Not even 18 yet, and actor Marcus Scribner is already a star. As a main cast member ABC’s Black-ish, Marcus has proven himself to be an extremely talented actor. His talents truly shine through, despite being surrounded by many accomplished actors with much more experience and accolades than himself.
On Black-ish, Marcus portrays Andre Johnson Jr., the second oldest child of Andre “Dre” Johnson Sr. and his wife Rainbow. As one of five children, (formerly four) he’s depicted as the awkward and nerdy one. Out of all of the children, Jr. is also considered to be the most clueless one in the bunch.
According to Marcus, there are a lot of similarities between him and his character on Black-ish. He admits that his affinity for video games, comic books, superheroes, Greek mythology make him almost as nerdy as Jr. He also says that they both have similar styles, in the way that they both like to sport bold colors. However, they differ in the way that Jr. seems to be way too gullible and falls for almost any and everything. Marcus thinks that at the very least, he’s not as impressionable and carries himself with more common sense than his character.
Actors Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross play Jr.’s parents, Dre and Rainbow. While his siblings are taken on by young actors Yara Shahidi, Miles Brown, and Marsai Martin. Yara plays his older sister Zoey, while Miles and Marsai portray his younger twin brother and sister, Jack and Diane. Legendary actors Laurence Fishburne and Jenifer Lewis also accompany the cast as Jr.’s grandfather and grandmother, Pops and Ruby. Popping in and out through the series is comedian/actor/writer Deon Cole, who plays Dre’s friend and co-worker Charlie. Also, popular actress and former The View talk show host, Raven Symone, occasionally comes through as Jr’s Aunt.
The show depicts the struggles of the Johnson family, an upper-middle-class African American family, as they attempt to hold on to their cultural identity while navigating the norms of the socio-economic status. Most of the struggle comes from Dre. As his children are growing up, notices that their upbringing is vastly different than his own. The most noticeable difference for him is the way that they are disconnected from the social practices of typical African Americans.
Dre is finding out that they “better life” that he’s providing for his family comes at the cost of losing some of what it means to be Black; at least from his standpoint. However, his wife Rainbow, who grew up bi-racial (and a hippie), embraces the fact that their children are modern thinking individuals. She applauds their ability to see beyond race and not base their decisions or actions off of the ambiguous standards that their cultural identity may suggest.
Black-ish has been praised for its ability to introduce conversations concerning race in America and African American viewpoints. Throughout it’s run, the show has dealt with issues racial stereotypes, assimilation, LGBT rights, police brutality, the 2016 Presidential election, and even the “N” word. For his portrayal of Jr., Marcus won an NAACP Image Award, and the show has received Emmy and Golden Globe nominations for “Outstanding Comedy Series”.
Recently, Black-ish premiered its fourth season and introduced its move from Wednesday nights to Tuesdays at 9 PM ET. The first episode took the form of a musical, with all of the characters singing and dancing to tunes that described historical occurrences in African American history. The new season will show the family as they adjust to their newest member, baby Devonte. As for Jr., he must now navigate the trials and tribulations of transitioning from a boy to a man.
Though Marcus’ role is Black-ish is currently his most notable performance, he’s also made appearances on other television series like Castle and New Girl. He’s also taken a liking to voiceover acting, and done work on American Dad! and the kids film Good Dinosaur. This year, he made his debut in films by tackling the role of Darius in Alexander IRL.
Similar to his character on Black-ish, Marcus is also in a transitional period. He’s currently in his senior of high school. Since the beginning of the show, he’s switch from public school to homeschool. The change mandates him to do school work for at least 3 hours a day while on set and then finish the rest at home. Though he’s no longer in public school he still plans on living it up his senior year and taking part in the same traditions as everyone else; including homecoming and prom. He may even hit up multiple proms.
With his impending graduation comes the difficult task of choosing which college to attend. Though he hasn’t officially chosen a school, Marcus has disclosed that the University of Southern California, the University of California Los Angeles, the University of California Berkeley, Stanford University, and a few others are at the top of his list. It’s obviously clear that this Los Angeles native is seriously considering staying close to home and his current profession.
When on hiatus from the show and school, Marcus enjoys doing overseas humanitarian work. He’s the first Youth Ambassador of the Sandals Foundation, which strives to improve the lives of people living in the Caribbean. Marcus is also the Chief youth Innovator for the Reserve Protection Agency in South Africa, which helps to protect many of Africa’s animals. It will be interesting to see what Marcus plans to do with the very bright future that is ahead of him. Until then, we’ll just have to keep up with him by watching him on Tuesday nights on Black-ish.
Photographer: Michael Becker
Stylist: Tashiba Jones-Wilson,
Grooming: Michael Duenas