With 2.1 million viewers tuning into the premiere of Bounce TV's freshman show Johnson, creator and star Deji LaRay's mission to help change the narrative of Black men is off to a great start.
LaRay stars as Greg, who’s on the verge of moving in with his lady after a year. Co-executive producer and former NFL running back, Thomas Q. Jones, stars as Omar who is unhappily married and heading towards divorce. Included in the friend group is Derrex Brady, who plays Jarvis, a slick real estate pro whose interracial marriage creates identity conflicts, and Philip Smithey, who plays the romantically naïve Keith. Rounding out the brotherhood, D.L. Hughley pops in as Omar’s uncle, a popular local radio personality. The series is also executive produced by Hugley's Kings of Comedy fellow, Cedric The Entertainer.
Investing in themselves, LaRay and Jones created Johnson's pilot out of their own pocket and began shopping the show around. "I noticed a void in the industry," Deji explains as the reason the concept was created. The show centers on four Black men with a friendship that lasted from their childhood until now in their 30s, each in different situations but still linked by their past. Johnson explores the complexities of friendships, mental health, dating and more, through the lens of Black men.
We had the chance to chat with LaRay about his show, brotherhood and why a show like Johnson is needed now more than ever.
Catch new episodes of Johnson on Bounce TV Sunday nights at 8pm EST, and catch up on past episodes on Bounce TV's streaming service, BrownSugar.com.
Photo Credit: Storm Santos