Ever since actor Brian Tyree Henry was introduced as rapper Paper Boi on Donald Glover’s surrealistic FX comedy Atlanta (season 2 premieres Thursday, March 1), people have been singing the character’s trap anthem. Outside of that, Henry has had his own “glow up,” receiving Emmy nominations for appearances on acclaimed shows (This Is Us) and landing roles in major feature films (Widows, Hotel Artemis, If Beale Street Could Talk). Prior to spitting rhymes as Paper Boi and before signing on to his huge slate of feature projects, Henry was neck deep in the theatre world. He stopped by the New Hollywood Podcast to talk about his experiences on Broadway, working as a black actor and his career trajectory.
A native of Fayetteville, North Carolina, Henry graduated from Morehouse College before going on to the Yale School of Drama. He was part of the original Broadway cast of the Tony Award-winning musical The Book of Mormon and starred in numerous plays including a production of Romeo and Juliet where he played Tybalt opposite Oscar Isaac’s Romeo. He is currently on Broadway starring in the revival of Kenneth Lonergan’s drama Lobby Hero opposite Michael Cera and Chris Evans.
In the episode, Henry also talks about living in and being influenced by a house full of females, the importance of listening and representation in Hollywood, his life as a Xennial (the lingering generation between Gen-X and millennials), and his hopes to have dinner at Oprah’s house. Listen below.