(Via Ho’okele News)
Actor Chi McBride speaks to 15th Wing Airmen and civilians about diversity during a guest appearance Feb. 14 at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. U.S. Air Force photo by Sr. Airman Chris Stoltz
Tech. Sgt. Terri Paden
15th Wing Public Affairs
Actor Chi McBride of Hawaii Five-0 brought his life philosophies, comedic chops and true Hollywood stories to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, for a meet-and-greet Feb. 14 with Airmen of the 15th Wing.
In the spirit of African American History Month, McBride took a moment to speak candidly about what diversity means to him before sharing personal stories about his life as an actor and answering questions and taking pictures with the audience.
“The only way to truly have and embrace diversity is to have diversity in thought,” said the Chicago native. “We don’t all look the same or think the same and we don’t have to agree, but we do have to accept that others are different.”
McBride, who described himself as, “not the kind of guy to get hung up on race,” also shared his views on the idea of simply tolerating one another. “People deserve acceptance, not tolerance,” he said.
In addition to spreading his message of diversity and acceptance, McBride also shared his passion for the armed forces with the crowd. “I consider myself a patriot because I love this country,” he said. “I wish I were brave enough to do what you do. You sacrifice it all. And I have a deep profound respect for everyone who puts on the uniform and protects the United States of America.”
McBride’s casual demeanor, appreciation for the military and clever sports metaphors about life was a hit with the crowd, drawing a standing ovation at the conclusion of his visit, according to participants.
“I couldn’t wait to come meet him. I was very interested in what he had to say, and I was pleasantly surprised to find he was so open and grounded and I liked his sports references,” said Master Sgt. Alfred Wells, 15th Aircraft Maintenance first sergeant.
“I also like that he said he’s just like us. He goes to work and does his job and then goes home to the things that really matter, like his friends and his family. I was expecting something completely different, but he met us on our level and was relatable.”
Wells, who is a long-time fan of McBride, was also impressed by the actor’s appreciation of the military.
“I think it’s absolutely wonderful how passionate he is about the military,” he said. “You can tell it’s genuine the way he feels, and it’s not just something he’s saying. The fact that he took time out of his schedule to come speak here says a lot about him and his character.”