How Nipsey Hussle Inspired (& Almost Appeared On) All American

Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage/Getty Images.
One more reason why The CW's All American should be your next Netflix binge? According to a new interview with its creators, the series drew inspiration from the late, much-beloved rapper and community advocate Nipsey Hussle.
Hussle was murdered by gunfire outside of his clothing store in Los Angeles earlier in April. A celebration of Hussle's life was held at DTLA's Staples Center, and was attended by thousands of fans. Stars like Snoop Dogg, singer Anthony Hamilton, and Master P took the stage to honor the slain musician in addition to his girlfriend, Lauren London, and the rest of his family.
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All American is about Spencer James (Daniel Ezra), a teenager from Crenshaw who is invited into the privileged world of Beverly Hills when he is recruited to their football team. Along the way, Spencer contends with the culture clash between his two homes as he navigates all the drama of high school. If social media is any indication, the fans who just discovered this 2018 series are loving both the soap and the heart of this drama. On Wednesday, The CW heard their pleas for more All American and renewed the series for a second season.
In an interview with Deadline, All American executive producers Robbie Rogers and showrunner Nkechi Okoro revealed that it was Hussle — a fellow resident of South L.A. — who provided Ezra with inspiration for his character. It's for this reason that the duo said Hussle came "close" to appearing in season 1 of the series.
"We are all huge fans of Nipsey on the show and in fact were trying to get him on the show in season one but we couldn’t make the schedules work. Our lead actor, Daniel Ezra, who’s British, has spoken repeatedly about how studying Nipsey was how he crafted the character of Spencer James, right down to the accent," Rogers and Okoro said in a joint statement to the outlet.
The two said it was "impossible to rep Crenshaw without repping Nipsey," which is the reason his music and clothing line were featured frequently on All American.
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"People are motivated to pick up the baton and continue Nipsey’s work and we feel exactly the same way," they added to Deadline. "We believe in what Nipsey was doing to revitalize South LA and whatever we can do to continue his legacy, we will."
Hussle's legacy could continue, in part, through All American.
"A few weeks back, Nielsen released data to The CW saying All American was the number 3 show of the week for Netflix and number 2 in teenagers," executive producer Greg Berlanti told Deadline. "Obviously Netflix is quiet about that sort of thing but all the indicators we’ve gotten are very positive and a good sign that the show is continuing to find an audience, just as Riverdale did after its first season on The CW and Netflix."
With a season 2 on the horizon and its fanbase growing stronger by the day, this show could potentially rep Hussle for a very, very long time.
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