Barry White: R&B Legend, Children's Entertainer And Former Gang Member

The late R&B legend Barry White - who was born 72 years ago today - had a smooth bass-baritone voice that relaxed people's nerves while getting their hips shaking to hits like Can't Get Enough of Your Love, Baby. And the cannabis strain named after him is much the same. Berry White is a hybrid from the strains Blueberry and White Widow. According to Leafly, Berry White relieves your stress and anxiety while putting you in an upbeat mood. 

In fact, Mat Lee of Stuff Stoners Like recommends it for consumers who like to put on some music during a session - whether to boogie or just to sit and chat. So if you're in a legal state, roll one up, put on some 70's soul and check out these other bits of Barry White trivia, taken from a 1995 interview with Rolling Stone.

1. Children's entertainer

With his sensuous voice and suggestive lyrics, Barry White's music isn't really appropriate for kids. But that wasn't always the case. Before making it big in the 70s, he was a struggling musician. So to make ends meet, he once wrote songs for the TV show The Banana Splits. Here's how he recalls his brief career as a children's entertainer. 

"1968. I'm starving to death, living in L.A. Friend of mine asked me to submit some songs. I told him yeah, I like cartoon shows, and I need the money. A guy that was there with me told everybody on the streets. But to make a long story short, I submitted two songs, and they ['The Banana Splits' producers] took them both." 

Here's one of those tracks, written but not performed by White.

2. Diehard gamer

When asked to surprise readers by naming some of his lesser-known hobbies, White did not disappoint.

"Playing video games. NFL football, golfing, bowling. I love that; I love watching my saltwater-fish aquarium. Five hundred gallons. I can sit and do that for eight hours straight."

3. Gangbanger

White lived a luxurious life after rising to fame. But he came from the streets. And he even joined a gang in his youth. 

"I'm an ex-gangbanger," White told Rolling Stone. "I come from southeast L.A. I didn't only hear about the 1965 riot, I was in it. I understand the disappointment, the anger that people have. I had the same."

And so did his brother, who later succumbed to the gang lifestyle. The loss of Darryl inspired Barry to reach out to troubled kids and prevent them from following in his brother's footsteps.

"[Darryl] was my best friend and my life till he died. He was night, and I was day. He loved the criminal world the way I love the music world. We both had the same knowledge. One took it and went this way, one took it and went that way. So I tell young people the truth, and a lot of them listen. They know I've been to jail. I've never hid my past, and I never will. I don't want no young person to think he's stuck in that misery."

4. The difference between loving and being in love

Despite singing about romance for most of his adult life, White said he only fell in love once. The experience was so negative that he decided that he would never let himself fall in love again. And he shared that advice with others.

"When I was a teenager I deeply fell in love with this young girl, not understanding the philosophy of love. To make a long story short, what I learned is that when you fall in love, you've lost contact with reality. You are slowly giving the power of your will and mind to something else. That's where possessiveness, jealousy comes from. Out of all the emotions we get, jealousy is the worst of the negatives. So all I do is love, I don't fall in love. Love as honest as you can, as strong as you can, but never, ever fall in love. You'll remember I told you this as long as your memory lasts."

Banner image: Barry White tijdens het Grand Gala du Disque Populaire 1974 ( 


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