RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. — For Riviera Beach native Jevon White, his greatest cheerleader is his 88-year-old grandmother, Gladys White.
The pandemic has put more distance between them over the past year, but thanks to technology, it hasn't weakened their bond.
"Even if she says, 'I love you, I'm proud of you,' or 'I love you' or 'I see you,' and she even used emojis sometimes," Jevon White said.
Out of 29 grandchildren, she said, Jevon White has always been her favorite.
"The minute I seen him after he was born, I knew he was gonna be something special, his grandmother said.
She wasn't wrong. After graduating from William T. Dwyer Community High School, he enlisted in the military, where he would serve eight years, part of his commitment to rising above the adversity and stereotypes attached to minorities in Riviera Beach.
"Yeah, I witnessed that, and a lot of the stereotypes are true," he said. "But there are more stereotypes that people don't know about -- about Black excellence like Black leadership."
Jevon White still lives in Riviera Beach, a place he said has always been home.
"A place of opportunity also having adversity," he said. "It also means foundation and growth."
The community provided fertile ground to cultivate a longtime passion -- acting and producing.
What started as a few roles as an extra recently culminated in a speaking role in the current top-rated Netflix movie, "Thunder Force," starring Melissa McCarthy and Octavia Spencer.
Grandma couldn't be more proud.
"I'm so grateful that God allowed him to be where he is, and at my age he allowed me to see him be where he is," she said.
While his face is on TV and mobile screens around the world, Jevon White is still pumping his efforts into Riviera Beach and his nonprofit organization called Character Development, aimed at mentoring aspiring actors and producers.
?God gave all of us talents," his grandmother said. "All of us got something inside of us we can offer to the world."
For those watching "Thunder Force," it's a couple hours of entertainment. For Jevon White, it's much more.
"How do you measure success? My success comes from me being obedient to my steps that God has given me," he said.
Steps that led him right back home.