Just when you thought you could not get enough of The New Edition Story, grab your popcorn for this three day karaoke night!
“The New Edition story set a five-year record with phenomenal ratings from HotNewHipHop, Rotten Tomatoes, and IMDb with over 4.4 million viewers during the opening week.” (Black Talent) With a rise to fame, this biopic of New Edition gives us insight into countless legends in the music industry.
I had the pleasure of interviewing actor, comedian, writer, producer, and director, Melvin Jackson Jr., who portrayed Kurtis Blow. Jackson will also be Executive producing the Hurtic Blow biopic alongside Kurtis Blow and Marvin Williams. Kurtis Blow is the first commercially successful rapper. “My favorite project that I have been in is BET’s The New Edition Story because New Edition is one of my favorite groups. Their story is important to our culture. When I [received] the role [of Kurtis Blow] I just soaked it all in and was thankful I could be apart of this,” Melvin Jackson Jr.
“It’s an interesting story. I was [actually deciding whether or not] to put my acting career on hold and start producing full time. I prayed and asked God ‘If this [was] the direction [I should] go in’. The answer to my question and prayer was the audition for The New Edition Story as Kurtis Blow. I really had no time to prepare. I went straight to the audition and gave the best performance I could. [To] found out a couple days later I was one of the network’s top choices. Two days later, my agent [called and said] I booked the role. It was definitely an amazing experience, and pretty fast. I really wanted this role. I’m happy I got that win,” Melvin Jackson Jr.
You might remember Jackson from a few television and film projects including HBO’s The Wire, and Award-winning CW’s Everybody Hates Chris and Disney’s Step Up.
Originally from Washington, DC, he has also lived outside the country in Islamabad, Pakistan (4 ½ years) and Ankara, Turkey (4 years). [IMDb] Melvin Jackson Jr. is being considered as a nominee for an NAACP Image Award, a Sag Award, and a Golden Globe for his performance in BET’s The New Edition Story as Kurtis Blow.
Check out my interview with as he further discusses the role of Kurtis Blow and his plans for the future.
The New Edition Story is about the life of young men wanting to do something they love. Through all their trials and tribulations this story showed that even as young black men, family and brotherhood are still the backbones to success in life. Each young man had a different story but what they all have in common is what it takes to be legends in the music industry.
What intrigued Jackson to The New Edition Story was “One, that they were telling their story. We all heard certain things and knew certain things, but we didn’t know everything”. Did you know Kurtis Blow was the first rapper ever to sign a major deal? Or that he was the first rapper to tour overseas? Kurtis opened doors for many upcoming artists and current rappers today. “One thing I didn’t know, was that Rev Run was his DJ,” said Melvin Jackson Jr.
Tuning into a three-day miniseries, allowed us all to relive a time period that was not only influential but the beginning of so much.
When you get into hair, makeup, and wardrobe; you start to embody that character. “It puts you back into a vibe. Music is different than [what it once was] for so many reasons [from] technology to fashion. Back then to be an artist in hip-hop [you had to] represent it. If you couldn’t do this or do that, you weren’t considered a ‘Real MC’. At that time it was about having fun and doing what you love. It’s just interesting how that time frame will put you back into that mental [state]. “You could feel the energy in the room. It was all about love. Not about the paycheck or fame. It was about honoring these men. When you walk onto a set like this, it’s an amazing feeling. It was definitely one of the best experiences as an actor, and something that I would love to continue on,” he says.
The sky’s the limit with Melvin Jackson Jr. “I never think small, everything I do I try to think big”. As a well-rounded star and talented individual Jackson presents himself as a brand. “I can do all these things within my brand because I’m a company, I’m a business, and that’s how I operate.”
What’s next for Melvin Jackson Jr.?
“To be a great Producer, and help launch other talented individuals’ careers. It was important for me to be more than just an actor because I’ve always been a businessman first and an actor second. If you don’t get auditions or book any roles, then what? I would write, produce, direct and give myself the opportunities that I was not getting. Now I get to cast my friends and other talented individuals in my projects, [while] creating and telling great stories. I just finished shooting The Price of Fame, a Christian based film about the industry. Things can get compromised when you’re worshipping money rather than God.”
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