“The Heart Specialist” Interview Part 2

A few weeks ago, I had the distinct pleasure of speaking with actor Brian White.  And just calling him an actor does not do him justice; this man is a youth activist, former lacrosse player, and a licensed stock broker.  It was an absolute pleasure to speak with him about the film “The Heart Specialist” and what he has upcoming. 

Brian was initially drawn to the role based on those who were already cast, Wood Harris and Zoe Saldana.  He also appreciated the script because it showed Black people in a role where you don’t often see us-his character, Dr. Ray Howard, is a Harvard educated doctor, and Harris’ and Saldana’s characters have a unique partnership.  In regards to that storyline, White stated, “You don’t get to see the relationship that Wood and Zoe’s characters’ have-a healthy friendship, a respectful friendship. A lot of love there, but you don’t see any sex.  There’s no raw sex.  It’s very classy-a mutually platonic relationship. They’re leading by example, and that’s what Ray sees.   And that’s what people need to see, especially a lot of African-American youngsters.  And that’s one of the messages we wanted to put out there-how to do things the right way.”   Ray lost the love of his life through his womanizing ways but still wanted to hold on to a piece of their relationship.  But through  the tutelage of Dr. Z, Ray was able to grow up.  Through the meataphors of the medical profession, Ray learned how to love. 

Education and the next generation of African-Americans are some of the essential elements important to Brian.   He feels that our community is lacking in parental involvement and in educating our young.  On his recent UNCF tour, he was able to visit Cass Tech High in Detroit, MI.  After talking with the principal, Brian learned that students’ performance is not soley based on funds; it’s based on parent involvement; White stated, “It’s based on how many parents help their kids with homework at night; it’s based on how many parents are involved in the day-to-day, moment-to-moment activities of their kids. It’s how many parents are calling the teachers and principals telling them ‘Don’t take it easy on my kids. Give ’em the business-we’ll give ’em the business at home. We’ll tag team them.  They won’t have a chance but to focus.’  Those parents in Detroit do that.  The parents where I grew up in Boston do that.  The parents in Colorado, in Denver, do that.  They’re kicking their kids’ butts, and that’s why schools succeed.  That’s why I’m focusing my energy on our community and encouraging my peers and parents [to become involved].  We can’t say, ‘It’s them’ anymore.  We have a Black president.  We have a leading candidate on the Republican side who’s Black.  The playing field is fairly level and that’s how we take advantage of the opportunities that are available to us.  And if I can use entertainment for anything, it’s to get information out to people to empower them.  Complaints go away and information and elevation happens.” 

Brian has TONS of things upcoming!  His latest movie, “Politics of Love”, co-starring Mallika Sherawat, Ruby Dee, and Loretta Devine, premiered in the US, Asia, and Europe.  In February 2012, “Good Deeds” will be released.  And “The Cabin in the Woods” makes its U.S. debut in April of next year.  He also wrote a book, Black Carpenter, the “young person’s guidebook to essential tools for life”, which is currently available on its website at www.blackcarpenter.org and www.amazon.com.  And don’t forget that “The Heart Specialist” is currently out on DVD. 

To stay in touch with Brian, you can find him on Twitter at @ActorBrianWhite, on the web at www.brianwhiteonline.com, and to see his tour schedule, visit the Black Carpenter website.  I want to thank Brian for allowing me to interview him.  He has such a warm spirit and genuinely cares about people and leaving this world a better place than when he found it.  He not only talks about empowering others-he’s doing something about it.  For those of you in DC this weekend for Howard’s homecoming, you may see Brian out and about…and your favorite Southerner! 😉  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!

“The Heart Specialist” Interview Part 1

“The Heart Specialist”, a romantic comedy based on a true story starring Wood Harris, Zoe Saldana, Brian White, Mya, and a host of other stars, initially premiered at the Boston Film Festival as a short in 2006.   After winning the festival, it took writer/director/producer Dennis Cooper a few more years to secure funding and turn this film into a full length feature.  This past Tuesday, October 4, “The Heart Specialist” was released on Blu-Ray and DVD.  I had the great pleasure to speak with two stars from the film, Mya and Brian White.  This post will detail my conversation with DC area native, Mya.

We all became familiar with Mya with her debut single “It’s All About Me” in 1998.  Since then, she has gone on to release six studio albums, appear in dozens of shows and movies, and won a SAG award for her performance in “Chicago”.   She’s currently working on her 8th album K.I.S.S. (Keep it Sexy & Simple) Version 2.  With an upcoming birthday (October 10), Mya is continuing having fun in her life but staying busy.  “The business is challenging”, Mya states, “but I stay grounded by having my spirituality and having a great support system.”  When asked what drew her to the role of Valerie, the ex-love interest of Brian White, Mya told me it was her “personal experience.  I was interested in the way the film exposed the medical field; plus the script was pretty funny.”  While she originally filmed this in 2006, she didn’t spend too much time with the entire cast, many of whom were added on later, but she still keeps in touch with Zoe (Saldana) and Wood (Harris). 

Mya always knew she wanted to act…but in the theater.  Growing up as a dancer, she had no idea her career path would take her down the road she’s travelled.  When asked if she knew her musical career would branch into modeling and film, Mya stated, “I never saw myself as a model; that’s not something I aspired to be.  But I did design a lot of sketches and outfits I saw being made for stage shows.  I did that before I even got my record deal.  So I definitely thought I would be designing over modeling.  Regarding acting, Broadway was something I wanted to be a part of early in my teens; so definitely acting, but maybe more in a theatrical way, in live stage performances.”   Regarding her experience while performing in the Oscar winning movie “Chicago” and thus winning her Screen Actor Guild’s Award for Best Acting Ensemble, Mya described her experience in one word-“AMAZING!” 

Mya continues to stay busy and has numerous projects and activities on which she’s working.  First, K.I.S.S. Verson 2 will be released via her website, www.myamya.com, in December 2012.  She will also participate in a marathon on November 6 in New York City for the ING NYC Marathon.  To find out more about Mya’s team, to hear her personal message, and to donate, visit her site at www.AnimalLeague.org/RunMya.  To keep in touch with Mya, visit her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MissMya

I want to thank Mya for allowing me to interview her.  Don’t forget to get your copy of “The Heart Specialist”, currently available on Blu-Ray and DVD!  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!

Mya with co-star Brian White