'Degrassi' writer says Drake threatened legal action to get his character 'out of the wheelchair' – Business Insider India

A writer on “Degrassi” said that Drake threatened legal action because he was unhappy that his character was in a wheelchair.
The four-time Grammy winner rose to fame through starring in the first seven seasons of Canadian teen drama “Degrassi: The Next Generation” as Jimmy Brooks. In season four, Brooks was paralyzed after being shot in a school shooting.
James Hurst, a writer on the show revealed during an interview with The AV Club for the show’s 20th anniversary that Drake (real name is Aubrey Graham) tried to leave the show before season six.
“There was a letter from a law firm in Toronto, and it was from Aubrey,” Hurst said. “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.” I said, ‘Get him down here.'”
Hurst continued: “He came in and was like, ‘What letter? I don’t know about that.’ And I said, ‘All right, I understand. But how do you feel about the wheelchair?’ 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.’ He was like, ‘Yeah, yeah.'”
“He was so nice and apologetic about everything,” the “Degrassi’ writer added. “He instantly backed down. I was very passionate about it, and 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.”
Insider has reached out to Drake’s representatives for comment. Drake’s co-stars Stefan Brogren, Lauren Collins, and Shane Kippel spoke about the difficulty Drake had with his role after his character was paralyzed.
Collins, who played Paige, said: “I don’t want to speak for anyone, but 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.”
Brogren also said there were conversations about Brooks’ injury which led to the character walking on crutches in later seasons.
Earlier this year, Insider spoke to the cast and showrunners of “Degrassi” about how the series was nearly canceled after its ninth season. An executive producer also said previously that Drake needed convincing in order to do the rap scene on the show because he wanted to keep his music and acting separate.
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