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Seeing Da'Vinchi From a New View

Da’Vinchi’s career is as high as the 93rd floor mirror-covered room where we photographed him for our cover shoot. Over just a few years, he has managed to solidify his place as a force to be reckoned with from his roles in many of our culture's hit television shows like Freeform's Grown-Ish and The CW’s All American. Currently, he stars as Terry "Southwest T" Flenory in Starz’s new hit drama BMF, produced by 50 Cent. Da’Vinchi is now on top of the world, but his journey has been filled with highs and lows that have contributed to the man he has become. We met the budding star at New York’s premier cultural attraction, SUMMIT One Vanderbilt, to learn more about his journey, family upbringing, and hopes for his future.

The All American star was born in Brooklyn, New York and was raised in New Jersey but his path to manhood would begin when he moved to Florida. He came from two loving parents, although separated, they always worked as a team to instill strong values and pride of their Haitian culture into him and his siblings. During his younger years, the neighborhood that he grew up in wasn’t the most opportunity-friendly aside from the ones that would involve drugs and crime. During those times, without many inspiring forces in his neighborhood to look up to, he, along with others he knew, became attracted to the streets. Unfortunately, many of his childhood friends would succumb to the lifestyle.

When he was around 13 years old, his parents made the decision for him to go live with his father in Florida, a decision and an experience that would save his life. “That experience changed my life. I think if I wasn’t there, you couldn’t ask me about the man I would become because I would be gone. That was one of the most pivotal moments in my life. I didn’t understand what was going on, I just knew that I was getting into trouble a lot,” he shares.

Having that strong father figure present in his life would be the difference between life and death for him. While in Florida he adopted a new mindset and would begin to see things that would inspire him to aspire for greatness. From his father, he would learn discipline, organization, principles, respect as well as a level of class and diplomacy that he would eventually use in his experiences.

Needless to say that without a strong family structure, Da’Vinchi wouldn’t be the man that he is. “Family is super important to me. Family is something that I feel is one of the biggest parts of living. If you don’t have family, a good support system, then your life is pointless. Everything you have really doesn’t mean nothing if you don’t have family to share it with and laugh with and enjoy it. My family supports me,” says Da’Vinchi.

Coming from a traditional Haitian background, he admits that his family wanted him to study medicine and become a doctor but it took some time for his family to accept the fact that he chose entertainment as a career. They always believed in him but like most families, they encouraged him to strive for what they viewed as more stable. Over time, they understood that he has an assignment, one that he has succeeded in. “They support me and are my biggest fans. My dad can’t stop talking about me. Just to see the smiles I put on their faces sometimes is like every kid's dream,” says Da’Vinchi. Even though his family boasts about his accomplishments, he is still getting used to his own celebrity. He says, “I’m still getting used to the fact that people see me the way that they see me. That's still a new thing to me because I never saw myself like that.“ But he admits that “I’m a little more confident with it because I've been doing it for a few years now.”

When you think of television, many people look for shows that would not only reflect current times but they look for something that reflects parts of their life whether it be family, lifestyle or simply the color of their skin. For years, in the Black community, it’s been a struggle to not only have quality programming that reflects who we are but also sustain it and when we do it's often another obstacle. He feels that all of the shows that he has been fortunate enough to work on are shows that reflect the community at different levels. Black-ish and Grown-ish show a family with an education that is living life with normal problems. All American shows another side of life but shows a strong Black mother who wants what's best for her sons. BMF is a show that Da’Vinchi feels resembles his family the most. The mother figure Lucille Felnory (Played by Michole Briana White) is like his own mother who is heavy into her religious beliefs. His dad is very much like Charles Flenory (Played by Russell Hornsby), a man that intimidates you and is a person you wouldn’t want to get caught in trouble by. Growing up, Da’Vinchi was heavy into his academics but also enjoyed the street life, similar to his role as Terry Flenory.

Although the story of the Flenory brothers is one of the bad sides of the drug game, Da’Vinchi shares that the brothers were so much more. They used their wealth to create a better life not only for themselves but for those around them. They provided scholarships, helped to change people's living situations and gave many the opportunity to work and make money for themselves with the legitimate businesses that they opened. Hopefully, this is something that we’ll see as the show progresses but Da’Vinchi kept the next season locked tight so tune in and see for yourself.

Da’Vinchi can currently be seen on Broadway in Thoughts of a Colored Man with multiple shows available until spring 2022. He admits that performing eight shows a week in front of a live audience is physically and mentally demanding but it gave him more of an appreciation for the craft of theater. “I feel like I went to the source and earned my stripes. I just earned my acting stripes. I’m doing Broadway and it’s going to give me this endurance, this stamina, this charisma, and swag on screen now that I never learned. It’s for sure helping me in every way,” he acclaims.

Overall, when people experience the play, he wants everyone to walk away with an understanding of empathy. “Next time you look at a man, it doesn’t have to be a Black or brown man, just have empathy and just understand that there are actions that we don’t see that cause a person to be a certain way. We are our brothers' keeper. I think this show is going to allow people to feel differently about the next man, the next person for a fact.”

Check out the full interview.

Check out our Family Issue.

Photo Credits:

Photographer/Creative Director: J.Monroe

Fashion Assistants: Justin Wiley and Courtney Blackwell

Male Grooming: Sekcenia Rosario


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