Brian Tyree Henry Featured In November's Issue Of GQ
"This world is full of millions of people. It's not about you finding them. Or y'all finding each other. It's about you finding yourself." Brian Tyree Henry visits the Center for Civil and Human Rights museum with Zach Baron for the November issue of GQ. The Emmy-nominated actor discusses losing his mother suddenly and tragically in a car accident, what love means, and finding his footing in the industry and society.
"What kills me is everyone's like, 'How do you feel about this Emmy nomination?'" Henry says. "My mother's dead...I'm being real, fucking real with you. It's hard to do this stuff. It's like she just died yesterday, man. I haven't even looked at a photograph of my mom since she died. I can't look at her." He laments that his mother never got to experience a great love. His parents were separated for most of his life, and his mother had unfulfilling relationships. "I remember having this talk with my mother, because I didn't even know what love meant...Because if you don't love this person, why are you wasting your time?" He continued: "I know it sounds skeezy, but she had been on this planet for 68 years and had never experienced a man wanting her or seeing her the way she deserved." He decided that love was figuring out what you deserved, and not waiting 68 years to get it.
At a solidly built 6'2", Henry struggled fitting into the typical mold of a Hollywood star. "I had all these people telling me how I look. Like: 'You're not a leading man. You're not small enough.'" Instead of listening, he controlled his own narrative. He fired agents and got new ones. And now, he's happy: "I have never been more comfortable in the skin I am in now...I love myself, man. I love myself." Henry knows he's good at his craft, and he isn't planning to stop anytime soon. "Acting is my only power to use to get back at those naysayers and those people who feel like I don't belong here. Who feel like I'm not good-looking or feel like I'm not smart enough or feel like I'm not talented. So therefore, I wait until they say 'Action' and I go. That's all I got."
The full feature, with photos by Mamadi Doumbouya, is here.
The November issue of GQ is on stands now. Check out more on gq.com!