Alex R. Hibbert is a 19-year-old American actor, who gained prominence as a child actor playing Little in “Moonlight” in October 2016. The R-rated drama was notable for being the first Oscar-winning movie that featured a fully African-American cast. He was cast as Young Oakland Kid in the well-known Marvel Studios movie “Black Panther” two years later, then used the publicity to get cast as Kevin Williams in the Showtime drama series “The Chi,” which he left after 57 episodes in September 2023 to focus on other film roles.
Alex R. Hibbert was born on 4 July 2004, in New York City USA. He lived in the Queens borough until he was seven when he moved to Miami, Florida, US with his mother, named Donna Wellington, who works at a nursing facility. Alex comes from a blended family as he has a half-sister Robin, 10 years his senior, who stayed behind with their father in New York City. Alex’s maternal grandmother, Hillary Frye, took him to the “Moonlight” audition, and became his unofficial publicist after he was cast as Little.
Early education, source of career
Alex attended Norland Middle School in Miami Gardens, Miami, but it’s unclear if he matriculated. He said that ‘everything he pursues is so that his mother can retire, and to help others who need it,’ according to his Mubi biography. In September 2023, Alex expanded that statement, ‘He’s not born yet, but I do cool shit so my son could review the tapes.’ He is also a fan of dodgeball, according to his New York Times interview. Alex told HeyUGUys.com in 2017 that he wanted to be a football player, or a scientist who cures cancer while in middle school.
He said that drama classes calmed his nervous energy that got him into trouble, and that he gave up on football afterwards. Consequently, Alex wanted his mother to home-school him but never specified if she did. Besides using them on his mother and future son, Alex vowed to spend most of his money on building a laboratory, gathering the world’s best scientists, and tasking them with finding a cure for cancer and other conditions.
Alex’s drama and music theater teacher, Mrs Tanisha Cidel, advised him to audition for the “Moonlight” movie filmed in Miami. He did, and was quickly cast as Little, the youngest version of the lead character Chiron, while Mrs. Tanisha played the school principal. The movie, which follows three phases of Chiron’s life – childhood, youth, and young adulthood – in a rough Miami neighborhood, was filmed in under a month. It was based on the “Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue” movie about the gay African-American man who grew up in Miami, so it already had a fan base. However, what made it extraordinary was that it won three Academy Awards out of eight nominations, including for Best Picture. The New York Times, IndieWire, RogerEbert.com, and Parade listed it as one of the best movies of the 21st century, or the 2010s.
Interestingly, one of Alex’s schoolmates, Jaden Piner, was also cast in the movie, and neither had been on an airplane or had any actual acting experience, which made the time on set fun. Alex also thanked Mrs Tanisha after the movie premiered. He said that she had worked at the school for 22 years, noticed his talent, and provided a safe space for a young Black boy. She commented on his fame in February 2023 for CBSNews, that ‘it makes her proud and is what teachers live for because they don’t teach students for money, but because they can see the change that they create.’
Alex also said that Mahershala Ali, who played Juan in “Moonlight”, became a father figure to him; he advised him frequently, hugged him, and even taught him to swim for a scene in the movie. Additionally, although Alex knew that he was too young for it in 2016, he admitted to watching content such as “The Walking Dead” dystopian zombie series and the “Hacksaw Ridge” war movie. He also realized that he hated seeing himself on the screen, because it made him want to tweak his performance. Finally, Alex knew that he wanted to emulate the careers of actors Denzel Washington and Andrew Garfield, and star in “The Walking Dead” someday.
Minor “Black Panther” role
Alex played Young Oakland Kid in “Black Panther,” a Marvel Studios-produced movie based on the first black superhero in mainstream US comic books. Like “Moonlight,” it had a black director but only a predominantly, not entirely black cast. However, it earned over $1.3 billion worldwide, making it the second-highest-grossing film of 2018 after “Avengers: Infinity War.”
Although the first episode of “The Chi” aired after the “Black Panther” premiered, he was cast in the television series before the movie. He even told CBS Local News that he started filming the second season when the director called him to the movie set.
BLACK PANTHER (2018)
— One Perfect Shot (@OnePerfectShot) December 13, 2018
Starring in “The Chi”
“The Chi” television series was created and produced by Lena Waithe, who wrote it as an adaptation of her autobiography about a black lesbian girl growing up in the dangerous neighborhood known as the South Side of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois. Lena played a black gay woman, Denise, in the Netflix series “Master of None” starting in 2015, and won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series in 2017, leading up to “The Chi” premiere.
Alex played Kevin Williams, one of the four main characters, and made his online debut in December 2017, and in January 2018 on the Showtime television network. He portrayed a street-smart 13-year-old who falls in love with a girl in his class. Kevin yearned to run away from the South Side of Chicago in search of a better life, but accidentally witnessed a murder, which shattered his dream. In 2021, Alex told Baller Alert, Inc. that he went jet skiing during the break from filming the series. He realized that he had never done it despite living in Miami, and the lockdown provided an ideal opportunity.
The audience loved Alex on the screen, and he stayed in the role for over five and a half years until the eighth episode of the sixth season, “Who Shot Ya?” He explained his departure on his Instagram account, therealalexhibbert, on 22 September 2023, writing ‘While I may be leaving this show, I am excited about what the future holds. I look forward to continuing to create meaningful and impactful work that resonates with audiences around the world.’ The writers gave him a graceful ending, as his character finally leaves the South Side for a job in gaming in Los Angeles, California, and he gets a chance to thank Chicago for toughening him at the going-away party. Alex previously admitted that he fell in love with the food in Chicago, and ‘would gain weight every time he was there.’
Return to movie roles
Although Alex remained vague about his plans, it quickly became evident that he became tired of the television series set, and was eager to star in movies. In early 2023, he played Kid in the short film “Code Switch”, and then portrayed Ben in the crime-drama movie “The Graduates” about gun violence in high school. Towards his announcement about quitting “The Chi,” news surfaced that Alex would play Maurice Moe Hernandez in “Story Ave,” a movie about a teen who quickly becomes the police target when he turns from spraying graffiti to committing a robbery.
Moreover, the media reported that he would play Ed2, the son and look-alike of the lead character Ed in the movie “Good Burger 2.” The movie was in post-production as of early November 2023, and set to air on the Paramount+ streaming service. It’s a sequel to the 1997 film “Good Burger”, and leading stars Kennan Thompson and Kel Mitchell will reprise their roles as Dexter Reed and Ed.
Alex isn’t dating anyone publicly, and has never openly expressed romantic interest in a friend or a co-star.
Alex R. Hibbert has black hair and dark brown eyes. He’s 5ft 5ins (1.65m) tall and weighs about 128lbs (58kgs). He tends to wear beanies, snapback hats, or team caps.
Alex R. Hibbert’s net worth is estimated at close to $2 million. Although he starred in two successful movies, he played supporting roles and probably couldn’t benefit from the success as a child actor without starring in a sequel. As he has yet to monetize his social media presence and develop his career, his earnings primarily come from about 60 episodes of “The Chi” series from 2017 to 2023.