North Carolina native, Hillside grad dishes on his 'Genius: MLK/X' role: 'Anything is possible'

Joel Brown Image
Wednesday, February 21, 2024
Durham native discusses TV role in 'Genius: MLK/X'
The season finale of Genius: MLK/X includes a performance by a Durham native Brandon Henderson who's on the rise in Hollywood and took a unique path to winning the role.

DURHAM,N.C. (WTVD) -- The parallel relationship between Malcolm X and Martin Luther King is the focus of this season's Genius series on NatGeo.

This week's season finale of 'Genius: MLK/X' includes a performance by a Durham native -- on the rise in Hollywood - who took a unique path to winning the role.

In Thursday night's episode, viewers relive the final days of Malcolm X. The civil rights icon had broken away from the Nation of Islam and was beset with anxiety and paranoia about his eventual assassination.

"So Malcolm is under warning of that situation. And we'll let you guys see how it plays out," said Brandon Henderson who plays one of the suspicious men fueling Malcolm's anxiety.

Henderson spoke to ABC 11 from Atlanta, where he has lived since graduating from Morehouse College. But he spent his formative years growing up in Durham.

He was a basketball star at Hillside High -- focusing more on his hoop dreams than Hollywood dreams, despite the push toward the stage and screen from Wendell Tabb, Hillside's legendary former drama director.

"Mr. Tabb tried several times to convince me to be a part of the drama core. And I was playing a lot of sports at that time. Basketball was driving me," Henderson recalled. "He tried to convince me, saying, 'I know you're an athlete. But there's a there's an artist in you buddy'."

Since college, Henderson's been flexing that artistic muscle mostly as a director. But while working behind the camera on MLK/X, producers pushed him to take a role on the other side of the lens.

"They saw a little bit of my portfolio and they're like, 'Brandon, why have you not told us that you were an actor'."

In the eight episodes of MLK/X, creators dramatize the two visionaries' rise to pioneer a movement.

"For me, it was good to be able to relive a few of these moments. To be able to appreciate both of their legacies," Henderson said before offering some words of wisdom to aspiring creators back home in the Bull City.

"Don't quit.," he said. "This is not something that often happens fast. If you keep yourself in a space of faith over fear, anything is possible."

The final two episodes of GENIUS: MLK/Xair tomorrow night on NatGeo starting at 9:00. You can see Brandon Henderson in the finale at ten. It's streaming the next day on HULU and Disney+.

NatGeo, Hulu and Disney+ are all part of Disney, the parent company of ABC11.