Meet Brandon Gilpin, The Actor Playing a 15-Year Old DJ on the New Starz Show "P-Valley"
Brandon Gilpin a.k.a ShowTimeBrando is an Actor, Dancer, Musical Artist, Host, Comedian, Entrepreneur and Filmmaker. Raised in Amityville, New York, Brandon originally started his career off as a dancer but later found a love for all aspects of being an entertainer. From performing funny skits in his room to being on stage as a lead role, Brandon has grown a diverse fan base. Gilpin decided to take his career a step further and audition for more professional acting roles. At the age of fifteen, Brandon began to take the train to the city for these auditions. Those train trips paid off. Now the young actor stars in the new Starz series P-Valley, which premiered on July 12th.
Created by award-winning playwright, Katori Hall, P-Valley tells the story of the lives of strip club dancers working down in the Mississippi Delta, aka Dirty Delta. With rave reviews, the new series will easily be picked up for a season 2. The Quintessential Gentleman had the chance to chat with Brandon about his growing Hollywood career and what viewers can expect from the new show.
How is your mental health, and what are you doing to stay sane? Keep your creative flow during this crazy time we are living in?
I pray all the time, every day. I am doing well in that aspect and I keep creative by creating content for TikTok. It really expands your mind to different things and different areas of other kinds of content that you don't normally see. The app keeps my mind stimulated.
What was it like growing up as a young Black boy who took dance lessons?
I never really thought of it like that because I’ve been doing it forever. I was the only Black boy out of two or three boys in the class. And sometimes, I was the only kid in the class or the only boy in the class, but it never really bothered me. I just thought it was cool. I saw myself as a dancer.
As a Black man in America, are you hopeful?
I am hopeful. I am always hopeful. We keep hope alive, even in the darkest times. America is opening its eyes and that is a great thing, it will help us move forward towards a better future.
How did you get the name Showtime Brando?
I was really good at basketball. On the courts, every time my dad’s friends saw me, he would yell out ‘Here comes Showtime. That’s Showtime right there.’ It kind of just stuck.
You are a senior at Morehouse College, how are you balancing school and your acting career?
People make time for the things they want to make time for, and there are people who make excuses. I don’t make excuses, I make it happen. I communicate with my professors if I have to miss class, I get my school work done, no matter how late I have to stay up or when I need to study. Acting is important to me as well as school, and I know I need to do both.
Was it important for you to attend an HBCU college?
It was a top priority. It teaches you something PWI’s don’t. People in the industry that I look up to, attended HBCU colleges. I learned my history and what it meant to be a Black man in America and a Black person in the world. Attending Morehouse I knew was something that I needed to do. I felt it.
How do you feel about the current shift happening in Hollywood when it comes to Black content?
I think it is interesting. We are in a time where we are creating our own opportunities and our own content. We are not waiting and that is a good thing. We are not waiting for people to tell our stories. I am hopeful that Hollywood will start looking at our stores differently now.
How do you overcome fear?
The big F word. I let it flow through me. I acknowledge it and accept it, but I don't let it stop me. We let fear impact us in a negative way or a positive way, and I always choose the positive way.
Tell me about your new series regular role on P-Valley.
I play Dj Neva Scared, a 15-year old that DJ’s in the strip club. I love the complexities of that. The series touch on sex work, stripper life and normalizes a community that is often dehumanized. This stuff is real. The storylines show why these people do what they do. It has layers, just as you and I.
Do you relate to your character in any way?
Yes, we are both the life of the party!
What do you hope audiences will take away while watching the series?
That we are all human, trying to figure it out. That these characters have a story that is relatable.
Catch Brandon on P-Valley, Sundays at 8 pm on Starz. Check out the trailer below.