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Black-ish Actor Marcus Scribner goes hard on camo and the HBCU vs. PWI debate.
Actor Marcus Scribner, aka Junior from Black-ish, is now an almost adult on the TV screen and IRL. YR Media's Merk Nguyen and Nyge Turner make him dance with questions about interracial dating and historically black colleges and universities.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity. Check out the full conversation on YR Media’s Adult ISH podcast (episode 5 – Race ISH).
Nyge: Could you describe what you're wearing right now?
Merk: Is it an original Marcus design?
Marcus: It's original Marcus by Marcus. I've got on camo pants. Some nice camo green Pumas. Then, we've got this nice camo green and navy denim blue button-up top which is very weird describing it. But if you saw it, you'd be like, "Oh it works!"
Nyge: Okay, so camo on camo on camo.
Merk: Where'd Marcus go? He's so camouflaged.
Marcus: Yeah, exactly. You guys couldn't even find me in the studio [in Los Angeles] if you were here. But green is my color. I love green.
Nyge: But real talk though, are there any similarities between you and your character in real life?
Marcus: Not as much as a lot of people tend to believe. I'm definitely a nerd. I love video games, comic books, superheroes, anime, all the such. But then there [are] a lot of differences between me and Junior. In fact, I feel Junior's extremely gullible and he lets people push him around and sometimes I'm like, "Come on, Junior! Get out! Do something!" And I'm like, "Oh yeah. It's a character." Junior's also very flexi with the colors. I feel like my style's a little more chill and reserved. I go with the beiges, the wine reds. You know what I mean?
Merk: The chardonnays.
Marcus: The chardonnay, the concord grape.
Nyge: Can chardonnay be red?
Marcus: Can it? I don't even know about alcohol. I'm 18.
Nyge: I feel like I'm your old uncle….like, "Shoot! Look at Junior!" Anyways, now it's time for you to win the Nobel Peace Prize on our advice segment called GOALS.
Merk: And since we're talking about race ISH, let's start with interracial dating or friendships. So I'm thinking about the episode where Junior brings home a white girlfriend. Your TV mom doesn't know how to feel about it. I've had a similar experience, but I want to know from you. What are some tips you have about introducing someone new to your folks that might not come from the same background as you?
Marcus: I think it's really important obviously to let them know that you're happy. It's not about skin color. It's really about the person and the connection that you share with them. If you're happy and your parents can't accept that, tough luck.
Nyge: I remember I was in high school and I brought this girlfriend home. She was Mexican and Dominican and my mom was like, "Oh...Hi..." And I just remember my mom was talking to me like I was like two years old. She was just like, "Oh, so...do you like black women?" Yes I do!
Marcus: Yeah. It's definitely a conversation starter.
Nyge: On the episode Black Math on Black-ish, Junior gets accepted to Stanford University and Howard University, which is an historically black college, or HBCU. Then Dre [your dad in the show] isn't really feeling it because you aren't even considering going to Howard. Then Dre takes you on a campus tour that ultimately ends up going wrong because it makes it seem like HBCUs don't really prepare you for "real life". Long story short, Twitter went off and everybody was so upset because HBCU students felt misrepresented.
So what I want to know, if you could break it down for people in the same situation about to go into college, what are some of the pros and cons or misconceptions about HBCUs versus non-HBCUs? Or PWIs, predominantly white institutions.
Marcus: What I want to get straight off the bat is I feel like a lot of people misinterpreted the episode. I think it was definitely Dre's perspective that he thought HBCUs don't prepare you for the real world from what he previously experienced. I think we tried to make it obvious from going on the tour of Howard that Junior was really enjoying his experience.
There are definite benefits to both. At an HBCU, you get to experience your culture with other like-minded black individuals. That definitely cultivates a different experience, and anybody who says that HBCUs don't prepare you for the real world -- [that] is probably the dumbest statement I've ever heard in my entire life. Everybody is there to learn. Just touching on one of the moments in our episode, one of Dre's past employers was like, "What'd you learn at your HBCU? Black math?" "No! I learned math, homie!" Believe it or not, there are black people with different views than you. We're not all the same. Mind blowing, right?
Again, it's really what you feel is right for you. Make the decision that's smart for you.