Actress Michole Briana White who can next be seen as part of the four main leads ensemble on the highly anticipated series, “Black Mafia Family.” From executive producer Curtis ‘50 Cent’ Jackson (“Power”/ “Power Book II: Ghost, For Life”) and writer/executive producer and Detroit native Randy Huggins (“Star”/ “Rebel”/ “Power”). “Black Mafia Family” is produced through Jackson’s G-Unit Film and Television in association with Starz and Lionsgate Television. The show is inspired by the true story of two brothers who rose from the decaying streets of southwest Detroit in the late 1980’s and gave birth to one of the most influential crime families in this country. Demetrius “Big Meech” Flenory’s charismatic leadership, Terry “Southwest T” Flenory’s business acumen and the fraternal partnership’s vision beyond the drug trade and into the world of Hip Hop would render the brothers iconic on a global level. Their unwavering belief in family loyalty would be the cornerstone of their partnership and the crux of their eventual estrangement. The series is about love, kinship, and capitalism in the pursuit of the American dream. On the show, Michole portrays ‘Lucille,’ the strong-willed, dignified mother of Demetrius and Terry Flenory. Lucille is a devout Christian who does everything she can to protect her marriage on one hand, and her sons on the other while navigating the toughest storm of their life. The show stars Flenory Jr., the son of Demetrius “Big Meech” Flenory who will make his acting debut starring as his father, and Da’Vinchi will portray Demetrius’ brother Terry “Southwest T” Flenory, it also stars Russell Hornsby as their father. “Black Mafia Family” is set to premiere on September 26th, 2021 on Starz.
In addition to “Black Mafia Family,” Michole can also be seen as part of the main ensemble principle cast in James Wan’s rated R horror film Malignant. Refreshingly, we don’t know much about the upcoming horror film Malignant, but what we do know is it’s a return to the genre from James Wan, who gave us the excellent Saw, Insidious, and The Conjuring franchises. We know it’s based on an original screenplay and idea, after Wan’s time helming franchise titles like Furious 7 and Aquaman. The movie premieres on HBO Max and theaters on September 10th. Finally, Michole will have a recurring role in season four of “Goliath” playing ‘A.G. Herrera.’ The show stars Billy Bob Thorton and will return TBD 2021.
The Chicago native’s credits also include the Gotham award-winning web series “The Strange Eyes of Dr. Myes” and has co-created the sequel. She was recently seen in Michael Bay’s Songbird, the first movie released during the pandemic, and has recurring roles on Netflix’s “Dead to Me” and Dr. Dre’s series “Vital Signs.”
Michole is also a singer/songwriter and licenses her music for film and tv. She performed with the LA Philharmonic at Disney Concert Hall and her vocals were featured on the Daytime Emmy Awards. She has worked with directors, including Sydney Lumet on “100 Centre Street”, Spike Lee’s 25 Hour and She Hate Me, and starred in Ava Duvernay’s I Will Follow. Her theatrical credits include the original Off-Broadway production of Jitney by August Wilson, Susan Lori-Parks Fucking A (The NY Public Theatre), Radio Golf directed by Kenny Leon, and most recently in When the Jazz Had Blues at The Matrix Theatre playing the iconic Lena Horne. Michole has been the recipient of theatrical awards including the Obie, Ovation, NAACP, Audelco, and Drama Desk.
We Empower Magazine got an exclusive interview with Michole Briana White.
Tammy Reese: Happy Belated Birthday! It’s an honor to interview you today, What did you do for your Birthday?
Michole Briana White: Thank you! I’d normally go on a Silent Meditation Retreat for my birthday for about thirty days, but because of COVID, it wasn’t open. So I went to Laguna to this fitness hotel where they had yoga and pilates. It was right by the ocean. I got massages and it was beautiful.
Tammy Reese: What inspired you to become an actress?
Michole Briana White: I was always acting and I didn’t know how to put a label on it. Ever since I could remember I was always playing characters in the bathroom and my mother would be knocking on the door talking about who is in the bathroom with you? Who is that? My sister and I used to put on shows for the family all the time. I was always doing it and loved it. My mom, used to model and she put myself and my baby sister, Courtney, in modeling school when I was about 12 and I fell in love with it. Modeling was acting too because I was acting like a model.
I ended up begging my mom to let me go to Barbizon, however, at first, I started out at Cleo Johnson’s School of Charm and Modeling Agency in Chicago, which was wonderful. Then I saw this Barbizon commercial. I begged my mom some more because I knew I had to go there for the acting program they had just started. I took my first acting class at Barbizon and haven’t stopped acting since.
Tammy Reese: Please tell us about your role on the highly anticipated series “Black Mafia Family” and your experience so far working with the cast, producers, and directors?
Michole Briana White: The amazing thing is that it’s based on a true story. The woman that I play is actually a real person and I get to meet her. I didn’t know all the details when I first auditioned but the character just spoke to me and there was just a real comfortability with the role and I just felt like I was at home. I could just ease into it. The whole thing had just been divine.
Russell Hornsby referred me to Tasha Smith. Russell and I had done an August Wilson play together Off-Broadway for about two and a half years. We traveled, we went to Baltimore, Chicago, Buffalo, and all these other cities. Then we landed in New York for like nine months. We played boyfriend and girlfriend and we had a baby in the play. In Black Mafia Family, we have three children. It’s like these two characters grew up.
