Michael Jai White
|Intro||American martial artist|
|A.K.A.||Michael Richard Jai White|
|Is||Actor Film actor Athlete Martial artist Screenwriter Television actor Voice actor Film producer Stunt performer|
|From||United States of America|
|Field||Film, TV, Stage & Radio Sports|
|Birth||10 November 1967, Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA|
Michael Richard Jai White (born November 10, 1967) is an American actor, martial artist, and director. He is one of the first African Americans to portray a major comic book superhero in a major motion picture, having starred as Al Simmons, the protagonist in the 1997 film Spawn. White appeared as Marcus Williams in the Tyler Perry films Why Did I Get Married? and Why Did I Get Married Too?, and starred as the character on the TBS/OWN comedy-drama television series Tyler Perry's For Better or Worse. White portrayed Jax Briggs in Mortal Kombat: Legacy and the Cyborg Seth in Universal Soldier: The Return. He portrayed boxer Mike Tyson in the 1995 HBO television movie Tyson. He also played the title role in the blaxploitation parody film Black Dynamite, as well as the animated series of the same name.
White was born in Brooklyn, New York and moved as a teen to Bridgeport, Connecticut, where he graduated from Central High School in 1985. He later graduated from Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven, CT.
White is a martial artist in eight different styles: Shōtōkan, Goju-Ryu (for which he studied under Master Eddie Morales where he learned to sharpen his Goju karate technique), Taekwondo, Kobudō, Tang Soo Do, Wushu, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and Kyokushin, with a specific focus in Kyokushin Karate (although his style incorporates aspects of many different martial arts forms). White started training in the martial arts at the age of seven in Jujutsu. He next took up Shōtōkan and moved on to other styles later.
White is a former special education teacher and taught students with behavioral problems for three years. He cites his history in education as the reason why, despite his personal love for the music genre on "a lot of levels", he cannot "in good [conscience]" have a positive opinion on hip hop or "excuse some of [its] pervasive and destructive elements", mainly due to his experience with youngsters who had difficulty seeing the difference between it and real life.
White's first major starring role and breakout performance was in the 1995 HBO film Tyson, as heavyweight boxer Mike Tyson. He portrayed the eponymous character in the 1997 movie Spawn, making him the first African American to portray a major comic book superhero in a major motion picture. His work in Spawn earned him a nomination for the Blockbuster Entertainment Award . White starred opposite Jean-Claude Van Damme in Universal Soldier: The Return, in 1999. A few years earlier, he acted in Full Contact, with Jerry Trimble. In 2001, he also starred opposite fellow martial artist Steven Seagal in Exit Wounds. In 2003, he starred in Busta Rhymes' and Mariah Carey's music video "I Know What You Want". Since 2003, in addition to his on screen roles, White has been doing voice work, including Static Shock and the Justice League. White showcases his martial arts skills in the direct-to-DVD film Undisputed II: Last Man Standing. He also appears in Michelle Yeoh's Silver Hawk in 2004. He appeared in Kill Bill: Volume 2, although his role was cut from the theatrical release. His film Why Did I Get Married? opened at number one at the box office on October 12, 2007.
White played the role of the mob boss Gambol in the 2008 film The Dark Knight. He also starred in the film Blood and Bone and the blaxploitation homage Black Dynamite, both released in 2009. White wrote the scripts for both Black Dynamite and his upcoming 3 Bullets in which he stars with Bokeem Woodbine.
On March 30, 2010, White appeared on The Mo'Nique Show to promote his film Why Did I Get Married Too. The two joked about the acclaim that comes with winning an Oscar. In May of that year he appeared in the music video for Toni Braxton's new song "Hands Tied" from her album Pulse, as well as the Nicki Minaj music video for "Your Love" as Nicki's sensei and love interest.
He also starred in Kevin Tancharoen's short film Mortal Kombat: Rebirth, as Jax Briggs, and reprised the role in Mortal Kombat: Legacy, a webseries from the same director. He recently posted on Twitter that he would not be returning to the role for the second season, but would return for the 2013 film.
White made his directorial debut and starred in Never Back Down 2: The Beatdown, which was released on home video on September 13, 2011.
White also provided the voice of Green Lantern in the video game Justice League Heroes.
From 2005 to 2011, White was married to Courtney Chatham and together they have a daughter named Morgan. In addition, White has two sons. In February 2014, White announced his engagement to actress Gillian Iliana Waters. In April 2015, White penned an open letter via Facebook entitled "Apologies to My Ex's", where he credited Waters for helping him become, "the very best version of myself." In July 2015, White married Waters in Thailand.
In 2014, White was honored with the Fists of Legends Decade Award at the Urban Action Showcase & Expo at HBO. On November 8, 2019, he assumed "The Mantle of The Black Dragon" from Ron van Clief, Don "The Dragon" Wilson, Cynthia Rothrock, and Taimak, in a ceremony at the 2019 Urban Action Showcase & Expo at AMC 25, NYC.