Michael Jai White
Michael Jai White
November 10, 1967
|Occupation||Actor, voice actor, martial artist|
|Spouse(s)||Courtney Chatham (2005–2011)|
Gillian Iliana Waters (2015–present)
Michael Jai White (born November 10, 1967) is an American actor, voice actor and martial artist. He was the first African American to portray a major comic book superhero in a major motion picture, having starred as Al Simmons, the protagonist in the 1997 film Spawn.[note 1] 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 in Static Shock and 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.
In October 2019, White announced the spiritual successor to Black Dynamite titled The Outlaw Johnny Black officially entered pre-production. Despite the Indiegogo campaign not reaching its goal, he was still able to secure enough backers and additional donors to get the project off the ground. It is currently available for pre-order on the official website, although a release date has not been announced or confirmed.
In October 2020, White's latest film Welcome to Sudden Death debuted on Netflix and became one of the most watched films on the platform.  The Universal Pictures Home Entertainment release is a remake of the 1995 movie Sudden Death starring Jean-Claude Van Damme.
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.
|1989||The Toxic Avenger Part II||Apocalypse Inc. Executive|
|The Toxic Avenger Part III: The Last Temptation of Toxie||Apocalypse, Inc. Executive|
|1991||Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze||Audience Man||Uncredited|
|True Identity||Alley Guy #1|
|1994||On Deadly Ground||Stunts|
|Tyson||Mike Tyson||Television Film|
|1996||2 Days in the Valley||Buck|
|1997||City of Industry||Odell Williams|
|Spawn||Albert "Al" Simmons / Spawn|
|Thick as Thieves||Pointy|
|1999||Breakfast of Champions||Howell|
|Universal Soldier: The Return||SETH|
|2000||The Bus Stop||Short film|
|2001||Exit Wounds||Lewis Strutt|
|2002||Trois 2: Pandora's Box||Hampton Hines|
|Kill Bill: Volume 2||Da Moe||Deleted scene|
|2006||Undisputed II: Last Man Standing||George Chambers||Direct-to-video|
|2007||Why Did I Get Married||Marcus|
|2008||The Dark Knight||Gambol|
|2009||Black Dynamite||Black Dynamite||Also writer|
|Blood and Bone||Isaiah Bone||Direct-to-video; also producer|
|Three Bullets||The Man||Short film; also writer, producer and stunt choreographer|
|2010||Why Did I Get Married Too?||Marcus|
|Mortal Kombat: Rebirth||Jackson "Jax" Briggs||Short film|
|2011||Never Back Down 2: The Beatdown||Case Walker||Direct-to-video; also director|
|2012||We the Party||Officer Davis|
|Freaky Deaky||Donnell Lewis|
|The Philly Kid||Arthur Letts|
|Falcon Rising||John 'Falcon' Chapman|
|Skin Trade||FBI Agent Reed|
|Chain of Command||James Webster|
|2016||Beyond the Game|
|The Asian Connection||Greedy Greg|
|Never Back Down: No Surrender||Case Walker||Direct-to-video; also director|
|Chocolate City: Vegas Strip||Princeton||Direct-to-video|
|2017||Cops and Robbers||Michael|
|S.W.A.T.: Under Siege||Scorpion|
|Making a Killing||Orlando Hudson|
|Dragged Across Concrete||Biscuit|
|2019||The Hard Way||Payne||Direct-to-video|
|Undercover Brother 2||Undercover Brother|
|2020||Welcome to Sudden Death||Jesse|
|2021||Batman: Soul of the Dragon||Bronze Tiger (voice)|
|The Commando||James Baker|
|HeadShop||Reverend Carter||Direct-to-video; filming|
|The Outlaw Johnny Black||Johnny Black||Direct-to-video, also director|
|1993||Saved by the Bell||Military Police Man #2||Episode: "Wrestling with the Future"; Uncredited|
|Renegade||Luther - Dawn's boyfriend||Episode: "Vanished"|
|1994||Martin||Valdez||Episode: "Arms Are for Hugging"|
|Living Single||Steve||Episode: "Hot Fun in the Wintertime"|
|1995||JAG||Navy Petty Officer Peter Quinn / Lt. Martin Payne||Episode: "Brig Break"|
|NYPD Blue||Off. Reginald 'Reggie' Fancy||2 episodes|
|Tyson||Mike Tyson||TV movie|
|1996||Captive Heart: The James Mink Story||Elroy||TV movie|
|1999||Mutiny||Ben Cooper||TV movie|
|2000||Wonderland||Dr. Derrick Hatcher||Recurring|
|Freedom Song||Coleman Vaughnes||TV movie|
|2001||Boston Public||Darren Schofield||Episode: "Chapter Eighteen"|
|Soul Food||Russell Banks||Episode: "Who Do You Know?"|
|2003||CSI: Miami||Officer Roy Bailey||Episode: "Hard Time"|
