In the world of blockbuster movies, he’s Tyrese Gibson. His music fans, meanwhile, have known him for 18 years simply as Tyrese. But by those or any other names, he’s a Black Rose — which also just happens to be the title appended to his new double-album and book, which were released in July as part of a tsunami of activity from the multi-hyphenate star. The bloom is still very much on for the Watts native who rose from among the cracks to become a celebrated singer, rapper, actor, author, designer, philanthropist, entrepreneur and raconteur.
The world already got a significant dose of Tyrese Gibson in 2015 in the form of Furious 7. The April release was his fourth entry in the indomitable Fast and the Furious series — one of two multi-billion-dollar movie franchises with which he’s associated, the other being the Transformers films.
If that’s not enough, throw in a sure-to-be-buzzed-about short film: “Shame,” a 22-minute Paul Hunter-directed mini-movie built around the intensely emotional ballad of the same name. Playing a troubled R&B bandleader from a bygone era, Tyrese co-stars with Jennifer Hudson, who portrays his long-suffering wife and backup singer.
Tyrese was discovered in the early ‘90s. His initial break came when a casting call went out to his high school in 1994 for a 15- or 16-year-old to sing in a Coke commercial. As a result, his debut album Tyrese went platinum and produced a single, “Sweet Lady,” that ultimately won him a Grammy for Best R&B Male Vocal Performance. His breakout success also helped earn him a job as the host of MTV Jams.
In 2001, as Gibson stepped into John Singleton’s Baby Boy in a role that had originally been written for the late Tupac Shakur. He found favor with critics; TV Guide called him “a star in the making.” Entertainment Weekly praised his “broodingly responsive performance as a young man who refuses to grow up because it would mean he’d have to stop fighting himself,” while the New York Times gushed over the role being “acted with such a winning combination of playfulness, vulnerability and sexual dynamism by Mr. Gibson.” For Tyrese and the world’s moviegoers, it was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
When Singleton was drafted to direct 2 Fast 2 Furious two years later, he brought Gibson along in his ensemble cast, and suddenly Tyrese became known as a different kind of movie star. Tyrese also starred in three films from the Transformers franchise, including 2011’s Transformers: Dark of the Moon, currently the eleventh highest-grossing film of all time.
Gibson’s other movie credits include Ride Along 2 and Southpaw. Recently the Hollywood trades broke the news that Universal had optioned a screenplay called Desert Eagle that Tyrese conceived and co-wrote himself. The film will have Tyrese starring as one of two border patrol agents who infiltrate an international drug cartel that’s taken cover in a Native American reservation to avoid detection.
On top of that, his Voltron Entertainment company has interests in a massive film studio complex that’s being built in one of Tyrese’s favorite spots, Dubai. He’s also involved in developing a clothing line for men. And these are just the tip of the iceberg.