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Interview: Marcus Scribner Talks ‘Black-ish’ and playing a positive role model

Funny and geekish, Marcus Scribner is one of Hollywood’s rising stars, playing the lovable nerd Andre Jr. on ABC’s black-ish. Season 4 drops October 3.

With the new season just around the corner, black-ish is one of the most important shows on TV. The comedy about a middle class African-American family tackles conversations about race, careers, and family issues. All relevant conversations. The show is nominated for four Primetime Emmy® Awards, and we caught up with young rising star Marcus Scribner who plays “Dre.” We talked about playing such a positive role on the show.

What do you think makes Black-ish so popular?

I think we are discussing relatable topics all families in America are facing. Not just African-American families, but families of all ethnicities and racial backgrounds. Some of our topics are controversial, and I think that is what we are going for. Stirring the pot is really what gets the conversation going. This allows issues to be resolved and discussed. This is what I believe resonates with our audience, and people around the world as a whole.

How has your relationship developed with the cast since you first started?

I think we are an anomaly among television shows as we all felt like a family and were comfortable around each other within about a week. This chemistry is what allows our show to feel so real.

Laurence Fishburne is dad or Pops as he shall be called. What is it like on set with him?

Working with Mr. Fishburne is ridiculously cool. I’ve watched and loved many of the movies that he has been in such as The Matrix and Apocalypse Now and was instantly inspired by his commanding power on the screen. Working with Laurence is just as awesome as he brings that power to every scene and is just an all around blast to talk to as he will give you the best stories and advice of all time.

You’re playing a black nerd on TV, a character that I feel is much needed. What does that mean to you to be playing a part that is a positive role?

I think that you often see African Americans portrayed in a negative light on television. I feel like my character, Andre Jr, really gives a positive figure for kids who may be younger than me to see that being smart can be cool.

Most shows shoot for nine hours. How do you manage to balance schoolwork and shooting this?

Balancing school and work can definitely be a challenge at times. Education has always been at the forefront of my life for as long as I can remember, so I take school very seriously. I make sure to allocate adequate amounts of time

What do you think are the main differences between Marcus and Andre Jr.?

There are definite similarities. And it’s really cool because our awesome writers really take the time to get to know each of us. They find a way to assimilate our personal characteristics and then challenge us by writing against type. Junior is definitely more of a spazz and a little more gullible than I am in real life. One thing that I really like about Junior is the approach that he takes to helping better the world through tackling social and environmental justice issues as I really feel this is a character trait that we share.

What are some of your favorite shows that make you laugh?

I mostly watch dramatic television shows. Some of my favorites are Agents of Shield, Teen Wolf, Stranger Things, and Naruto Shippuden. As you can tell, I watch a lot of Netflix and Hulu. The show that makes me laugh the most however, is black-ish! As if you didn’t see that coming?

With Zoey off to college, what’s going to happen to Andre Jr.?

Well, now Jr. is the oldest in the house. I feel like Jr. is discovering his role as the eldest sibling. Looking out for our new little brother. I think we will see Junior grow up into a mature young man as he is not that same gullible little kid anymore. It is important to me and the writers of the show that the character does not stay stagnant and grows.

What were some highlights for you this season?

We have a really awesome premiere episode that took a lot of rehearsal. The creator of our show, Kenya Barris, took a little inspiration from the Hamilton musical using music to take a shot at the holiday celebrating Christopher Columbus while also saluting Juneteenth, the June 19 celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. I’m telling you this episode will have you dancing in your seat as well as touching your soul!!

Do you have a dream Black-ish guest?

Robert DeNiro, I think he could play my Mom’s Uncle. I think he would make a great addition to the Johnson Family.

Can you tell us about your work for The Sandals Foundation?

It is a great honor for me to align with the Sandals Foundation. They named me their Youth Advocate Ambassador. The Sandals Foundation helps to provide a very strong education to many children. They are vigilant in protecting animals and preserving their beautiful marine life. I have had the opportunity to work closely with them to help raise global awareness through my fan base for animal welfare, for raising funds to build computer labs and libraries for students and to getting my fans engaged to play their part to protect the environment. As well as I have had the opportunity to visit some of the schools and work with them first hand.



Black-ish returns on October 3 to ABC