Embracing The Creative Spirit With Netflix “What/If’s” John Clarence Stewart

John Clarence Stewart is an actor, writer and singer-songwriter widely known for his roles in Marvel’s Luke Cage and Netflix’s What/If. In an interview with QG, he shared his story about self-realization, choosing a life path, and remaining true to a creative vision. He also gave his perspective on honoring the human experience through storytelling that reflects people from all walks of life. Stewart’s journey to becoming an actor began in his last semester of high school when he and a friend auditioned for a school play. After overcoming reluctance, he sang for the teacher and was selected to be part of the cast.

Expressing one’s self through the art of storytelling is what inspires Stewart most about acting. It allowed him to break away from the conservative beliefs he disagreed with growing up and find personal liberation by creating his path in life.

High school teachers and college professors were instrumental in encouraging him to follow his passion. He feels fortunate to have so many positive, influential people in his life that helped him along the way. “The universe has always brought the right people in my path at the right time to say the right things in the right season of my life,” Stewart states.

He found his big break in theater acting by being cast in the titular role for Kimber Lee’s play, Brownsville Song (B-Side Tray). It was a life-changing experience for Stewart as an actor. The play tells the tragic tale of an African-American boy growing up in Brooklyn whose life is unexpectedly cut short. This was his first time playing a lead role in a play, and he felt a deep connection with the character and the story. This was the pivotal moment that catapulted him to stardom.