Jeremiah Craft can be seen playing Lil Stinker in the new Peacock Original Series Girls5eva, which was released in America earlier this month, and the show centres around a disbanded girl group from the 90s, with Jeremiah co-writing one of the featured songs Line Up. Last year, Jeremiah made his film debut in Bill & Ted Face the Music as Louis Armstrong and, amongst his other screen roles, he played the sidekick D.W. Griffith in the award-winning Netflix series Luke Cage. As a musician, Jeremiah has released original music and in July this year, he will be releasing his new project $hippuden. We spoke with Jeremiah about playing Lil Stinker in Girls5eva, making his film debut in Bill & Ted Face the Music and his time in Luke Cage as sidekick D.W. Griffith.
You are appearing in Girls5eva as Lil Stinker, can you tell us about the show and your role?
Of course! The show is about a disbanded girl group from the 90s who are all living normal lives (families, jobs, etc) when a rapper samples their greatest hit. Boom, they’re lit again.
Was there anything that drew you to the production and what’s it like being part of the cast?
I’ve always said, I have to play a superhero, be in an anime adaption, or a rapper. So, when I got the call I’m all like, “nah! And I get to produce them?”. I didn’t realise that Love Song was written by Sara (Bareilles). I literally shot the whole show without telling her how great that record was. I love art that surprises me and that track surprised me as a kid.
Who do you think the show will appeal to and why would you recommend watching it?
It’s just a fantastic comedy about second chances. Not many of us can relate to never ending success for the entirety of life. There is only one Beyoncé out there. The rest of us have to have four-star success and chase the fifth. There’s nothing more relatable than imperfection – it’s why comedy is built on it.
What is Lil Stinker like to play and how did you find your time on set?
He’s a deep guy yo, a young philosopher, that’s the funny part. His lines are… dare I say, existential?
It’s a challenge to stay in character with hilarious lines like his. I actually think it’s sort of progressive to write a ridiculous rapper who’s also profound. People act like rappers are supposed to be dumb, but Lil Wayne was a straight-A student at McMain in my hometown, so I beg to differ. Rappers aren’t monolithic. Daily quotables.
We understand you co-wrote and worked on the song Line Up which features your co-star Sara Bareilles, what was it like hearing the song performed?
It’s just lit to hear a song I recorded in my kitchen end up on Jimmy Fallon. I was once told that if it doesn’t make money, it’s a hobby. This show officially marks the transition from hobby to professional, as it’s the first time I’ve ever been paid specifically to make music. I don’t want to cry, but no promises.
What are some of your highlights from playing Lil Stinker?
Meeting the macaw was a trip. There’s the hustle and bustle of the set, chatting, running around, then the bird enters the room in a chariot and the world stops. We get reprimanded before the bird even gets there because of the noise. The bird was 100% the biggest celebrity in the room. Jeff is so Hollywood too, I love that guy. “Jeremiah, kid, how do you feel about birds? Great, so you’ll be in a golden bathtub rapping with a macaw. You’ll do great – thanks man!”.
Last year, you made your film debut in Bill & Ted Face the Music as Louis Armstrong, what was this like to do?
I think it goes without saying that I’d be ecstatic to play the man who our literal airport is named after, in New Orleans, on my twenty-fifth birthday no less. My dream is to one day become the greatest living entertainer, and I essentially got to channel a giant who achieved it before me. I felt like Deku receiving All Might’s strength – and I’ll love you forever if you understand that anime reference.
How much did you know about the Bill & Ted franchise before booking your role and how did you find the experience being part of the new film?
I didn’t know anything at all. I watched both Excellent Adventure and Bogus Journey as soon as I got the audition email that said “LOUIS ARMSTRONG” in the subject line. Man, Keanu Reeves is everything people say he is too. He knew everyone’s names from the director to the extra making PBJ at crafty. Alex Winter is a clown and it’s wonderful. Dazmann Still is my brother for life now and a fellow anime head. Samara Weaving and Bridgette Lundy-Paine partied with us. Best birthday ever!
You played D.W. Griffith in the award-winning series Luke Cage, can you tell us about it?
That’s still one of the biggest highlights of my journey so far. I can’t believe that five years later, people still recognise me. The show aired during 2016 and half my face is in a mask and my hair is bleach blonde. Mike Colter has a mastery of stillness that I’m still trying to surpass to this day, and no matter what anyone says, I considered myself the Robin figure, since Misty was his flame.
What was it like having the show as your first series regular role?
I actually wasn’t a series regular. Originally D.W. Griffith was only supposed to be in one episode in Series 1. Cheo Hodari Coker is the man among men for adding me to four episodes, and then eight in Series 2. I really, really hope he understands how much I appreciated that.
Was there anything you enjoyed most about playing the sidekick of the Marvel superhero Luke Cage?
It was crazy to be the sidekick to a bulletproof black man; someone to give us hope during a time before we were blessed with the Black Panther. To see a large, dark brother walk through bullets in a hoodie inspired a giddiness that no one but people who look like me would ever understand. We have documented our trauma within film sooooo much. Now, Hollywood is starting to understand that there is profit with not only that, but our healing as well. And D.W. was a white guy in the comics too. What. A. Time. I pray my ancestors have access to Netflix!
Had you always wanted an acting career and where did you start?
I sort of wanted to be a superhero basketball star in space until I was like… a teenager. My mom didn’t allow me to play any sports, because she’s a mom and she knew I’d get hurt. One day, The Fresh Prince was on in the living room, and I just pointed and said, “Hey mom, what’s that? What is that thing he’s doing called? Acting? Cool. I’m going to do that.” I originally just wanted all of Will Smith’s girlfriends in the show, but I stuck with the idea of acting. I later learned that me and Will Smith got the same ENFP score for the Myers Briggs personality test, so now I’m hyped.
What are some of your favourite TV shows and films to watch and have you seen any recently you would recommend?
I’m completely enamored with anime, and despite playing live action as a career, anime has to be at least 70% of what I watch. There’s just so much to learn and so much beauty in it, like modern mythology or Greek gods. Naruto is the GOAT, which is why he’s tatted on my left arm, and DBZ is anime’s Michael Jordan, obviously. But, also, Demon Slayer, My Hero Academia, Jujutsu, I’ll even throw you a Samurai Champloo or a Yu Yu Hakasho.
We understand you have a passion for music, can you say more about this?
I started rapping and singing around the same time as acting, at like eight years old at Anthony Bean Community Theater, where I met the Jiraiya of my story, Anthony Bean. Over the years, I honed my bars and became what I’d call a rapper’s rapper, just really heavy on bars and double entendres. But last year, I finally found my true sound with melodic rap inspired by fandom. A Loser is Brilliant is my left turn album, my Igor by Tyler or TPAB by Kendrick, except for me, I’ll keep this sound.
What career plans do you have for 2021?
I’m working on an alternate version of A Loser is Brilliant that’s about 80% done. After the release of Nani, my first trap record centered on Naruto; it got like 80k plays on Spotify, and I noticed that there was an essentially untapped goldmine of anime or fandom related rap. So, because ALIB was symbolic of my love for Naruto and Shounen, I’ve decided, and I’ll give you guys the exclusive – to name my next project $hippuden, and every single track is anime. July 21st, 2021, I always release music on my birthday. I can’t wait for y’all to hear it.
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