Long Island, NY native actor, model Jermel Howard, and newly author stepped on the scene in 2007 playing alongside A-List actors like Jodie Foster in The Brave One, Denzel Washington in American Gangster, and since then has found himself a part of a pretty decent pedigree of movies and television shows. Although from rough beginnings, in and out of the legal system, Howard possessed a few gifts that he later realized could afford him outlets to better his situation. And through hard work and determination, Howard is utilizing all those talents to secure his place.
With his acting skills putting him on TV & movie screens in popular shows like Marvel’s Luke Cage, playing “Brains” on POWER this coming July, and taking on the role as Tupac’s brother Mopreme in upcoming biopic ‘All Eyez On Me‘; Howard is also a super dope emcee. Winning several rounds of Freestyle Friday on BET’s 106 & Park back in the day as rapper Sharpp, he has quite the band history.
We caught up with Jermel Howard the other day to talk about what he’s been up to, and what we can expect from him in the near future, acting and music wise. Check out the interview below.
1. What do you see as the biggest influence to the accomplishment of your goals, especially when you felt as though there may not have been as many resources available to you coming out of Long Island?
Hello and first off, thank you and I am honored to interview with you.
My biggest influence of all is my fear of not being known for ever. Your energy will live forever but it won’t stay on earth; what will stay will be memories of you, and I want the world to have memories of me.
“Burried as a G while the whole world remembers me“ -2pac broken wings.
2. Did you know you needed to venture from your home/ comfort zone to make the most impact on your career?
I learned rather fast that everyone who was doing entertainment and business was doing it in the city. So I then used to take my money and spend it on staying in the city where everybody who was anybody, was doing business at. I figured the only way to get people to recognize my talent was to put myself in a position where they had to see me sooner or later.
3. That quote, ‘Success is when preparation meets opportunity’, can you tell us about what that means to you and how you prepared in getting your first major role; how it even came about?
Yes, a boxer spends more time training than actually boxing. He takes almost a year of training, hard work, blood sweat, tears, stress etc.. and matches that with the opportunity at being a champion, at which the window of that opportunity to reach success is only 10 rounds long. The competition is then boiled down to who’s better prepared. I’ve been preparing my whole life for opportunities that would lead me where I will be, and prepared for and seized the opportunity of success I have now.
4. What has been your proudest role thus far? How do you go about immersing yourself in each of your characters?
My proudest role thus far is 2 of many. Marvel’s Luke Cage as Shameek, and POWER as “Brains”. I immerse myself in each of my characters by aligning my personal experiences with other people’s I’ve watched, and take a little from my favorite actors.
5. Who are some of your biggest inspirations?
My family, my struggles.
6. How did you find out about ‘Luke Cage’ role and what do you attribute your landing that one, Shameek Smith, to? Are there any similarities in your likeness?
I got a call from casting to read for the role, my ability to really become a different person, is what i attribute me landing the role of Shameek to.
Me and Shameek have some similar characteristics, he likes basketball, women, and has a sense of humor.
7. Were you into superheroes as a kid growing up? How do you feel about the subject of black superheroes in particular?
Yes , I was a huge super hero fan growing up, watching Xmen cartoons, Transformers, Thunder Cats mann. I think they were created extremely interesting, put aside , and now popular again.
8. Who is your favorite director to work with? Who do you have dreams of working with?
I liked working with Luke Cage’s directors, and also Neil Jordan from the movie “The Brave One ” that I played in. My dream is to work with Forest Whitaker, Don Cheadle, and Johnny Depp.
9. And what about the Tupac Shakur biopic that’s getting ready to come out, ‘All Eyes on Me’. Can you talk a little bit about that role playing Tupac’s brother ‘Mopreme’? What was the preparation like for that one? How did it come about?
That role was one of the best roles I had. I got to play a real person who was the brother of an iconic figure, super powerful film. I prepared for this role by watching interviews with Mopreme and Tupac, and also their performances. It came about when the casting director offered me a role as Treach from Naughty by Nature, but then decided that my mannerisms and swagger was similar to Pacs brother Mopreme Shakur, then they offered me the role of his brother.
10. And, you were actually a pretty dope aspiring emcee before becoming this breakout acting star, winning twice on 106&Park’s Freestyle Friday back in the day. Tell us about Sharp and who he is or was? Are you still heavy in the rap world? Any plans to one day revisit your once-passion?
Thanks, let’s just say that I do still do music and am still, from what people say, a very good emcee. So I plan on pushing my music through film.
11. So what’s next? Are you working on any new projects? You got ‘Power’ coming up, ‘Roxanne Roxanne’ – that we know of. What else, anything else?
There’s a lot that’s next. As of right this second, I am filming a show that I wrote and will be gearing that up to be launched very soon, and Power will be out in July maybe; with several new offers, a lot of big things to come.
And check out his book ‘How Men Act in A Relationship And Why‘, available in on Amazon.