Entertainment

Forest Whitaker’s daughter True is becoming a star

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When True Whitaker was in third grade, she had a school biography project. The task was to choose a famous person, do some research and write a little about his life. Pretty normal stuff for an 8 year old and, one would think, a pretty simple task for a kid whose father is Forest Whitaker.

“It was around the time my dad was shooting ‘The Last King of Scotland,'” True, now 23, told The Post. “My mom, my sisters, my brother and I flew to visit him in Uganda.”

Now for the plot twist: “I was having a meeting with Nelson Mandela.

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Tamara Beckwith/New York Post

“So I was able to sit down and talk to Nelson Mandela, and I was able to interview Winnie Mandela, who was his wife at the time. There’s a picture of me and Nelson Mandela holding hands and talking, and I’m like eight years old,” she laughed. “I wish I was older so I could have really understood the importance: how crazy and iconic that moment was. Those kinds of experiences I will treasure forever.”

Such is the life of a famous offspring, and a refreshingly self-aware one. True, the youngest of four children, was raised in Los Angeles by her mother, actress Keisha Nash-Whitaker, and her father, an actor, director, writer and producer, who co-starred in “Panic Room,” “Black Panther,” “The Butler” and many other films.

“I feel like I’m half my mom and half my dad. My mom has put a lot of her energy into me. She is very outgoing, very funny… I feel like my mom has perpetuated my comedic side,” True said of Keisha, who split from Forest last year. “My dad is fun too, but he’s a bit quieter in public spaces. My mom is always at 10, in a good way.”

True Whitaker (bottom left in 2007) and her sisters Sonnet and Autumn were raised by Forest and Keisha Whitaker in Los Angeles.  (Brother Ocean is not shown.)
True Whitaker (bottom left in 2007) and her sisters Sonnet and Autumn were raised by Forest and Keisha Whitaker in Los Angeles. (Brother Ocean is not shown.)
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True has also inherited many traits from her father: “My wit and my empathy. I feel like it taught me and my brother and sisters to approach life with a sense of understanding and openness to different kinds of people in this world, to embrace different kinds of people, with different energies and from different walks of life. .

“I have always been very close to both of my parents. Sometimes a little too close, maybe, I feel like I share everything with them. Even if it’s like, ‘Oh, dad, I followed a cute boy [on social media] today!’” added True, who is single. “It’s literally anything and everything. But I love feeling like I can be myself and not be afraid of being judged by my parents. I am very grateful for the close relationship we have always had.”

Another thing that runs in the family is the love of movies and television. At 18, True moved from Los Angeles to New York City to pursue a creative writing degree from New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Studies.

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Tamara Beckwith/New York Post

“I feel like I took every creative writing course they had to offer, to figure out what part of writing I really wanted to perfect.” She graduated last year and lives in New York.

“Writing has always been an emotional thing for me. Whenever I was overwhelmed with joy or sadness or any other kind of emotion, I would always turn to writing. I feel that sometimes when I speak I am not as concise as I could be when I write. It gives me a different feeling of power, so I’ve always loved it.”

And yes, he is also interested in acting.

“I acted in the last season of ‘The Godfather of Harlem’, starring my dad. I had a character named Sandra. It was definitely a challenge, but I loved every second of it and hopefully, because it’s filming right now, it will come back,” he said of the Epix series.

Although she didn’t have any scenes with her father, True recalled the first time she saw him on set, which was also her first day of filming.

True said she inherited her wit and empathy from her father, Forest Whitaker.
True said she inherited her wit and empathy from her father, Forest Whitaker.
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“I didn’t even know it was there at first. But when we were done, I walked off set and a guy came up to me and said, ‘Oh, you just missed your dad. I was like, ‘What?’ I guess he was secretly watching with a little monitor somewhere.

“It’s a great support,” he laughed. “When I went back up to my dressing room, I found him there with balloons and a bottle of champagne, congratulating me. It was really special, of course, to be able to do that with my dad.”

Ultimately, True hopes to continue acting and writing professionally. In fact, ever since she graduated from NYU, she has been working on a treatment for a television series with playwright, writer and director (“Almost Christmas”, “First Sunday”) David Talbert, who is also one of the her mentors.

“I have a billion drafts in my series. I hope that in years to come you will see and be able to feel and hear my voice and understand the things that matter to me,” she said. “Anything I work on is going to be something that means something to me.”

While it remains to be seen whether he will star in the show if it is made, he plans to continue to pursue other acting opportunities.

“I’ve been doing a lot of auditions. I’m signed to William Morris [Agency], and I love my agent, he has given me many opportunities,” he said. “I hope that gets better soon, because I’m very passionate about acting.”

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Whitaker is also passionate about social activism, just like her father. (Forest is an official supporter of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, UNESCO special envoy for peace and reconciliation, and founder of the Whitaker Peace and Development Initiative.)

“No matter who I am, what family I come from, what my father does or how successful he is, wherever I go, I am a black woman. So I will meet the challenges that this country presents us with because of its horrible history. As a very tall, dark-skinned black woman, I feel my blackness wherever I go. Even when I walk into a store, I sometimes feel like I have to buy something or keep my hands in sight,” she explained. “I will always feel the strange microaggressions. But I also have a sense of power, of course, being a black woman. I want it to be known that we deserve this kind of recognition and success, so that we can live as I have lived. I am so proud that my father, as a black man, was able to give this life and this legacy to us, a black family.”

True’s Instagram bio reads “Black Lives Matter / Protect Black Women!”, and among family photos and selfies, you’ll find photos of marches and protests.

“I stand up when I see things happening in the world that I think are wrong,” he said. “We need to put a little peace in the world, put a little love and care into it.”

True’s Instagram also features photos and videos from the more glamorous side of her life, like debutante balls, red carpets and celebrity-studded nights out, but she insists her everyday reality is pretty normal.

“I just try to work on my writing and spend time with the people I love. Obviously, if there’s an event I’m invited to, it’s crazy to go and I love being included. I always love being thought of! But I wouldn’t say I do it that often.”

In fact, you’re more likely to run into her at a karaoke bar.

“My sister and I, actually. In our own time, we like to practice. We’ll perfect a song and then we’ll go into a karaoke bar. We will be harmonizing, doing too much, showing off our skills. We literally did it the other day, it was so much fun,” True said.

His current favorite song is an old but good one from 2007: “’Potential Breakup Song’ by Aly and AJ. They’re having a resurgence, so we’re embracing it.”

Photos: Tamara Beckwith/NY Post; Stylist: Heather Blair; Hair: T. Cooper/crowdMGMT using Cricket Company; Makeup: Markphong Tram/ABTP using Maybeline; Location: PHD Rooftop at Dream Downtown.

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