Actor and martial artist Michael Jai White joined Sherman and Tingle on Q101’s morning show. White was born in Brooklyn, New York and from the age of fourteen was teaching karate at the local YMCA to earn cash whilst fighting in tournaments and dancing in contests. He then became a junior high school teacher; teaching emotionally disturbed children in fifth, sixth and seventh grade before moving to Los Angeles to pursue a career acting.
White’s first major role was as the heavyweight boxer; Mike Tyson, in the 1995 HBO film Tyson. Since then he has performed in a variety of films such as Spawn and The Dark Knight but during this interview, he chats to Sherman and Tingle about his latest movie Black Dynamite. White has been practising martial arts since he was eight years old and as it is such as huge part of his life, he wanted to keep it a big part of the movie so you can expect tones of fight sequences and martial arts within Black Dynamite. Sherman and Tingle got a screening of the film previous to the show and Tingle described White as a “martial arts freak” and was amazed by how brilliantly executed the fight scenes were.
The film is set in the seventies because White wanted it to be just like the movies he grew up watching. He explained to Sherman and Tingle that he originally came up with the idea and wrote the movie himself before getting his friends together to get it produced. He informed Q101 listeners to keep their eyes peeled because there are a lot of little cameos within the movie such as Tommy Davidson and John Salley.
Growing up White had a tough youth and wrote Black Dynamite from his memories; although he was not as crazy as Black Dynamite, he was pretty wild. Despite his troubled youth he told the guys that his lifestyle now is pretty boring; he has never been drunk and never been high because he feels “pretty darn good” without the need to!
As well as the new film, White chatted to the guys about the technique of martial arts and explained that he believes within the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), Lyoto Machida is one of the only true fighters. In White’s opinion, the fighters in the UFC look like “glorified bouncers going at it” and even though the UFC is entertaining, a lot of the fighters are not skilled fighters. However, you are now beginning to see real martial artists entering the UFC such as Machida who has been learning for years how to condition his knuckles so that he is able to break bricks and boards without wearing padding. White compares the two types of fighting as having different ethics, like street basketball and professional basketball; there are a lot of ethics within professional basketball that street basketball players do not learn.
During the last section of the interview, White showed Q101 listeners an example of the elements that he believes these martial artist do not learn and explains through a punch at Tingle! He threw three punches at Tingle, making the third punch a lot slower than the first two. Despite the decrease in speed, this technique was successful every time and White amazingly managed to still punch Tingle even though he was trying his hardest to dodge the punches.
Black Dynamite was released on October 16th 2009 and since then has won “Best Film” in the Seattle International Film Festival and been nominated for several awards within the Black Reel Awards and Image Awards. To see more live interviews, performances and unforgettable Q101 moments, visit our YouTube channel.