Drake Nearly Quit "Degrassi" After His Character, Jimmy, Was Paralyzed

Drake reportedly almost left "Degrassi" when he learned his character was going to be in a wheelchair.

BYCole Blake
Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

Drake allegedly almost left the show, Degrassi: The Next Generation, after learning that his character, Jimmy, would be confined to a wheelchair, according to his castmates and several of the writers on the show who spoke with The A.V. Club for a new interview on the show's 20th anniversary.

In season four, Drake's character was shot by another student at the high school and forced to spend the next several seasons in a wheelchair.

Scott Gries / Getty Images

Actor Lauren Collins, who played Paige on the show, says that Drake took the massive change in his role quite hard: "I don’t want to speak for anyone, but I think [Aubrey] probably struggled with the idea that he was one of two Black characters on the show, and that he was the one who was winding up shot and in a wheelchair, which obviously is part of a much larger conversation."

According to writer James Hurst, Drake's legal team went as far as sending a letter demanding that his character be healed from the injury. Hurst explains to The A.V. Club:

There was a letter from a law firm in Toronto, and it was from Aubrey. It was an odd letter that said, “Aubrey Graham will not return to Degrassi season six as Jimmy Brooks unless his injury is healed, and he’s out of the wheelchair.” I said, “Get him down here.” He came in and was like, “What letter? I don’t know about that.” And I said, “All right, I understand. But how do you feel about the wheelchair?” He’s like, “All my friends in the rap game say I’m soft because I’m in a wheelchair.” And I said, “Well, tell your friends in the rap game that you got shot. How much harder can you get? You got shot, and you’re in a wheelchair.” He was like, “Yeah, yeah.” He was so nice and apologetic about everything. He instantly backed down. I was very passionate about it, and I said, “Aubrey, there’s some kid somewhere in a wheelchair, who’s completely ignored, who’s never on television, never gets represented.” I need you to represent this person. You’re the coolest kid on the show, and you can say there’s nothing wrong with being in a wheelchair.”

[Via]


  • Link Copied to Clipboard!
About The Author
Cole Blake is currently an Editor at HotNewHipHop based out of Brooklyn, New York. He began working at the site as an intern back in 2018 while studying journalism at St. John’s University. In the time since, he’s graduated with a bachelor's degree and written extensively about a wide range of topics including pop culture, film & television, politics, video games, sports, and much more. He’s also covered music festivals such as Gov. Ball and Rolling Loud. You can find him publishing work for HNHH from Monday to Wednesday or on weekends. On the sports front, Cole’s a passionate NBA and NFL fan with his favorite teams being the Indianapolis Colts and Los Angeles Lakers. He also roots for the Yankees whenever he finds himself at Yankee Stadium or the Red Storm when in the company of other SJU alumni. His favorite hip-hop artists are billy woods, Earl Sweatshirt, Cam’ron, MIKE, and Mach-Hommy.