Flashback to the nineties, and Mekhi Phifer was quite a rage in Hollywood. He shot to fame overnight with Spike Lee’s Clockers, followed by the hit ensemble comedy Soul Food. He was also part of the cast in one of the best slasher movie franchises of all time; I Still Know What You Did Last Summer. In the iconic video for The Boy is Mine, the audiences saw him being fought over by Brandy and Monica.
With the dawn of the new century, too, the New Yorker could well continue his success story, landing some significant roles in box office hits such as 8 Mile, Honey and Dawn of the Dead, and so on. He was also the center of attraction in an MTV-friendly adaptation of Othello and Carman.
What’s more? Mekhi Phifer also won acclaim in his portrayal of the role of the ill-fated Dr. Gregory Pratt, who is destined to a tragic death in the six-season spell of ER. However, it’s interesting to note that while Phifer never fell short of work, he maintained a low profile over the last five years, staying away from the limelight wondering why you don’t see much of the actor these days? Well, here are our two bits on the same!
Mekhi Phifer’s Media-Shy Personality
He married and eventually parted ways with Malinda Williams, his co-star in the movie High School High. He also had a child with his one-time fiancée Oni Southara. Then he got married for the second time to Reshelet Barnes, the creative director of NBC, but Mekhi Phifer has always maintained his distance from the media throughout these personal evens of his life.
He Is Serious About Paying It Forward
Mekhi Phifer was raised in Harlem by his mother, Rhoda Phifer. She was a teacher who worked in the education sector for over two decades. Following her death in 2019, Phifer entered into a collaboration with breakfast bar brand Nutri-Grain. This was his way of paying tribute to his mum’s legacy.
As part of the campaign, several K-12 teachers across America received one million bars of Nutri Grain’s finest to ensure that students never miss the most important meal of the day. According to him, his mother always went beyond her teaching career by choreographing all the school plays and teaching kids for free. This move was aimed towards helping low-income families who were badly hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
You May Find Him Playing a Dad These Days
During the 90s, when he delivered a slew of memorable roles, he was in his twenties, and hence, mostly essayed the roles of teenage drug dealers or high school students. However, nowadays, he adorns the silver screen in father figures. For example, in the 2020 release Love, Victor, he played the female protagonist’s dad. Thankfully, the established actor has no qualms about playing “grown-up” supporting roles.
Many of His Recent Films Have Been VOD
In recent times, Phifer’s career has been mostly confined to television. However, it’s not that he has bid adieu to films for good. Since 2016, he has been signing about one film every year, but they all have a VOD affair. This explains why you haven’t been seeing him on the silver screen.
Mekhi Phifer Spends Quality Time With His Kids
Besides playing onscreen fathers to perfection, Phifer has also been doing daddy duties diligently. In the late 1990s, he first became a father when his first wife Melinda Williams gave birth to son Omikaye. Eight years later, he experienced the bliss of fatherhood again when he welcomed Mekhi Thira into the world along with fiancée Oni Southara. In his media statement, Mekhi Phifer mentioned he loves enjoying outings, camping, sports, Legoland, and all such stuff with his kids.
‘Being Challenged ‘ Is What Matters to Him
Mekhi Phifer has consciously avoided being too predictable in the roles he chose. According to him, he has designed his career in a way that steers clear of stereotypical roles, even if that means being away from the spotlight. He needs to satisfy the artist in him, and hence, he settles for interesting but different roles.
Keeping a Distance From Social Media
Mekhi Phifer has always prioritized keeping his private life private. No wonder he isn’t very active on social media. His Twitter account mostly comprises retweeted messages about his past work or links to his latest Instagram posts. He occasionally shares pictures on Instagram in the form of family snaps and various candid throwback or behind-the-scenes pics.
Now you know why you’ve been missing him in action! Insider sources have also confirmed that Phifer pursues several interests apart from his onscreen avatar. He’s not only a keen poker player, but has also donned the hat of an entrepreneur, is associated with a non-profit organization, and what not! It looks like all these areas keep Mekhi Phifer busy enough.