WJBF – Actor and content creator Dennis “L.A.” White has had a love for acting since he was a kid, and now, he his living his dream and sharing his wisdom with others.
Thank you for so much for joining us on Celebrating Black Excellence. Now let’s get started with your background and your beginning. How did you get started with acting?
As a kid, I always would do theater. During Black History Month, I would always do “A Dream Deferred” by Langston Hughes. My parents were heavy into Black history. My mother was a musician at the church, and I would always perform. It’s just something that I evolved into doing that I loved.
Now, your middle initials are L.A. What’s the significance with that?
Yeah, everyone thinks it’s like, “Yo, L.A., cuz! Like, I’m from Los Angeles, Hollywood!” But I wish it was that glamorous. The honest truth of it is, those are my middle initials: Lamar Allen. So, it’s Dennis Lamar Allen White, and that’s how it was from birth. To be honest with you, I didn’t really want to use L.A. White. I did a movie called The Brave One with Jodie Foster, and at that time, I was I was doing music. I was rapping under the guise, Dennis the Menace. SAG (Screen Actors Guild) listed me as Dennis “L.A.” White, and I just stuck with it.
So, you’re originally from Fayetteville, North Carolina. What made you transition from Fayetteville to Los Angeles?
Well, I was born in San Bernardino, California in Southern California. We moved to Northern Cal. My father was in the military, and he got stationed in Fayetteville. When I was in Fayetteville is when I was in theater classes and doing regional theater. And, you know, my journey started from there, from moving to West Palm Beach to do theater, moving to D.C. to do theater, teach acting, and study, and then moving to New York to really begin my film career. Then, I moved to L.A., and L.A. was a natural progression for any actor. So, that’s how it culminated.
Now, you recently were in Kandi Burruss and Todd Tucker’s The Pass, which premiered on Peacock. How was your experience doing the movie?
You know what, it was really great because it was a bunch of friends. We all knew each other from Blue Kimble to Rob Riley. We did Bad Dad Rehab together. He came on my show, Clubhouse Cinema. Todd and I go way back. Reece Odom and I did projects together. So, it was a bunch of friends together. So, when you’re on set filming, and everyone is friendly, and you go way back, it makes the day go by quicker. So, the storyline was really different and cool, and so, we just had a blast filming it.
And you all shot this film in ten days, correct?
Man? Oh, my goodness! Long days, crazy long nights. But, you know, shout out to Todd Tucker and Kandi Burruss. You know, they are some definite visionaries from the stuff they’re doing on Broadway and from the music to television. They really had great vision, and I was just honored to be a part of that amazing cast.
In the movie, you played Deon, who was married to Shay, which is actually played by Kandi. For people who haven’t seen the movie, tell us about your character.
Well, Deon convinces Rob Riley’s character to use “the pass,” which is giving your significant other a hall pass to have an extracurricular activity with another woman or man without having any retribution. So, I put that seed in him, and he utilized that in his relationship with Drew Sidora’s character. I come off as the comic relief: cracking jokes and just being funny.
Now, SPOILER ALERT, if you have not seen the movie already, we are about to get into some things. Now when you read the script for the end because I think that’s like everybody for a loop, what were your initial thoughts when you read it in the script?
I was like, “This is freaking awesome!” (Laughs) I didn’t see it coming, and I think a lot of people didn’t see it coming. I know when I read it I was like, “Oh, what a twist.” And I like movies like that where you don’t know what’s going to happen at the end, and it’s not predictable. I think this is definitely gonna catch a lot of people off guard.
Now, I did read an interview that there is a Todd [Tucker] could be working on a part two. So, if you can predict what you think would happen in part two, what would it be?
Well, I think in part one the storyline was about Rob Riley’s character being the point man. So, I think it is going to shift to someone else’s character being the point man… or woman. I think Drew Sidora’s character is probably going to try and get some get back, you know, which she deserves to do that.
What has the reception been that you’ve seen for The Pass?
Man, It’s been amazing. You know, we’re in the middle of a strike for the Screen Actors Guild. So, it was kind of challenging about the way we can promote it and talk about it. Thank God, we shot it before the strike, but it’s been like wildfire. People have been watching it. People have been hitting me up and have been surprised about the twists and turns of it. And then it also helped that, unfortunately, Drew Sidora is going to do some situation with her current marriage. You know, there’s some other stuff that’s going on involving another woman. So, it kind of helped give some buzz to the movie. And then, you know, it’s just a really good movie and different story, and It’s fun!
Now, you’re also teaching a virtual acting class. Can you please tell us what the class entails?
Yeah, so, my company is called Act Like You Know, so I’ve been teaching for 12 years now. So, I do private coaching with celebrities and also upcoming actors. My goal is just to help these actors learn the business of acting and become working actors. You know, it’s great to go and learn how to be in character, and I teach that as well and break down scripts, but also know how to find work, get work, and continue to have work.
If anybody who wants to register for the class, is it too late or can they do so still? How can they do so?
it’s kind of too late. I’m thinking about opening up to some more students. We’ve got another class coming up too: a workshop. Go to www.actlikeyouknowdot.org, and I’ll give you some information for the new class that is opening up.
Now, if you have to give any advice to someone who wants to get into acting or content creating, what advice or some words of encouragement can you give someone?
Invest in yourself. Stick with it. I always say the three Ps: prayer, perseverance, and persistence. You pray about what you want, you persevere through the trials and tribulations, and you’re persistent: you don’t stop, and you don’t quit.
Now if people want to follow your journey, how can they do so?