With the anticipated release of “All Eyez On Me” a movie based on the late rapper Tupac Shakur, it brings me great pleasure to share my interview on one of the stars of the upcoming film. Johnell Young who is a God fearing Christian was born and raised in Staten Island, New York. At the tender age of 9 Johnell started acting and landed his first role on on a movie call Pootie Tang starring Chris Rock, JB Smooth, Wanda Sykes, and Lance Crouther to name a few. After the filming of Pootie Tang was completed Johnell went on a hiatus from acting.
Johnell was not only talented on the big screen, but he is an avid basketball player. Young attended Clark Atlanta University where he played the position of Guard. With major stats and his agility on the court, Johnell was looking down the road to become a professional B-Ball player for the NBA (National Basketball Association). Johnell took his BBall skills and played for a team in Tijuana, Mexico. At this time he had some tough decisions to make as far as remain overseas to play basketball or come back to the states to finish college and to pursue his dream to the NBA….he came back to the states to finish school. In the midst of his senior year at Clark Atlanta University, Young saw the opportunity to get back into acting when he learned about auditions being held for the role of Tupac’s best friend and label mate Ray Luv.
“I am going to be completely honest with you about the audition process….I didn’t have enough money to audition. I needed money to go to my manager’s house to make reels to submit. So I asked my parents for help and they agreed to send me some money. Soon as I received the money I went to my manager’s house and we were doing videos after videos. I wanted the video to be perfect. We actually end up doing three videos. We carefully looked at each video and sent the best one in. At this point all I could do is hope and pray for the outcome to be in my favor. So here comes the irony part….I was watching the NWA Straight Out of Compton movie, right at the part where Tupac was in the booth and he was recording California Love I received a phone call congratulating me on landing the role of Ray Luv for the upcoming movie “All Eyez On Me”. Once he got the call Johnell started studying Ray Luv and Tupac’s music.
Although he didn’t work on the set with Jamal Woolard who portrayed the late Christopher Wallace Sr. better known as Notorious BIG, he heard from other people on the set about how talented he is and how everyone loved working with him. When it came down to the main star Demetrius Shipp who shockingly resembles Tupac to the core, this is what Johnell had to say “Demetrius I don’t mean to throw you into this, but you are Tupac”. Johnell expressed how it was an honor to work with everyone on the set.
Now that the filming is all wrapped up and the movie All Eyez on Me is set to be in theaters June 16, 2017, Johnell being the “Master of all trades” has been doing other ventures such as modeling, screen writing, casting in other movies (Making Moves 2017 and Shot Clock ATL), and auditioning for the spot to portray Mr. Dalvin for the Jodeci biopic. With 10 toes to the ground, the support from his family & friends, and his Christian faith Johnell Young is a name that will be on the lips of many in the world as we get to see more and more of this impeccable talent.
Be sure to follow Johnell Young on these social media sites to stay tuned!
IG and Twitter: @johnellxyoung
All Eyez On Me will be in theaters June 16, 2017