If you're sick of the negativity surrounding American politics, then you'll love ABC's new hit show, The Mayor – a new comedy that gives a fresh and humorous look at politics. In these exclusive The Mayor cast interviews we get real about politics, equality, and friendship. Read along as I chat with The Mayor's Bernard David Jones (Jermaine Leforge) and Marcel Spears (T.K. Clifton). This event was hosted by Disney as part of the #ThorRagnarokEvent. All opinions are my own.
Believe it or not, some of my favorite interviews are with actors from TV shows. There's a different feeling you get when you're in the room with these actors. Sometimes it's because they are up and coming actors who are so passionate that it oozes right out into the room and into our hearts. Other times, it's because the actors are so excited to finally be talking to someone about their new show that they want to jump right out of their seats. Which I must say, happened many times during our insightful & comedic Marvel Spears and Bernard David Jones interview.
When I think of my interview with these two potential world changers, a few words come to mind: leaders, humble, natural, talented, lively, friends. These are the guys that anyone could be friends with. We walked into the room, where these two were waiting and immediately got hugs from them both. When I say that never happens, I mean never! They took the time to individually hug 25 bloggers. Who does that? The Mayor‘s Courtney Rose's bffs, Jermain Leforge and T.K. Clifton, that's who.
Marcel Spears & Bernard David Jones Interview
So, just before our interview with this energetic duo, they introduced us to the new episode (S1. Ep.2). Both Marcel and Bernard were super excited (and a bit nervous) to watch a new episode with an audience there. Neither of them had seen the new episode, nor had they ever watched an episode with a group of bloggers surrounding them. I'm sure they were quite antsy to get our feedback – which was basically explained with genuine laughter, “awws”, and many applause. After the screening, we were immediately ready to jump into the comedic aspects, music, and depth of ABC's family-friendly show, The Mayor. We talked about a lot in our 30 minute interview, but I'm going to focus on the moments that really touched me.
Taking on a political show in the midst of a controversial political climate
This is a really terrible time in our country. Everyone is fighting over everything. “Breaking News” flashes across our screens every single day in regards to the political climate. This is a time when many feel that all hope is lost and that politics are just pure evil. It's hard to encourage the right people to run for office when there's such a negative shadow casted on politics right now. But, how do the actors of a full-on political show, The Mayor, feel about taking on a show like this?
Bernard David Jones:
As artists, it’s kind of our duty to hold a mirror up to our country, our world and say, THIS is what’s going on. How do we fix it? And I think our show is an awesome representation of what happens when somebody that has a heart for people, that understands community and unity, leads with love.
He didn’t stray away from the responsibility. He took it head on and I think that’s a good lesson for all of us, all of America. If there’s something in your neighborhood that you want to change, take leadership. I think it’s a great opportunity to be some type of catalyst for mobility in your communities for some type of change.
And, we don’t choose sides. We present what’s going on these communities and we offer solutions on how to fix it.
And just when we thought that we couldn't be more touched or more inspired, Marcel Spears speaks a truth that we cannot ignore:
It’s an opportunity for us, as artists, to provoke change and to inspire people! When I was kid, people wanted to be the President – even if you didn’t want to be the President, that was the go-to answer.
And politics was a thing that you didn’t shy away from. It’s always been a topic that you don’t talk about at dinner, but it’s something that people weren’t afraid of and now, I feel like people are so exhausted with it because you have to pick a side. It’s become so divided that we forgot what makes this country great. I feel like us doing the show gives us a chance, in a fun way and approachable way, to really talk about politics in a way that can reach people so that people aren’t afraid of politics anymore.
The end goal is always the betterment of the community.
Mic drop. Why can't the rest of our country see the world through these guys' eyes?
Addressing the inequality in education in lower income communities
The Mayor has the opportunity to touch on so many major issues that many shows can't bring up. Being a political yet comedic show, topics such as the equality in education in lower income communities can be talked about in a way that will really reach out to all sorts of communities. So, is this a topic currently on the books?
Jeremy (the creator) doesn’t want this to be an issue-driven show, but he does want to talk about everything.
According to Marcel, it isn't something that has currently been written, but with the diverse group of writers, he knows that it will get there at some point. I think we can all agree that it's a topic that should be talked about – but at the right time. Fingers crossed for The Mayor season 2?
Personally connecting to storylines
As viewers, there's usually a storyline that we can personally connect to. Maybe it's a situation from our past or a situation we're currently in. That's why we love television shows like this so much. We get an opportunity to see a situation from all sides and we learn different solutions. The actors also connect to episodes/storylines on a personal level.
Bernard specifically connected with an episode about friendship:
For me, the episode that I connected to, that we’ve shot already, dealt with the boys having some sort of conflict. It just shows that even in the best friendships, or families, there may be times when you just don’t agree or you don’t like the way people handle things. Or, you end up in a situation that’s not conducive to your friendship and you have to figure out a way to still love that person, but check them at the same time.
