Mehcad Brooks: ‘Supergirl made me realise how sexist I was’

Actor Mehcad Brooks has a lot to thank Supergirl for – after popular roles in Desperate Housewives and True Blood, it’s propelled him back onto primetime TV once again.

But even more notably, it made him realise that he was – unintentionally – sexist.

It’s a brutally honest admission from Mehcad, 38, and not one you’d expect a Hollywood actor to so freely admit in this era where any celebrity is a candidate to get called out on social media for any controversial statement they make.

Still, Mehcad said it anyway and you have to admire his unfiltered honesty and self-awareness.

The TV star, who plays James Olsen in Supergirl, told ‘Supergirl has done some incredible things for me. It made me realise I was sexist.

‘It made me work on that. It made me realise that I have male privilege and that’s a real thing and I never really thought about that because I’m a black man in America. I don’t have any racial privilege so I’m constantly preoccupied with that inherited agreement that America has been at my feet.

Mehcad is full of self-awareness

‘That I have to respond to how you feel about my race, so much so that I wasn’t thinking about male privilege.’

Mehcad credits being surrounded by ‘super strong women’ who are telling female-driven stories, for forcing him to ‘think about shit’.

The CW series stars Melissa Benoist in the lead role as Supergirl aka Kara Danvers, with Mehcad alongside her as James Olsen.

Further calling out his own institutionalised sexism, Mehcad continued: ‘It made me stop and think, I’m a dude raised in a patriarchal society and I haven’t questioned these agreements that I’m participating in so that means, I’m sexist.

‘It got me thinking about my life and what I was participating in. And not just be an ally to feminism but a participant in it.’

Mehcad reveals that his self-realisation made him question the character he plays on the show, and pushed him to raise the issue with series writers.

Mehcad released his debut album May 20th last year

He explained: ‘It’s this moral [compass] that my character James and I have in real life. The more he gets involved in it on the show and the better he gets on the show, the more it makes me a better person.

‘The more I grow and evolve as a human being, I talk to the writers about that. [I ask] “Can we tell this story? Can we talk about racism? Can we go this route?”’

He added: ‘We’ve been able to do that and mix those two worlds. It’s really helping me, it’s shown me the truth about myself in many ways.’

Yep, got to admire his honesty.

If there’s one thing you take away from speaking to Mehcad, even for just a few minutes, it’s that self-awareness is key.

It likely comes from two horrific, life-changing moments that quite literally cost him his life – temporarily.

One of the first things that comes up when you Google Mehcad’s name, is that he ‘passed away’ in 2009.

You read that correctly.

Mehcad has a lot to thank Supergirl for

Ten years ago, Mehcad was struck down with an amoebic microscopic parasite, a water-based infection he contracted while in Africa.

He suffered with the illness for 18 months – people battling the parasite usually die after six months without treatment, so he was already a medical anomaly.

Eventually, it completely took hold of him and Mehcad was rushed to hospital before ‘dying’.

Recalling his ‘death’ experience, Mehcad said: ‘They say your life flashes before your eyes – it doesn’t. That’s not how it works. You’re on the edge of this orb of existence, you’re witnessing your entire life and on the edge of this existence of your life that’s not chronological.

‘Here’s last week, here’s five minutes ago, here’s when I was 10 years old, here’s when I was 20.’

He continued: ‘I think once you crossover, you become aware of your spiritual body, you become aware of your spiritual memory. You realise this place that you’re at is this place you’ve been before.’

After realising it ‘wasn’t my time’, Mehcad came back but, bizarrely, a year to the day later he got into a car crash and again fell into a coma when he ‘died’ for a second time.

The actor recalled: ‘I was in severe pain but once all your senses start to come back, your hearing, your sight.

‘I didn’t really know what happened, I just knew that if I ever got out of that hospital bed again… I asked myself just one last conscious question before I crossed over, which was: “Did you do what you was supposed to do while you were here?”’

It was this second experience that finally pushed Mehcad to understand why he was given these extra chances at life – to create music.

And thus, his musical personal King Gvspv was born.

Mehcad explained: ‘I told myself if I ever get out of this bed, there was this small quiet voice of truth that we all have.

‘It said, “No, you didn’t try full force for a music career and that broke me”. That hurt worse than dying.

‘I knew that I’d allowed fear to get the best of me and here I was on my deathbed at 28-years-old.’

Mehcad believes his ‘original agreement’ is to be a storyteller, whether that’s through acting or music.

The actor said: ‘I think we all have kingdoms inside of us and you can rule that kingdom. If you can rule that kingdom, you’re good on the outer side. All that other shit becomes a little easier.

‘We’re just borrowing this body. We’re just soul travellers in this ocean of existence.

‘I did not feel away from home when I crossed over, I felt more at home.’

Mehcad Brooks’ new single, Oceans, celebrating female empowerment, is out now.

Supergirl continues on CW every Sunday.

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Mehcad Brooks: ‘Supergirl made me realise how sexist I was’