Tuesday, September 7, 2010

True Beauty: Persia White

Lynn had always been my favorite. The underachieving, over-educated, sex-loving, tattooed vegan was a free-spirited relief amid a cast of slightly wound up black women on the show “Girlfriends”(R.I.P). Lynn portrayed a different kind of black woman, one who cared about human rights and political issues, and at the same time didn't care about what anyone else thought, especially when it came to her adventurous lifestyle. Ironically, the character of Lynn Searcy was a mirror of actress Persia White's real life, in most aspects. Her involvement in advocacy, environmentalism, and the subversive music scene often played into the show's story lines and showed audiences that black women aren't just materialistic, marriage-obsessed, and hot-headed.

A native of Miami, Florida, Persia White became involved in the arts at an early age. As a teen, she studied dancing, acting, singing and painting. White's initial aspirations involved mainly music, a trajectory that led her to Los Angeles in pursuit of a recording contract. Having rejected several album deals for lack of creative control, she shelved her music career for the time being while building her acting resume. White starred in a number of various television shows and films before landing a permanent gig as edgy hippie chick, Lynn Searcy on “Girlfriends” in 2000. The LA-based sitcom about a close-knit group of four black women, was a platform in which White's character brought to light many social issues including animal rights, AIDS, and the ills of corporate America. Her unabashed attitude toward sexual exploration and penchant for unconventional body art was not only refreshing, but needed in a culture saturated with trite imagery.

During White's stint on “Girlfriends”, which lasted until 2008 when the show was unceremoniously canceled, she continued to pour herself into other projects and initiatives. As a vegan, she is a spokesperson for animal rights group, PETA, and was honored by the organization in 2005 as Humanitarian of the year. She is also a board member for the Humane Society of the United States and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, as well as an active member of Global Green and Farm Sanctuary, promoting the preservation and protection of animals and the environment. In 2005, she co-produced the documentary film, “Earthlings”, a stark, in-depth look at humanity's absolute dependence on animals. She's also the co-founder of Echoed Images, a production company whose goal is to perpetuate conscious, world-changing media.

White's progressive sensibilities are also exemplified through her music. Her deep, ethereal vocals are accompanied by her indie-rock band, XEO3, and is witnessed on her latest solo album Mecca, a combination of underground genres and elements including electronica, trip-hop, blues and rock. Persia White is an example of what true beauty really is...being true to yourself and having an appreciation for the people and world around us.

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