Yes, Bernard! We've all been there before. It takes a mature friendship to work through these issues rather than toss the friendship! Bernard said, “It's a different side to my character, T.K, and Courtney!” Marcel agrees that the episode is a great one! He describes the situation in further detail:
He is faced with honoring his family or helping further his career which could initially help his family, but it doesn’t always feel like that at first.
Wow. If you are a hard worker and your career is important to you, then you've absolutely been in that position before! I personally can relate to feeling like I'm neglecting my family, but also knowing that what I'm doing is right for my family and career.
Marcel & Bernard give advice to the younger generations
Bernard & Marcel are movement makers and potential world changers. These guys have something to say and they will be heard. I'm super excited to follow their careers because I see great things for these guys! Being young actors themselves, they have a few things to say to a younger generation.
Your dreams can be actualized. You can actually have a dream, whatever that dream may be, and if you work hard, you’re persistent, and you stay focused, it can come true. The world is literally available to you. Dream of it, want it, pursue it and God says, there you go.
Visibility matters and representation matters. When I was a kid, I was watching Martin and Fresh Prince and I’m seeing these young Black men be themselves and be somebody that I recognize. They could be cool and be fun and be intelligent and be articulate – that’s not something that you see all the time outside of scripted TV.
Marcel Spears gets real about misrepresentation in the media:
If all I see on the media is people who look like me getting in trouble or getting in situations where they’re hurt, it’s good to see a show where Black men are lifting each other up and thriving and challenging what those images might be. So it’s for your eight year old and for your twelve year old, I feel like it's super important and I’m honored that I get a chance to be a part of that.
And we have fun. We have fun and we do it in a way that I feel does not belittle our intelligence and we do it in a way that definitely could be inspiring to somebody like me.
Bravo, Marcel. Bravo.
Oh, and one more thing…
You'll immediately recognize the fabulous Yvette Nicole Brown and wild David Spade as two major actors in The Mayor. At this point in their careers, we all have a personal opinion on who they are – but what are they like to work with? Who are they behind-the-scenes? Marcel Spears and Bernard David Jones gave us some insight on who they are when the cameras aren't rolling and well, I think you'll be surprised.
Marcel made sure we knew that it was “like a family” on the set of The Mayor:
The thing I like about our show, or our cast, it’s a family. We have fun on set and the cool thing is, the women are the pros in the situation. We make sure we look out for our girls, but they are bosses!
What it's like to work with Yvette Nicole Brown
Bernard David Jones:
And I always say, ‘Yvette, I hope that people love me the way that they love you and respect you', and she says, ‘just be yourself and have a heart for people'.
What it's like to work with David Spade
Bernard was super excited to talk about David Spade. Him and Marcel agreed that David is way cooler in real life! Which, being a fan, is really great to know! It makes me like David Spade as an actor even more. Bernard David Jones gives us some insight on working with David:
He is so sweet. He’s always like, “You guys are amazing. You guys are great. This show is awesome.” That’s David Spade. We were going to do the vocal stuff that needs changing. So, David knew we were coming and he literally laid prostrate on the floor and we’re like, “David!” And he’s like, “I just wanted to get you guys.”
I love to know that he plays pranks behind the scenes, just like we expect from comedians!
He’s great, man. From the first table read to now, he’s just been amazing. Very supportive. I went up to him, I said, David, you have a star on the Walk, the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He’s like, yeah, you know, but you got to pay the upkeep and all that. You have a star. You are David Spade.
He's humble, friends. David freakin' Spade is a humble man. Who would have thought? He's so great at being the bad guy, but he's funny, humble, and kind. What a great way to end our interview with these guys!
For all you music lovers out there – you can get ABC The Mayor's Courtney Rose music on iTunes now!
About The Mayor
Young rapper Courtney Rose (Brandon Micheal Hall) needs his big break. For years, he’s toiled away in a small inner-city apartment, making music in his junk-filled bedroom closet. Tired of waiting for opportunity to knock, Courtney cooks up the publicity stunt of the century – running for mayor of his California hometown, Fort Grey, to generate buzz for his music career. But his master plan goes wildly awry, ending in the most terrifying of outcomes: an election victory.
Courtney’s charisma and outspoken optimism are what helped him get elected as the Mayor, but even though he’s an outsider when it comes to politics, he will find that he’s actually good at it. Courtney has smarts, swagger and creativity, but has never worked a full-time job in his life. Luckily for him, he has the right people around him to shepherd his growth, both as a person and a politician.
His biggest fan is his mom, Dina Rose (Yvette Nicole Brown), who will be there to keep a watchful eye on him and his administration, and is always ready to set him straight if need be. She’s a loving mother not only to Courtney but to his best friends as well. His questionably qualified buddies, Jermaine Leforge (Bernard David Jones) the smooth operator, and T.K Clifton (Marcel Spears) the sensitive sweetheart, will serve as his two unconventional political aides.
Watch The Mayor on ABC Tuesdays at 9:30pm/8:30c
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