Dondre Whitfield

Faithful / Authentic / Spiritual

GROWING UP:  I am from Brooklyn, New York. I graduated from High School of the Performing Arts. My first job was on The Cosby Show. I came out of a tough neighborhood in Brooklyn. That isn’t my life story. If it was I would be locked up.

CURRENT GIG: I am an actor on Mistresses on ABC and in the midst of creating a talk show. My wife and I are producing our first annual charitable event for our foundation that benefits sickle cell anemia. I am fortunate enough to be successful in the industry to provide for my family. I have an 8 yr old daughter and 4 yr old son.

EXPERIENCES WITH RACE:  I was living in Brooklyn and was riding bikes with my friends. We rode into a section in Queens we should have not been. We went into a pizzeria to buy lunch. As we were leaving, we noticed a lot of people were surrounding us. It felt like a scene out of a movie. They started pelting us with rocks. I was shocked and didn’t understand why this was happening. It was very surreal. We didn’t steal anything or do anything wrong, but it had that feel that people were out to get us. That was the first time I was face-to-face with racism and I realized I have to deal with this. I now sometimes get the “N” word sent to me on Twitter, the internet makes everyone courageous it seems. I see that there are still folks who are extremely lost and harboring so much negativity. It is so difficult to fathom how people hold on to this kind of stuff.

FINAL THOUGHTS:  I focus on living a balanced life that is based in spirituality. As gentle as I am to my family, I am a warrior too. I make sure to feed all parts of me. I do krav maga and boxing and I love doing stand-up comedy. I get so much joy providing for my family. We are members of a country club now. I was never able to do most of the things I wanted when I was a child. I was only able to do things that we could afford. Now my children have more options than I did growing up. They are able to explore and find inspiration in trying new things and be as creative as they want. People find their true passions when they can sample different things. I find that we, all races, are really alike and want the same thing. We want harmony, peace and non-violence for our community and family.

Photographed by Spencer Susser