Actor Spotlight: Mekhi Phifer

Actor Spotlight: Mekhi Phifer

Cover Story | When speaking about our favorite actors and actresses we often only pay attention to those in lead roles. Mekhi Phifer has seemed to transition between being the main character and a piece of the supporting cast better than most. He has many notable roles in films throughout the 90’s and early 2000’s his most famous is probably “8 Mile” (2002), which starred prominent rapper Eminem. Although the masses may have enjoyed “Future” (Phifer’s role in the film) from the MC battles, my favorite roles came from less mainstream movies. In Honor of his birthday (December 29th) let’s look at a couple.

Paid In Full

Paid in Full (2002)

One of my favorite movies of all time! And while Ace (Wood Harris) was the man, Mitch was my favorite character. His scene in the store with Uncle Ice, may be my favorite scene. Mitch tells Ice “I’m broke baby. I ain’t got no money” and Ice replies “Bullshit, I see you shining nigga.” Is hilarious and adds a lot to the story. His confession to Ace about his fear of losing people’s love if he stops hustling was powerful as well. Sometimes a movie can get categorized as a “hood movie” but the stories are compelling and loosely based on actual characters from New York.

Soul Food

Soul Food (1997)

Everyone who loves 90’s movies, loves “Soul Food”. It’s a classic holiday movie and Mekhi played a convincing Lem. His relationship with Bird (Nia Long) was exhausting but entertaining. The scene in the hair salon was one of the most intense of the movie (I’ve seen similar scenarios in barbershops). However, it wasn’t just this scene, Mekhi was able to show off his emotional range throughout the film. Situations he found himself in like losing his job, getting a new job, and thinking his lady was cheating on him was pulling him in all different directions, and that’s a lot to deal with in a short span of time.


There are other movies I could have mentioned like Spike Lee’s “Clockers”,  “Dawn of the Dead” or even “Carmen: A Hip Hopera” (I didn’t say I liked all of them). He has made quite a name for himself throughout the years in a variety of different films and television shows and is still active today.

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