I had the pleasure of chatting with Jay Ellis, from BET’s hit show “The Game.” He currently wrapped up the final and 6th season on the show. We talked about his time on the show, the future for black folks on television and some of his favorite travel experiences. Check out the interview below!
Soul Society 101: Hi Jay! Thank you so much for speaking with us today. We truly appreciate it! So, you shot the last season of The Game. How was that?
Jay: It was amazing! It was a really great experience. I was a fan on the show before I started my role. It’s been crazy to see 9 years of the characters come to an end and there is an added feeling having been apart of it instead of just watching it.
Soul Society 101: Is it a bittersweet feeling with the show ending?
Jay: It’s always bittersweet to leave a job but at the same time I walk away with a sense of accomplishment. I also walk away with my head held high because we got to do what a lot of other shows don’t get to do in the sense of the longevity and we were able to infuse comedy & drama into our show. That’s an amazing thing.
Soul Society 101: How does it make you feel to see so many black faces on television right now? Do you think this is a turning point for black actors?
Jay: I believe that we are an audience that has been underserved for quite a long time. I think that when you see successful shows like Blackish and Empire, you realize that we need to be on these networks; cable and broadcast. I do think it’s a turning point; this pilot season is going to showcase a lot of diversity. We are now in a period where you can’t discredit the fact that black actors are important to the industry.
Soul Society 101: Where do you see yourself in the next year?
Jay: I want to do another series; comedy. I love television. Films too. However, I want to make sure that I am doing them for the right reasons. I want to be involved with projects that have a good message or allow me to have fun. I don’t just want to be working for the sake of working.
Soul Society 101: Besides The Game what have been some career highlights for you?
Jay: I got to experience a lot of different sets before I went to work on The Game. I worked on NCIS, How I Met Your Mother and Grey’s Anatomy. Working on all of the different shows gave me a sense of who I wanted to be when I was on set and let me know that my career was taking off.
Soul Society 101: What are some dope places your work has taken you?
Jay: I went to Cannes last year for the film festival; the south of France is an amazing and beautiful place. It was glamourous, people just walking around in tuxedos all day long. It was a great thing to see the film industry on an international level like that. It was such a unique experience and has been my favorite by far.
Soul Society 101: Any places you are looking to cross of your bucket list?
Jay: I want to cross off Morocco, Istanbul, South Africa, China and there are a few other places in Asia that I still want to go.
Soul Society 101: What is your first vacation memory?
Jay: When I was a kid we were stationed on an airport base in Austin, Texas and my dad and I drove from Austin to Sacramento to go see my grandparents. I would spend the whole summer with my Grandparents and at the end of the summer my father would drive back and pick me up to drive back to Texas. Just that road trip with my dad always sticks out to me. It was just me and him and he wouldn’t stop anywhere.
Soul Society 101: So when you aren't traveling what are some of you favorite places to eat in LA?
Jay: There’s a dope restaurant downtown called “Bestia” that I think has one of the best culinary experiences in LA. There’s also another great spot in Studio City called “Black Market” and it super good!
Soul Society 101: Fat burger or In-And-Out?
Jay: It would have to be Fat Burger for me. I like In-And-Out a lot but Fat Burger was near my home in Hollywood. I would always end up stopping there. Not to mention, In-And-Out in Hollywood would have like a 45 min wait even for the drive thru whereas Fat Burger you would be able to walk right in.
Soul Society 101: Any new projects that you are working on for the upcoming year?
Jay: Most of what I am looking at right now is behind the camera and directing. I’m looking at a bunch of scripts and deciding what I want to work on. I am actually producing a couple of projects; a film titled Lemonade that we will start principle photography on in two months. That will take place in New York and Toronto. Also, the last four years for me have been great but it’s been non-stop. I think its time that I take a break and take some time for myself to relax.