Bernard David Jones stars in ‘The Mayor,’ a new show about a rapper who runs for office for free promotion and gets elected. We get the joke here, but Bernard told HollywoodLife.com EXCLUSIVELY the comedy is nothing like our reality.
The hype surrounding ABC’s The Mayor is real, and for good reason. The show — a new sitcom starring Brandon Micheal Hall as Courtney Rose, a young rapper who decides to put his name on the mayoral ballot to get himself some free publicity and ends up winning — already dropped its pilot for free a few weeks ago, and fans and critics alike love it. Though the reaction is definitely appreciated, Bernard David Jones, who plays Jermaine Leforge, one of Courtney’s best friends and his enthusiastic communications director, couldn’t have anticipated it would have resonated with people this much. However, given the country’s current political climate, it makes sense that a story about someone who probably shouldn’t have been elected (but is actually trying really hard to do a good job) would hit close to home — in a good way. Click here to see pics from the show.
“I was not prepared,” Bernard told HollywoodLife.com EXCLUSIVELY of seeing viewers’ reactions to the pilot. “People are like, ‘This is good. Wow!’ People are connecting to this piece of art that we all connect to. We believe that it’s important right now. People need to see this type of show that has hope and love and unity and they are responding to it.” Oh they definitely are, as Twitter is already abuzz about tonight’s official premiere. Of course there are many reasons for that, like the fact new Brandon, Bernard and Marcel Spears‘ (who plays Courtney’s other BFF, T.K. Clifton) new faces will be mixed in with some comedic heavyweights, like Lea Michele (who plays Valentina, Courtney’s reluctant chief of staff) and Yvette Nicole Brown (who plays Dina, Courtney’s mother). Jermaine says that even though the cast is lead by Brandon, a Julliard trained newcomer who is totally killing it, these ladies act as “strong women, who are strong in different ways,” behind this man.
“We have Yvette Nicole Brown [who plays] a young mom who had Courtney when she was 16,” Bernard said. “And she not only raised him, but had such a big part of raising T.K. and Jermaine as well. A single mom who raised not just one son, basically raised two others, and gave them the best experience they could have. Sometimes we’re just like, ‘We don’t know how you did it.’ And to have that character on screen is awesome and she’s such a strong woman.” Bernard said Lea is just as powerful a force, playing a young woman who takes politics seriously. “Lea Michele makes the decision to say, ‘I know that I was on the opposing team, but I still want to make this community better and show other women you can come in, you can go into these offices and make a difference,’” he said. “Her role as a strong woman in the mayor’s office should inspire women everywhere.”
When fans who have yet to see the pilot tune in tonight, Bernard assures us there will be something for everyone (did we mention Hamilton‘s Daveed Diggs is not just executive producer, but also in charge of the music?), because it is such a unique, but timely, story. “What drew me to this project is, so here’s a story about a young black rapper who has two young black best friends who are uplifting him and encouraging him and there for him in this time in his life when he’s stepping into the unknown really,” he said. “And with the way we have America right now, to be able to watch a show where it’s a fish out of water story, where he doesn’t know politics, but the difference is he has heart and love for his people.”
Bernard has faith that The Mayor will make a difference in more than just ABC’s ratings. “I think when people come to watch this show it will hopefully spark some people who do not know politics, but have heart for the people, to say, ‘Maybe I can get up and go to a council meeting,” he said. “The issues that people are facing locally, people are facing nationally. This rapper going out there, he didn’t have the best intentions. I think people will relate to that. I hope people relate to that.” We do too.
The Mayor premieres tonight at 9:30 p.m. ET on ABC.
HollywoodLifers, will you be tuning in to watch the show tonight? Let us know below!