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Lasting bonds: ‘Bruh’ explores relationship among four Black men in their 30s

Mahdi Cocci stars as Dr. Tom Brooks in the BET+ series “Bruh.” The series was created by Tyler Perry. (Courtesy of Charles Bergmann/BET/Tyler Vision, LLC)

Mahdi Cocci is drawn to projects with strong storytelling, and that’s why the actor was intrigued by the script for the BET+ series, “Bruh.”

The series is created by Tyler Perry. It examines the contemporary world of dating, career and friendship through the lens of four African American men with a brother-like bond.

John Watts, Michael Alexander, Bill Frazier and Dr. Tom Brooks are four college friends now in their 30s. Cocci plays Brooks and is joined by Barry Brewer, Phillip Mullings Jr. and Monti Washington, respectively.

As they navigate life, they are learning to stand on their own two feet, while relying on each other for support.

Sometimes the love is tough, and the honesty brutal, but no matter the situation, they see one another through with levity and laughter.

In a society in which companionship among men of color is often misjudged and misrepresented, the show depicts a healthy image of Black brotherhood, embracing vulnerability without playing on stereotypical hypermasculinity.

“It’s so important that stories are told,” he says. “This is a case where art illuminates life. The whole premise of the show is a group of friends being there for each other. I didn’t know the actors coming into the series. We’ve created a bond that will last.”

Cocci says Brooks stood out to him because there are characteristics that he identifies with.

“Both Tom and I are willing to defend and fight for what we think is right,” He says. “My personal life is very similar to Tom’s. We value friendships at a very high level. I get to play one of the bruhs. It resonates with me beca

The cast of ‘Bruh,’ which airs on BET. (Courtesy of Charles Bergmann/BET/Tyler Vision, LLC)

use the friends I have in my life are there to support me as I support them. I appreciate being able to portray Tom.”

Cocci’s role in “Bruh” is also his first as a lead in a series.

It’s been a journey for Cocci to get where he is in the film industry.

He was born in Minneapolis and raised by his mother, Stephanie.

Acting was always a presence in his life.

He began to model in high school and earned a full Navy ROTC scholarship to the University of Pittsburgh.

His modeling career was heating up, yet he put his career on hold while he served as an officer in the Navy.

After his service, he shifted gears and began to act.

“It was all a natural progression,” he says. “I always wanted to be in front of the camera. I moved to Los Angeles and took acting classes. Modeling helped keep all the bills paid. Then I spent a year in the reserves, and I got activated and spent a year overseas. When I got home, I realized I was going to sink my teeth into this and make acting a career.”

Cocci’s first professional credit came in 2018 in the series “Dynasty.”

He had roles in “The Gifted,” “The Resident” and “MacGyver.” Earlier this year, Cocci co-starred in “The Lovebirds” with Issa Rae and Kumail Nanjiani.

“I like to think of myself as an actor without a lot of ego,” he says. “Generally speaking, I’m drawn to projects that wouldn’t make my mom ashamed of me. I’m just happy to tell stories. With ‘Bruh,’ I think telling the story of four Black men is special. It’s something we don’t see too often.”

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