Barry White Jr. doesn't just have a special handshake with each of his students — now he has one with nationally known comedian Kevin Hart.
White, a Charlotte-Mecklenburg school teacher at Ashley Park elementary, will be one of the first competitors on a new CBS show called “Total Knock Out.” Hosted by Hart, TKO is a one-hour obstacle-course competition featuring people from "all walks of life," the CBS website says. The show will premiere at 9 p.m. July 11.
The idea? Each contestant attempts to make it through obstacles, while the other contestants fire projectiles to knock them off or slow them down. The fastest finisher wins a $50,000 cash prize.
“It was 100 percent harder than I expected it to be," said White.
To get ready for the show, "I was practicing on the playground outside, going on the monkey bars, swinging — and had people cheering me on.
“It was nothing like that.”
White is known for the viral video that shows him starting the school day with a line of students — and with every one, doing a memorized, unique (and intricate) handshake.
After the video went viral last year, White said, CBS contacted him to be on a show. He had to decline because he was still teaching.
This year, the timing was right.
“Just being the fun, goofy guy I am in the classroom, I said, 'Yeah, why not? I like to do pull-ups on the monkey bars sometimes, so why not? Let me get into this,' ” White said.
After his part on the show was confirmed, White made one of his students read an article about the show to the class. White stood in front of his students and asked, "What if I told you I'm going to be on it?"
“It quickly went from cheering and praising to, ‘You better win! You better not come back if you don’t win!' ” White said.
White said it’s a show for anyone to watch — both to have some fun and to hear some trash talk. Though he said he'd thought he was the best trash-talker, he crowned Hart as the trash talk master.
“I know if people tune in, it’s going to be a lot of laughing,” White said.
With the laughter and trash talk also comes the feel-good moments, White said. In his case, it's the relationship he has with his students.
"I'm forever going to be linked to them."
White, who helped start a step team at Ashley Park, shared a clip of his students doing some stepping with the network. He's excited for his students to see themselves on TV.
“I know when my students see that, they’re going to be beside themselves,” White said. “Just screaming, running down the block, wanting everyone to know they were on national television.”