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Brian Tyree Henry Opens Up About Fame and Pain in GQ

“Fame is kind of scary. It doesn’t allow you a chance to be damaged, or slip up.”

Atlanta & This Is Us star, Brian Tyree Henry opens up about personally trying to figure out his way to his newfound stardom in GQ. He speaks about his dying love for his Atlanta cast-mates, what he's learned from Donald Glover, his newest movie role alongside Melissa McCarthy, and starring next to Get Out star, Daniel Kaluuya in the upcoming thriller The Widows, starring Viola Davis.

However, there are downsides to fame.

Tyree says his often misunderstood: from his large frame, to reserved and quiet demeanor; he's had his fair share of "no's" from the industry .

“I had all these people telling me how I look. Like: ‘You’re not a leading man. You’re not small enough.’ I have never been more comfortable in the skin I am in now.”

The most tumultuous confession, however, is how not many can get past his celebrity to see a man in pain. He admits to having troubled unhealed memories about the passing of his mother, and having to work, meet people, and present himself to opportunities while holding that.

“What kills me is everyone's like, ‘How do you feel about this Emmy nomination?’ ” Henry says to me. “My mother's dead. Every time I close my eyes, I see my hand on her casket. Every time I close my eyes, I hear my necklace bang on her casket. That's the last time I saw her. That's the only thing that gets me out of bed, and it's sometimes the thing that keeps me in it. So being busy helps, but y'all don't understand. If she's not here to see it, I don't really get a chance to rejoice in it. You know what I mean? I've buried a person every year for three years. I lost my best friend to cancer; then I lost my other best friend the next year to lupus. And I lost my mom to a fucking car accident. She wasn't even sick. She died in the most awful fucking way. So it's like… I haven't had a chance to even think about that. But I still have to survive. I like to believe that all these blessings are them. But it would be really nice to look to my left and see my mother sitting there when they call my name. You know? And I'm being real fucking real with you. It's hard to do this stuff. It's just like she died yesterday, man. I haven't even looked at a photograph of my mom since she died. I can't look at her. And yet people are still celebrating and lauding this thing that I did about my mom. When, at the end of the day, I can't really rejoice in what I did, because I'm still in pain.”

This brings a completely new perspective to his character "Paper Boi" in Atlanta. Paper Boi lost his mother, and hasn't spoken to his cousin Earn since her funeral. He finds himself frustrated with Earn's get-rich-quick scheme in the show's premiere, and we really got to see the pain highlighted in S2 E8, "The Woods", an episode he solely leads.

Read the full article over at GQ.

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