Drake threatened legal action against ‘Degrassi’ over wheelchair storyline
“All my friends in the rap game say I’m soft because I’m in a wheelchair”
A writer on 00s teen show Degrassi: The Next Generation has revealed that Drake threatened legal action against the show, in which he co-starred, over a wheelchair storyline.
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The rapper appeared as Jimmy Brooks in the Canadian drama from 2001 over seven seasons.
However in a recent oral history of the show to mark its 20th anniversary, writer James Hurst explained that the then actor pursued legal action after his character wound up in a wheelchair.
“There was a letter from a law firm in Toronto, and it was from Aubrey [Graham, aka Drake],” Hurst told AV Club.
“It was an odd letter that said, “Aubrey Graham will not return to Degrassi season six as Jimmy Brooks unless his injury is healed, and he’s out of the wheelchair.”
The writer called Drake in to get to the root of the issue.
He’s like, “All my friends in the rap game say I’m soft because I’m in a wheelchair.” And I said, “Well, tell your friends in the rap game that you got shot. How much harder can you get? You got shot, and you’re in a wheelchair,” Hurst explained.
He went on to say that the issue was quickly resolved, with Drake backing down on pursuing further action.
“I said, “Aubrey, there’s some kid somewhere in a wheelchair, who’s completely ignored, who’s never on television, never gets represented.” I need you to represent this person. You’re the coolest kid on the show, and you can say there’s nothing wrong with being in a wheelchair.”
Meanwhile co-star Lauren Collins voiced sympathy for Drake within the same article.
“I think [Aubrey] probably struggled with the idea that he was one of two Black characters on the show, and that he was the one who was winding up shot and in a wheelchair, which obviously is part of a much larger conversation,” she said.