I actually just had an ADR (Automated Dialogue Replacement) session today. That’s when you do voiceovers for the show to kind of clean up some of the sounds. So I got to see some of it and I got to hang out with Randy Huggins, our awesome showrunner. We had lunch in and it’s just wonderful. The whole team is like a really big family. It’s lovely and it’s just so much fun. There was such a comfortability and filming has just been very magical.
Tammy Reese: We’re so looking forward to “Malignant”. Congratulations on being a part of this soon-to-be-released horror film. What was it like working with James Wan?
Michole Briana White: I play a cop, I get to do a lot of really fun stuff, and it’s so exciting. The movie is so freakin good, so scary, and it’s a roller coaster ride. I’m not saying that just because I’m in the movie. James Wan is a freaking beast. He is so extraordinary, so creative, so authentic, so talented and he just knows his stuff.
Being a part of the film is beyond anything I wouldn’t have could have even imagined. To work with that cast was exciting, too. I really can’t say much more about the movie at this time, but what I can say is that you better run!
Tammy Reese: Also, you have a recurring role in Season 4 of “Goliath” which stars Billy Bob Thorton, what can we expect without giving too much away?
Michole Briana White: That was so exciting. Billy Bob is really one of my favorite actors. He’s so real, simple, and truthful. He says all of these really delicious things to watch and is one of the kindest people you’ll ever meet. The role I play is the Attorney General of California. That itself was super fun and we filmed during the pandemic.
Tammy Reese: Speaking of the pandemic, what was your experience filming from your perspective?
Michole Briana White: For me, it was one of the best years of my life. I mean, there were so many challenging things about the pandemic, but it was just so healing for me. It was a time to really go in and cleanse, clear, so all kinds of healing work. I was in the most relaxed space and state that I think I’ve been in years.
The world stopping leveled the playing field and you got to see everybody in their truth. It took away this whole idea of trying to be this thing or the whole hierarchy thing because we’re all in the same boat. Especially with the whole zoom thing having a peek into people’s lives and just seeing people show up as they are without having to try to be something else. It was just a beautiful time.
Tammy Reese: What are some of the most memorable moments in your career so far?
Michole Briana White: I don’t know that I’m in awe of myself, but I guess if I really stop and think about all the people that I’ve worked with have been some really great people. Something that stands out for me is working with August Wilson. I got to do the original version of Jitney Off-Broadway with August Wilson himself, and with my dear friend, Russell Hornsby, which was just wonderful. I was working with this amazing group of actors, I was the only woman working on this extraordinary piece of work. You don’t always get to do work like August Wilson. His language is just so rich and there’s so much depth to every single character.
Being on stage night after night doing the same thing, but really bringing something new to it every night. Each audience is always different. It was an extraordinary experience, just doing theater in general, but getting to play with all of those men. Russell and these men are a part of my life forever, the ones that are still here, along with the ones that are on the other side now too. That was really a major part of my growth in my career.
While I was doing Jitney, Sidney Lumet came to see the show and I got to do a series with him for two seasons. He’s like the top of the line as far as filmmakers are concerned and legendary. Also during that time, Spike Lee came to see the show as well. I ran into him at a party, I went to him and I said, Hey, I know you came to see Jitney, I didn’t really get a chance to meet you that day but I would love to work with you. The next thing I know, a casting director called me in and I got a role in a couple of his films.
More recently I would say, Randy Huggins, who is the showrunner now a Black Mafia Family, was working on the show along with Felicia Henderson who did “ Reed Between the Lines” which I was a series regular on. I got to go on “The Quad” and sing one of my original songs, and play a character. I was freaking beside myself. On “Reed Between the Lines” because of Felicia Henderson, who I freaking love. She’s a beast, too. I got to sing on the title song and then my original song aired on the sixth episode. I love music too, so much. Whenever I can, I try to incorporate the two because I do license music for film and television. Those are some of the things that stand out to me at this moment.
Tammy Reese: What else can we be on the lookout for from you?
Michole Briana White: I also have a recurring role on ‘Dead To Me” so I just worked on that again recently on Netflix and they’re lovely. I had a ball there. I’m working on some music too. I’m hoping to put something out before the show airs in September. Fingers crossed that I’ll be putting out maybe a single or an EP.
Tammy Reese: What advice would you have for women who aspire to enter the entertainment industry?
Michole Briana White: Love yourself just the way you are and do that every day. It’s more important to be authentically you than it is to try to fit into Hollywood’s mold. The key is to have compassion for you when you feel like you didn’t make the mark. Stay open to new possibilities because sometimes the dream might be different than what you expected. It might be greater than what you expected.
Also, realize when you have to take steps along the way that might not be you. Sometimes you have to work another job that’s not really what you want to do. It’s all part of the piece you’re going to use. At some point in your life, it’s going to matter what you did and make a difference for someone. So trust the process of where you are, and continuously meet yourself with love, compassion, forgiveness, and be authentically you. It frickin matters! The more you stand in the space of just being all of you, you create more space and inspire other people to be all of them and that’s what you’re here to do.
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Multimedia Creative and Personality Tammy Reese is an award-winning Writer and Journalist. Writing and Directing short films on social issues to spread awareness through the arts gained Tammy the Makers: Women Who Make America Award honor on International Women's Day 2019. Tammy currently serves on the Communications Committee for New York Women In Film and Television. She is also the Founder and Owner of Visionary Minds Public Relations and Media.