John “Divine G” Whitfield: Where is the Ex-Sing Sing Inmate and Activist Now?

Image Credit: Divine Whitfield/Facebook

Helmed by Greg Kwedar, ‘Sing Sing’ is a biographical drama movie set inside one of the world’s most infamous maximum-security prisons, Sing Sing Correctional Facility, where John “Divine G” Whitfield is imprisoned for a crime he did not commit. Using his acting prowess and knowledge of theater, he leads a theater group alongside his inmates and channels his talent into something creative. The prolific Colman Domingo portrays Divine G in an accurate manner throughout the film, raising questions in the minds of the viewers about the other aspects of his life and his current whereabouts.

John “Divine G” Whitfield Found a New Purpose at Prison

In the 1960s, John “Divine G” Whitfield was welcomed into the world by Gloria A. Whitfield, destined for great things in life. Growing up in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, particularly in the Brownsville and Canarsie neighborhoods, he attended Canarsie High School. He admired Bruce Lee so much that it led him and his friend to create 8mm karate films. By the time he was in his teens, John had become quite proficient in acting, acrobatic dancing, and singing. So, aspiring to become an actor, he joined the High School for Performing Arts.

However, on May 25, 1988, he was stopped in his tracks of pursuing his dreams when he was arrested for a homicide that he had not committed. During his time at the Sing Sing prison, he found another purpose through the Rehabilitation Through the Arts (RTA) program. As portrayed in ‘Sing Sing,’ John took the responsibility of running the program with his best friend Mike Mike and writer/director Brent Buell, the only non-incarcerated member of the group.

Out of the lot, Clarence “Divine Eye” Maclin, who was a threatening and tough figure at the prison, turned out to be yin to John’s yang with time. What connected the two was their knowledge and passion for literature and theater. With the support of his fellow inmates, John authored several novels and plays during his time in prison. Many of those plays were showcased by RTA and well-received by the audience.

Since His Release, John “Divine G” Whitfield Has Turned His Life Around

Once John was released from prison, he earned his Bachelor of Applied Science in Behavioral Sciences degree from Mercy University before joining New York Theological Seminary, where he got his Master of Professional Studies in Theology/Theological Studies. In the coming years, he published numerous novels, including Baby Doll, Money Grip, Peak Zone, Averted Hearts, Enigma of Love, No Other Love, and Money Grip 2. He earned four PEN American Center awards and the 2008 Tacenda Literary Award for best play. Moreover, his short story titled ‘Averted Hearts’ is a part of Triple Crown’s anthology, ‘The Game: Short Stories About the Life,’ and his play, ‘Peak-Zone,’ became a part of a prison anthology called ‘Exile.’

In 2009, John was also quoted in the United Nations Report of the Special Rapporteur on the right of education of persons in detention. From January to June 2013, he served as a Youth Counselor for the Council for Unity, after which he worked as a supervisory carpenter and worked on stage building during Lil Wayne’s 2013 America’s Most Wanted (AMW) Tour. In addition, he showcased his acting skills by featuring in various plays and a Hollywood feature film as an extra. The former wrongfully convicted man even came up with his own internet radio show, ‘The Divine G Show.’ In January 2013, he also founded Divine G Entertainment, a platform that sells novels in different formats, including paperbacks, ebooks, audiobooks, and screenplays.

In an interview with Smashwords, John “Divine G” Whitfield was asked about his inspiration behind becoming a writer. He responded, “There was a number of things that inspired me to become a writer, but the greatest influence was the fact that I have always been an entertainer and writing seemed to be right in-line with that overall aspiration. I have always found joy in my ability to make people happy by sharing my talents with them. For example, when I used to dance with a group called Realism, I felt alive whenever I saw my audience smiling and clapping and cheering. When I was a DJ and the people danced to the music I played, it showed me that I could affect people in a positive way.”

John elaborated, “When I decided to stop talking about becoming a writer and started writing, I saw it was no different from my other entertainment endeavors. The only difference was that writing allowed for greater thought-provoking moments and gave me the power to directly point out issues that I believed needed to be looked at seriously. This is no to say that I like to preach to my audience in my stories, but I will say I have no problem trying to get people to look at and address social ills by presenting them in a dramatized manner.”

John “Divine G” Whitfield is a Devoted Father and Husband

John “Divine G” Whitfield has been happily married to Castro Sonia for several years, with whom he shares a loving and respectful bond. Apart from being supportive parents, they are also a pair of caring grandparents to Kamiah. An avid traveler, John “Divine G” Whitfield, accompanied by his wife and family sometimes, regularly goes on vacations not only outside the city limits but also outside the United States, including the Dominican Republic, Louisiana, Nevada, and more.

In 2021, John took part in a Wrongful Conviction Rally at City Hall in New York and raised his voice against unjust convictions. He took to social media and wrote, “NYC DA’s are not doing a good job; legislature and NYC Council and Mayor need to step up; anybody running for office must engage with this issue, families, and advocates.” In October 2022, he lost his mother before losing his brother, Peter Roberto Cadjoe, in February 2023.

He served as an Executive Producer on the movie ‘Sing Sing,’ taking part in almost every developmental aspect of the film, which is based on his time in prison. Apart from that, he also made a cameo appearance as a book fan who asks his character for an autograph of his novel ‘Money Grip.’ In September 2023, he attended the red carpet of the World Premiere of ‘Sing Sing’ at TIFF. In May 2024, he was in Seattle, Washington, to attend the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF). After more than a decade of founding his company, he is still the proud Chief Executive Officer of Divine G Entertainment.

Read More: Clarence “Divine Eye” Maclin: Where is the Ex-Sing Sing Convict Now?