Mark MV Oliphant and Brian Howard, were raised in Augusta and now have film careers in Atlanta. Photo courtesy MV Olphiant
Mark MV Oliphant and Brian Howard, were raised in Augusta and now have film careers in Atlanta. Photo courtesy MV Olphiant

Acting is a family affair for cousins with Augusta ties

 Brian Howard uttered a prophetic statement to rapper 50 Cent in 2015.

 “I met 50 Cent while I was in military in 2015. I told him ‘I’m going to get out of the military and do acting full time,’” said Howard who recently appeared in three episodes of the Starz series “BMF” (Black Mafia Family) as Diesel, a member of Big Meech’s BMF Atlanta crew.

Brian Howard. Photo courtesy Brian Howard’s Facebook page

50 Cent, whose real name is Curtis Jackson, is the executive director of the series and meeting him again after making that statement come true was an exciting full circle moment, Howard said.

Howard, an Augusta native and 2006 graduate of Butler High School, followed that plan and moved to Atlanta after leaving the military. He encountered a few bumps along the way until he was connected with a cousin, Mark “MV” Oliphant, who was already making his career in the profession.

“Once I got with him, I started going straight instead of leaning on my own understanding,” he said.

Oliphant, a 1985 graduate of T.W. Josey High School, didn’t start his acting career until his late 30s when Atlanta started gaining traction in the film industry. He also appears in the third season of “BMF,” but the cousins aren’t in the same episodes.

Through Andrea Estroff, a teacher at Josey, and Maxine Barnett-Nesbit at the Augusta Mini Theatre, a teenage Oliphant had dreams of acting, but studied journalism and public relations in college. He wrote for the Augusta Focus and was an associate producer at WJBF and WAGT before transitioning to public relations and then into acting.

Oliphant said he had thought about moving out to California after college in the 1990s, but “life happened.”

But life didn’t completely halt his acting dreams.

MV Oliphant on the set of BMF with Donnielle “Lil D” Hansley Jr. and Lailah Pruitt. Photo courtesy MV Oliphant

Oliphant started as an extra in projects such as “The Fighting Temptations,” “Drop Dead Diva,” “Lottery Ticket,” & Tyler Perry’s “Meet the Browns.” He’s also worked as a stand-in/body double for actors including Martin Lawrence, Kadeem Hardison, Ice Cube, Cedric the Entertainer, Wendell Pierce, GregAlan Williams and LaVan “Curtis Payne” Davis of Tyler Perry’s “House of Payne.”

“I was fortunate to finally get a speaking role in the TV series, ‘Fatal Attraction’ back in 2013,” said Oliphant, who recently worked on some commercials, one will air in August and another in the fall.

Like his cousin, Howard has also been on TV One’s “Fatal Attraction,” appearing in three episodes in seasons 8, 13 and 14.

He appeared in “The Hill,” which was filmed in the Augusta area and released in 2023.

Oliphant and Howard don’t mind sharing information about the film industry to those who want to get involved.

Oliphant said that the film business is just that, a business, and an audition is an interview.

“Ignorance is expensive in acting,” he said. “Learn how to spot a legitimate opportunity, never pay money upfront for anyone who calls themselves an agent or manager, invest in classes.”

Howard said he’s in the planning stages of an in-person event to be held in Augusta in the fall to help people who want to learn more.

Charmain Z. Brackett, the publisher of Augusta Good News and Inspiring: Women of Augusta, has covered Augusta’s news for more than 35 years and is a Georgia Press Association award winner. Reach her at Sign up for the newsletter here.

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