Born in Detroit on New Year’s Day in 1999, Diamond White made a huge splash auditioning for Fox-TV’s “The X-Factor” at just 13 years of age. She stunned judges Simon Cowell and Britney Spears and wowed the crowd with an unforgettable rendition of “It’s a Man World.”
That launched the multi-talented ingenue’s singing and acting career marked by memorable voicework on some of today’s most-popular animated shows: “Transformers: Rescue Bots,” Disney’s “The Lion Guard” and “Pinky Malinky.” She’s also been making live-action movies and, here, talks about reprising the role of Tiffany in Tyler Perry’s Boo 2! A Madea Halloween.
Kam Williams: Hi Diamond, I’m honored to have this opportunity to speak with you.
Diamond White: My pleasure, Kam!
KW: I just finished watching your original audition for “The X-Factor.” It literally left me in tears.
KW: Absolutely! It was especially moving because of Simon Cowell’s condescending tone towards you even before you started singing. It was like he was deliberately trying to make you nervous. I was touched that you still had the composure and confidence to bring your A game in front of that huge audience.
DW: Well, thank you.
KW: Have you ever seen that video of James Brown and Luciano Pavarotti’s duet of “It’s a Man World?”
DW: I don’t think I have.
KW: You, of all people have to check it out. How did you come to try out for the show?
DW: I was dared to audition by one of my friends. So, when I went in, I wasn’t really worrying about whether the judges might be super-mean or super-intense. I was just there to have fun, and felt that whatever happened, happened.
KW: Speaking of fun, have you had fun doing Boo! and Boo 2!?
DW: Yeah! And I actually had more fun making the second one, because I was less nervous about working with [director/co-star] Tyler Perry.
KW: Was it hard working opposite so many comedians?
DW: Not really. Whenever I’m in a room with funny people, I kinda just play off of them. My role here wasn’t to be funny. It was just to give people a hard time which I do naturally. [Chuckles]
KW: Is a Boo 3! already in the works?
DW: I have no idea. I’m not in the loop when it comes to that.
KW: Which do you prefer, acting or singing?
DW: Acting and singing go hand-in-hand. Whenever you sing, you act out a story, especially in music videos. Acting is a muscle I like to use while singing. I’d say I’m definitely an artist first.
KW: Who have you been listening to lately?
DW: I’ve been watching alot of SWV [Sisters with Voices] and Aaliyah videos.
KW: What are you working on, musically?
DW: Tomorrow, I’m releasing the video for my song “Cleopatron.” And I’ll be dropping a new single every month until I go on tour later this year. They’re all written by me. No fake songs. So, I’m letting people inside my head.
KW: In terms of acting, do you prefer live-action or voiceover work?
DW: I’m a really big fan of cartoons, and I’ve been doing animation for awhile, but I’ve got to say live-action because there’s a lot more going on. And it’s more fun to be able to watch as well as listen to myself, even though sometimes I hate what I look like.
KW: And do you prefer doing TV or film?
DW: Film! I really want to get into indy films and play some riskier characters. It’s been a dream of mine to do an action film where I get to kick some butt.
KW: Harriet Pakula-Teweles asks: With so many classic films being redone, is there a remake you’d like to star in?
DW: The Bodyguard.
KW: The Uduak Oduok question: Who is your favorite clothes designer?
DW: I really like Gucci, but not very expensive things that take away paychecks. Sorella’s really nice, too.
KW: Ling-Ju Yen asks: What is your earliest childhood memory?
DW: The day a classmate painted on my Juicy Couture blouse at school. That was the day I realized I was a bourgie kid. I was about 5. My mom got mad and complained at the school like Madea.
KW: What is your favorite food to eat?
DW: I like really, really, really pastas. A good fettuccine Alfredo with chicken and shrimp is my go-to.
KW: The Viola Davis question: What’s the biggest difference between who you are at home as opposed to the person we see on the red carpet?
DW: That’s a very interesting question. At home, I’m really to myself. I can write in my journal and listen to music for hours. I like to be social, but some people are scary. So, I have to kinda prepare myself mentally to be on the carpet. Once I’m in that frame of mind, red carpets are easy.
KW: When you look in the mirror, what do you see?
DW: I see a human who’s always changing. I never see the same person twice, because there’s always something different going on in my head. But I’ve always seen a strong black girl in the mirror since I was little.
KW: Has that strength served you well in your career?
DW: In the film industry and in the music business, you don’t see many dark-skinned females being shown in the light they deserve. I’m hoping to change that because how we’re represented is really important. That’s something I carry with me all the time.
KW: Do you have a generic question that I could ask other celebrities?
DW: I have a good one. Ask them to share a thought that they’ve never even put on paper?
KW: Is there any question no one ever asks you, that you wish someone would?
DW: It’s always the simple questions, like: How are you feeling today? No one ever asks: how are you actually doing?
KW: Well, how are you doing?
DW: I’m about to get my hair done. And I always feel really good after getting my hair done. [Giggles]
KW: Larry Greenberg asks: Do you have a favorite movie monster?
DW: The Demogorgon on Stranger Things.
KW: Judyth Piazza asks: What key quality do you believe all successful people share?
DW: I think anyone who’s creative is definitely a little crazy. It’s tough to be courageous enough to pursue a wild idea.
KW: What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
DW: Auditioning for X-Factor. But I still do something crazy everyday.
KW: The Anthony Mackie question: Is there anything that you promised yourself you’d do if you became famous, that you still haven’t done yet?
DW: I hate using the word “famous.” I don’t think it means much anymore, because there are so many people all over the internet who are famous for no reason. I see myself as successful. It’s always been a goal of mine to buy my mom a house in L.A. that’s ten times better than our home in Detroit that burned down.
KW: “Realtor to the Stars” Jimmy Bayan asks: What’s your dream locale in Los Angeles to live?
DW: She wants to be in Calabasas. But some parts of Calabasas are apparently very ratchet [i.e., ghetto] now. And I can’t have her living in a bad area.
KW: What advice do you have for anyone who wants to follow in your footsteps?
DW: Have a goal, but don’t have a fixed plan on how to get there. Be flexible and make smart choices, because you don’t want to see yourself in a bad light.
KW: Finally, Samuel L. Jackson asks: What’s in your wallet?
DW: I don’t have a wallet. I just have my driver’s license, a credit card, my allergy medicine and a few dollars in the bottom of my backpack. [Laughs]
KW: Thanks again for the time, Diamond. I look forward to speaking to you again soon. .
DW: Me too, Kam. Thank you soooooo much!
To see a trailer for Boo 2! A Madea Halloween, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=feRTw6OK_Ks
To see Diamond White’s audition performance of “It’s a Man World” on “The X-Factor” at just 13 years of age, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VGVZ82AEaWo
To see James Brown and Luciano Pavarotti’s duet of “It’s a Man World,” visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Febr_t_qa9U
To see Diamond’s new music video, “Cleopatron,” visit, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_-dy-CisUQ
To order a copy of Boo 2! A Madea Halloween on Blu-ray, visit: https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B077XG5H29/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20