By: Nathaniel E. Ballantyne
Haitian American actor and producer Macc H. Plaise is featured on Showtime’s new series “Flatbush Misdemeanors,” a show which premiered Sunday May 23, 2021, on Showtime, addressing issues of race, and gentrification on an ever-changing New York landscape, where people’s daily lives are marked by challenging situations that can only be overcome by the exercise of incredible ingenuity.
The show’s Flatbush Avenue setting represents many American cities where longtime Black residents are displaced by White newcomers and forced to co-exist in an ever-changing neighborhood, where rents become unaffordable, thus forced to relocate to undesirable places. The show does not push the envelope or advocate a specific point of views, it simply deals with these issues in an off-guarded way, allowing the situations to play out.
The first episode of the show features a Black cop confronting another Black man on the grounds of a school on Flatbush Avenue, accusing him of being a “kidnapper or a child predator”. The cop insists on searching him. The suspect was just delivering food, and the cop seizes it, stirs the food with his pen, licks it before chasing after a kid nearby, who jumped over a fence. Whatever threat there had been in the scene’s earliest moments has been defused; the cop seems more like a goofy annoyance, a frustrating part of life in this cultural mosaic calls New York City.
On Sunday, May 23, 2021, Haitian American households in Brooklyn, N.Y., and other parts of the United States were glued in front of their TV sets to watch one of their own, Macc H. Plaise. Unfortunately, Macc does not appear on the show until episode 3, which is scheduled to air on June 6, 2021. The show is in its first season and out of the 10 episodes that have been recorded; Macc will also appear in episodes 8, and 10. If it the show does well, there will be many more seasons to come.
Macc plays a Haitian Baptist minister named Wilner, who is married to a Nigerian woman. Wilner is 48 years old, a strict Haitian father of a young High School girl who’s religious. His daughter, Dami, was born in the United States and is more American than Haitian, which is hard for Wilner to deal with, considering his Haitian upbringing. The character represents the multicultural aspect of Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn, with its multitude of ethnicities negotiating life on their own terms.
Macc has been an actor since 1994, having his first debut appearance on America’s Most Wanted: America Fights Back, a TV series documentary by the producers of America’s Most Wanted. Over the years, Macc Plaise has appeared in more than twenty films and TV series. His most significant appearances included Mr. Deeds with Adam Sandler, in 2002, playing a Jamaican Rasta and in Bad Company, as a car washer, which was a significant role. Every performance has allowed him to refine his craft.
Bad Company followed the same year, with Chris Rock and Anthony Hopkins playing a three Card Monte Player. There’s also his performance in Brooklyn’s Finest, in 2009, in the company of Richard Gere and Don Cheadle.
During an interview for this article, Macc Plaise said, “There is no small role. I approach every role with the same seriousness and tenacity. I love what I do because every performance is a moment in history that captivates and contributes to the storyline.”
Macc is better known for his role on Red Lipstik (2000), The Royal Tennenbaums (2001), In The Cut (2003), One More Try (2006), Kaleb (2013), Kreyol Creole (2014), The Breaks (2017), Brooklyn Bluez (2017), Forever Yours (2016), Luke Cage (2018), The Land of Steady Habits (2018) and, of course, Flatbush Misdemeanors (2021).
One of his biggest accomplishments was the production of Sweet Micky for President a documentary about the intersection of music and politics when Kompa’s bad boy Michel Joseph Martelly decided to run for President of Haiti, after the 2010 devastating earthquake that took the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. The documentary featured appearances by Sean Penn, Ben Stiller, Wyclef Jean, and Pras Michel.
The documentary won the “Best Documentary” award at the Slam Dance Film Festival in 2015. It was nominated in the best documentary category at the Black Reel Awards, and Atlanta Film Festival Award in 2015. “Sweet Micky for President” takes the audience on an unbelievable, wild ride through difficult Haitian politics, in a story that is both entertaining and educational. The film is an enormous accomplishment for first-time director Ben Patterson and is a great example of why Slam Dance exists – to celebrate new works by new directors whose film can help change our perspective on the world – one story at a time.”
WHO IS MACC H. PLAISE?
At the tender age of 8, in Baby Doc’s Haiti in the early 1980’s, his oldest cousin, Jean Yves Muscadin Jason, who served as Mayor of Port-Au-Prince from 2008 to 2012, took Macc to the movies when there were movie theaters in Haiti. As they drove home together that night, the curious youngster wondered out loud whether the people in the film were real. His cousin had to explain to him that the people were actors and that their stories were made for entertainment purposes.
The young boy was so enamored of what he had experience, he decided he wanted to be a filmmaker and an actor. The next morning, with some ingenuity and quick thinking, he gathered some stick figures, a kerosene lamp, some matches, some strings, a white sheet and made his version of a movie. Since then, Macc became known as the neighborhood filmmaker. Every night, the neighborhood kids would gather in his yard to watch the silent film he created.
His passion for acting, filmmaking, and physical fitness became more pronounced after reuniting with his mother in Brooklyn, New York, at age 14. Following his graduation from Erasmus Hall High School, he attended HB Studio in Greenwich Village in New York City, La Guardia Community College, and Marymount Manhattan College where he studied acting and theater.
During his college years, he acted in plays at the school’s black box, which is considered an off-Broadway gig. Macc Plaise’s first leading role was a short romantic comedy entitled “One More Try” (2006). Seven years later, the director asked him to appear in the feature-length adaptation of the short romantic comedy under a new title, “Forever Yours” (2016) in which he played a charming lover and won the best actor award at the “MPAH Haiti Movie Awards”.
Macc is not only an actor, he’s also a trained Martial Arts expert. In 1992 he won the National Black Belt League, LightWeight World Championship.
In 2010, after the catastrophic magnitude 7.0 on the Richter scale earthquake in Haiti, Macc founded “Let’s Go to Haiti Marathon, Inc., a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to Haiti’s youth and sports. Since 2013 “Let’s Go to Haiti Marathon” has organized a yearly marathon event in Haiti where marathoners worldwide come to Haiti to run. The event provides young and less fortunate athletes and runners an opportunity to develop their talents and encourages tourists to visit Haiti.
Macc resides in Long Island, N.Y. He has four sons and one daughter, Peyton, Moella, Owen, Walo, and Exand.
Follow Macc at https://instagram.com/themaccplaise?utm_medium=copy_link