|Justice League||Doomsday||Voice, Episode: "A Better World, Part 1"|
|2003–04||Static Shock||Osebo||Voice, 2 episodes|
|2006||Justice League Unlimited||Doomsday||Voice, Episode: "The Doomsday Sanction"|
|Getting Played||Actor||TV movie|
|2007–08||Tyler Perry's House of Payne||Bryan||3 episodes|
|2008||The Legend of Bruce Lee||Ali||3 episodes|
|2010||The Boondocks||Bushido Brown / Cop||Voice, Episode: "Stinkmeaner 3: The Hateocracy"|
|One Angry Juror||Derrick||TV movie|
|2011||Batman: The Brave and the Bold||Tattooed Man||Voice, Episode: "The Scorn of the Star Sapphire!"|
|2011–17||Tyler Perry's For Better or Worse||Marcus Williams||Main cast|
|2011–15||Black Dynamite||Black Dynamite / Jim Kelly / CIA Member||Voice, Main cast; also producer|
|2012||Somebody's Child||Douglas||TV movie|
|Aqua Something You Know Whatever||Zucotti Manicotti||Voice, Episode: "Zucotti Manicotti"; uncredited|
|2012–14||Métal Hurlant Chronicles||Balt||2 episodes|
|2013–19||Arrow||Ben Turner / Bronze Tiger||10 episodes|
|2016||The Crooked Man||Milo||TV movie|
|2017||Insecure: Due North||Zeke||Episode: "201"|
|2006||Justice League Heroes||John Stewart / |
|2007||The Underground Bounty Hunter||Hatch|
|2011||Mortal Kombat: Legacy||Jackson "Jax" Briggs||2 episodes|
|2012||Métal Hurlant Chronicles||Teague||Episode: "King's Crown"|
|2014||Métal Hurlant Chronicles||Balt||Episode: "The Endomorphe"|
|2016||Enter the Dojo||Himself||Episode: "How to Fight a Clown"|
|2003||"I Know What You Want"||Busta Rhymes and Mariah Carey featuring The Flipmode Squad|
|2010||"Your Love"||Nicki Minaj|
|2010||"Hands Tied"||Toni Braxton|
|2012||"Let's Go"||Calvin Harris featuring Ne-Yo|
- "Michael Jai White is first Black comic superhero to star on the movie screen in 'Spawn.'". Jet magazine. September 22, 1997. Archived from the original on May 25, 2012. Retrieved October 17, 2009.
- "Male Celebs Who Practice Martial Arts", Jet magazine, Sept. 24, 1903, at pp. 38-39.
- Pollard, Edward. "Michael Jai White Ignites Black Dynamite". Black Belt Magazine. Archived from the original on January 2, 2010. Retrieved 2009-12-27.
- Taco the Town: Michael Jai White Archived 2010-06-10 at the Wayback Machine
- Howlett, Sandy (August 27, 2014). "The Kyokushin Karate Roots of Michael Jai White". www.blackbeltmag.com. Black Belt Magazine. Archived from the original on January 4, 2018.
- Black Dynamite Interview with Michael Jai White and Scott Sanders. Midcmedia. February 11, 2010. Retrieved 2019-12-17.
- "New Mortal Kombat Promotional Featurette Delivers the Goods". dreadcentral.com. June 8, 2010. Archived from the original on February 22, 2014.
- Morales, Wilson (September 13, 2011). "Never Back Down 2: Michael Jai White". Blackfilm.com. Retrieved December 11, 2011.
- "Justice League Heroes (Video Game 2006)". IMDb. Retrieved 2019-12-17.
- "A Michael Jai White Remake Of A Van Damme Bomb Is Now One Of Netflix's Most-Watched Movies".
- "Michael Jai White's Adorable Baby Girl". Archived from the original on 2009-01-24. Retrieved 2009-01-23.
- Bailey-Tureaud, Kimberly (3 February 2014). "Michael Jai White and fiancée Gillian Iliana Waters share the secret to their romance". Las Vegas Black Image. Retrieved 10 March 2016.
- Williams, Brennan (15 April 2015). "Michael Jai White Writes Letter Of Apology To His Ex-Girlfriends: 'I Believed All Women Were Crazy'". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 10 March 2016.
- Caslin, Yvette (8 July 2015). "Exclusive: Michael Jai White and Gillian Iliana Waters tie the knot". Rolling Out. Retrieved 10 March 2016.
- 2014 Urban Action Showcase International Action Film Festival & Honoree Awards. YouTube. Retrieved 2014-01-27.
- Zirogiannis, Marc (November 9, 2019). "Michael Jai White Assumes The Mantle of the Black Dragon". Taekwondo Life Magazine. Retrieved 9 November 2019.
- George 'El Guapo' Roush (June 8, 2010). "Mortal Kombat Fans, This Is The Hard 'R' MK Movie You've Been Waiting For". latinoreview.com. Archived from the original on June 11, 2010.
- Sesma, Christian (2016-06-24), Vigilante Diaries, retrieved 2016-08-29
- Taylor, Kelly. "Michael Jai White on new film 'Vigilante Diaries' and finding his soul mate". Fox. Archived from the original on May 1, 2017. Retrieved 2016-08-29.