The Long Island bred actor Jermel Howard has been on the move lately. He’s had a few small roles over the years, starting out in the movie American Gangster, then on to being featured in the series Law & Order, Orange is the New Black and Luke Cage.
Howard is also intricately placed in the upcoming season of the Starz hit series Power and will play Mopreme Shakur, the older brother of the late rapper TuPac Shakur in his bio pic All Eyez on Me premiering in theaters today!
Jermel is not your typical actor. He’s had a rough up bringing, his grandmother passed while he was just 9 years old and his mother was in and out of jail throughout his childhood. These trials did not stop Howard from reaching his potential and going after his dreams.
During Howard’s teenage years he dabbled in the rap game a bit. His moniker was ‘Sharpe’, the name stemmed from him building a reputation in the streets of always keeping a razor or blade concealed in his mouth. Howard shared with Urban Girl Magazine his life’s experiences and his road to stardom. It’s not your typical road travel but it has led Jermel to the ultimate destination of working with one of his idols.
“First thing I had to find something to believe in and once I found that I used that as my target and started aiming towards a similar height, you know…” he went on to say “I looked at it like, 50 cent is a mogul and how can I get there?”
Jermel explained to us why he initially chose rapping as his career choice. “From the beginning I started off wanting to be in the music business. I was heavily involved in the streets . From that point I knew that the streets wasn’t going to do anything for me… and I had to think about how I can get on the level of a 50 cent and Jay-z…. I tried to get into music and it didn’t work. I met an agent and from then on I’ve been focused on the craft (of acting).”
As 50 cent originally served as a distant idol to Howard he never imagined he’d actually be featured in his series, Power, talk about a dream come true. Through consistent work and dedication it happened. “For me to hold him at an iconic level in my mind and to end up working with him is huge! Back then I never thought I’d be working with him, but I’ve always thought I’d be somewhere near that level but I didn’t think I’d be working with him.”
Howard’s acting career began when he jumped head first into the craft. He began auditioning and everything snowballed from there. “I never studied, I never took a class, I just jumped in. I seen this quote once of a guy jumping off of a cliff…” he said with a chuckle, and continued …”it said entrepreneurs build their parachutes on the way down,” Howard ended with a laugh.
“That embodies me and what I stand for especially me as an Aries… us Aries are head first into everything… so a lot of things in my career I’ve done like that, I jumped out and moved to L.A. and I didn’t have any money, I just tried to make things happen out there for a while. I went through some struggles you know the stories are always in the struggle and the accolades are just a bookmark…”
According to Howard the most interesting parts of someone’s life is the journey to the destination its never the actual ending point, but the things you didn’t allow to stop you from getting there.
“The struggle is the story, that’s why we’re looking at the story of TuPac, and the struggle of TuPac… the albums and the money are just the accolades we ain’t really talking about that, so throughout people’s lives the stories are what people are going to remember and relate to… the things you went through in order to get where you are.”
I went on to ask Jermel about his role as TuPac’s older brother in the biopic All Eyez on Me. He excitedly said “For one you could probably only name about 2 artist right now who would stand up and speak out about human rights, or just to stand up for something other than themselves…” Jermel went on to say ...”To be apart of his legacy is huge and to be apart of it is amazing. He’s probably one of the dopest rappers and on top of that he stood for something.”
Jermel is an older brother of 4 and took on the role of playing Mopreme Shakur as an easy task.
“I’m a big brother to 4 siblings, and I can identify with every one of those moments and that’s why it was kind of easy for me to take on the role. Mopreme Shakur is a typical older brother you know, pulling him out of stuff and getting in his ear and telling him the right things to do. He was the ‘good guy’ in the movie, he’s his voice of reason.”
Howard told us how this role will help to distinguish him as an actor world wide.“It’s a big role for me because I’m actually able to play someone that’s alive, it’s a role where people will know my face from now on.”
Some actors Jermel looks up to include Will Smith, Denzel Washington, Chadwick Boseman, and many others. He circled back to his idol letting us know working with him turned out to be everything he envisioned it to be. “Sitting with 50 cent and listening to the insight that he has definitely showed me that he was everything I thought he was. He’s a very intelligent brother.”
Howard revealed to us that his next goal is to be the lead in a film or tv show and that his dream role includes fictional characters with super powers “My next thing I plan to tackle is that I need to get a lead role. The second is I want to get into character… I love MARVEL”