing each other. So, if I have to fly ten thousand miles, I'm coming home on that 13th day to make sure we don't get there. And when we're together, we try to avoid the curse of social media. Phones off, no tweeting, none of that.
What was your first big splurge when you came into some money as an athlete?
A car with rims. I was an idiot.
You posed an interesting question on Twitter this week, asking your fans what they would ask President Obama and Mitt Romney if they had the chance. What would you ask them?
We're at such a difficult crossroads here. It's a tough question because it's not one that's going to get a real answer. I would ask them, "What would you tell young people, kids 30 and under, about what to expect in the future?"
What's your political orientation?
I'm a registered independent. I don't really believe in political parties. Bottom line: Mitt Romney's tax policy helps me. But I can't stomach seeing somebody go hungry or somebody not being able to get an education because I want more. So, I'm supporting Barack Obama.
Stacey Dash came under fire this week for supporting Romney. Do you worry about the same backlash?
She's entitled to her opinion. I don't see why people got mad at her choosing Romney. Did anybody flip about 50 Cent? Or Nicki Minaj? I believe 50 Cent is a registered Republican. I don't want to speak out of turn because I don't know for sure, but the point is, nobody says anything to him. And why should they? I might not agree with Stacey's politics, I might be rooting for Obama and she's voting for Romney, but that does not make her a bad person.
Why do you think it's important for young people to educate themselves about politics?
Politics doesn't matter, policy does. That's what I try to get through to them, to steer them to make their own decisions rather than have someone preach to them.
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