This year has been game-changing for 26-year-old actor Da’Vinchi.
First, there was his lead role in the 50 Cent-produced crime drama series “Black Mafia Family” on Starz. The show, inspired by true events in Detroit from the ’80s, premiered in September and aired its season one finale this past weekend; season two will begin filming in Atlanta early next year.
Shortly after “BMF” debuted, the actor made his Broadway debut in “Thoughts of a Colored Man” in October. The original ensemble play written by Keenan Scott 2nd — which stars seven Black men, each named for a specific character trope including “love,” “depression” and “wisdom” — is notable for being led by Black creative talent on and offstage.
“Eight shows a week is a lot of work,” says the young Haitian American actor, noting that the reward for the work has been huge. “It’s very taxing on the body and on the mind, but I am learning a lot. You learn something from theater acting that TV and film can’t give you,” he adds. “I know Broadway is a game-changer as a young actor.”
Da’Vinchi stars as “lust,” a young character whose self-centered machismo is countered by the earnestness of his foil, “love,” played by Dyllón Burnside.
“As a kid, feeling like I was hot s–t and I can talk to any girl or whatever — that was not me. So playing that character ‘Lust’ is so far from who I am as a person,” says Da’Vinchi, adding that he resonated more strongly with the “love” character, rooted in spoken word performance. (The actor has dabbled in spoken word himself.)
“At first I was hoping I could switch my character around, but it happened the way it happened, and at the end of the day, all things [happen] for the greater good, I believe,” he says. And while his character isn’t always the most popular with audiences, “Lust” represents the ability to grow and evolve. When his character is called out for bigotry by the older barber, “Wisdom,” he’s able to take in the different point of view.
“What I’ve learned from my character is that sometimes people just don’t know better,” Da’Vinchi says of what audiences can take away from his character. “People don’t know better when they’re not taught.”
He will continue in the show through January, after which he’ll start filming the next season of “BMF.” While he’s enjoyed the experience of being onstage, he’s excited to return to onscreen work. “It’s tough, but knowing that it touches people and is affecting people in a dope way, it fuels us a lot. We’ll get up onstage to do what we do,” he adds of his Broadway “bootcamp” experience.
The actor, who was raised in Brooklyn and New Jersey and spent part of his childhood in Florida, saw acting as a road out of poverty.
“I was always fascinated by filmmaking and art,” says Da’Vinchi, whose earlier screen roles include “Grown-ish” and the sports drama “All American.” “And you put all those things in a bowl, and then you get the actor. All those things — I love storytelling. I love creating. I wanted to make it out of my situation, and something was telling me strongly to pursue the arts, and I did.”
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