MUSE: Quincy Brown
If there’s one person who can single-handedly change the vibe in the room as soon as they walk in, it’s Quincy Brown. At only 24-years old, Quincy is nothing less than a multi-talented mogul. His credits include acting in last summer's hit film Dope (with Shameik Moore, Tony Revolori, Kiersey Clemons, Kimberly Elise, Chanel Iman, Tyga, Blake Anderson, Zoë Kravitz, and A$AP Rocky), releasing a Pop/R&B album, walking in Naomi Campbell's Fashion for Relief show during New York Fashion Week, coming out with his own watch collection “Chalk x Quincy,” and most recently launching his own denim collection with Embelish NYC. We were in awe; his intelligence, maturity and incredibly appreciative attitude towards the life he's been granted kept us wanting to find out more.
He was vibrant, keeping everyone in the room laughing at his sly remarks and added notes to the songs playing in the background. There’s nothing more entertaining than watching him bust some amazing dance moves while getting fitted for a photo shoot, as we recently found out first hand. Zipping around on his iohawk and lending a hand in lessons, we had the pleasure of chatting with Quincy about his new breakthrough role in Dope and other exciting projects he’s been working on.
Labeling Men: First of all, happy belated birthday!
Quincy Brown: Thank you! I’m getting older.
Labeling Men: You don’t look older.
Quincy Brown: Thanks! I’m trying to play high school roles for the next five years.
Labeling Men: I bet you can still easily get those roles. What motivated you to pursue acting?
Quincy Brown: Well, growing up I used to watch so much TV, like Lifetime with my grandma, and I was always watching movies. It kind of resurfaced as an interest probably going from middle school to high school. I would, like, imitate people a lot and do those types of things. I’m a huge jokester. I will literally keep a joke going for days and with seriousness and have people think it’s true.
Labeling Men: Ha, that’s awesome.
Quincy Brown: It’s a variety of those types of things and friends would say, “Yo, you should be acting!” [It was after] I lost the love of my life, which was baseball. I was moved around so much, just being with my family and stuff, where when it was varsity time and baseball really mattered, I was ineligible to play sports because I had so many absences.
Labeling Men: Aw, I’m sorry.
Quincy Brown: Yeah, it was very, very devastating. But, you know, I switched that and replaced that time by going to acting classes and stuff like that. Everything was… in the works. I didn’t even go on to auditions immediately because I wanted to get that foundation of… techniques. I had to really soak those up before I wanted to go out there.
Labeling Men: Oh, that’s awesome. Is there a specific genre of film you’d like to do? Comedy?
Quincy Brown: I mean, comedy is definitely something I want to dive into and lock it in so people can see that I’m a funny guy but I don’t always choose to go the funny route. As an actor, I do want to explore. I do want to want to stretch. I do want to do roles that’s going to be uncomfortable for me to play and, you know, once you get locked in that “funny guy” zone it’s kind of hard to go serious.
Labeling Men: Yeah, or expand.
Quincy Brown: Yeah. I definitely don’t want to get into that too soon, but that’s why I’m studying for it – to perfect that craft. In Dope I was able to use it a little bit, it wasn’t ALL the way funny so it was colorful.
Labeling Men: Well, isn’t that the perfect segue? Do you want to tell us what the movie Dope is about? [Watch the trailer here]
Quincy Brown: Yes! Dope is about this kid and his friends, who are geeks and are kind of like the odd ones out. They’re not really the ones you look at for the cool kids… but still are smart and be able to do everything. They got a little comfortable and became friends with a drug dealer and hung out with him and a drug deal went bad. Then, they ended up with the drugs and somehow they had to continue to do well in school but still take the responsibility of trying to get these drugs to where they need to go.
Labeling Men: That’s very funny!
Quincy Brown: I interrupt that path once they set forth on their journey to get these drugs to the appropriate recipient. But, of course they go through trials and tribulations for it and really have to watch their backs and really see who their friends are. [The movie] really teaches a lot of life lessons. It’s based in Inglewood and [it’s] very authentic. I think that it’s going to be a film that people talk about for a long time.
Labeling Men: Yeah, definitely! Can you tell us a little bit more about your character?
Quincy Brown: I play Jaleel, who is a rich guy. A private school raised gangster is what I like to call him. He’s a little arrogant and he’s WANTING to be this gangster, rather than NEEDING to be this gangster and that’s very visible in the movie. It’s very funny because these kids walk up to my house and I’m just like, “Who the hell are these kids?,” and they drop this one little keyword that lets me know what they’re here for and I’m just like, “Oh, come in. It’s your house.” So we get to know each other real quick and Malcolm [the main character] got to fondle with my “sister” a bit while I was gone and that was a whole issue. We actually recorded a song too while they were at my crib and that’s one of the songs on the soundtrack. It’s like I produced it, because I did produce it in the movie, but really for reals, he produced it but in the scene I’m cooking up the beat.
Labeling Men: Haha. That’s awesome! What attracted you to the script and the character?
Quincy Brown: It definitely was the overall script and then knowing what fun I could have with the character came along with it. The script is just very authentic and the way the story is told with the violence, with the sex, everything was dug deep into and it wasn’t just brushed over the topics. When I see a bunch of new people involved, I think of Superbad and I think of Napoleon Dynamite and independent movies that are so amazing and then think, “Woah, those are all newcomers and now look at them today.” I knew I was going to be part of a nice, little ensemble.
Labeling Men: Yeah, it’s a great cast for sure!
Quincy Brown: Yeah! And it was definitely a no-brainer. The script was a no-brainer and then I found out who was involved and I was like, “Oh, please. Let’s get it.”
Labeling Men: What was it like working with the cast?
Quincy Brown: Simply amazing. Some I knew, some was the first time. I knew Chanel [Iman], I knew Kiersey [Clemons] indirectly, I had never met Shameik [Moore], I had never met Tony [Revolori], I had never met A$AP [Rocky]. It was funny because the moment we got on set it was like we knew each other for two, three, four years plus already. That day one, you know of course you go into a new project and there’s a new film crew, new AD’s and you never know what people are going to be like and that first day is awkward and the next day can hopefully be better. But this time, the first day set the rest of the days from the jump – starting from the make-up trailer. Everybody had fun in the make-up trailer and we immediately took Polaroid [photos] and everyday was a fun little party. Work time was work time and lunch time was lunch time.
Labeling Men: That’s really sweet and fun. Do you have any favorite moments from shooting?
Quincy Brown: I think it was a fun time as a whole. Like I said, just dealing with a bunch of new people just felt like a home. I can’t wait to shoot Dope 2. I don’t even know if that’s going to happen - but of course it’s going to happen, what am I saying? I think just the overall experience... I like the way the independent world works with each other. You can tell who believes in a project and who doesn’t. I think that all together it was a fun time.
Labeling Men: I couldn’t help but notice how awesome the wardrobe was in the film. So it’s a present-day movie with a 80s-90s vibe?
Quincy Brown: Yeah, I think more so the kids today are resurfacing that 90s theme, that 90s look. The music, as well, is bringing up that 90s feel and I think that’s a great way to bring a certain attraction to a film. Not only do that, but also kind of school some of these “youngins” who really don’t know about the 90s because they weren’t born yet. I think the generation below us, with the social media and everything, everything is kind of happening for a reason and there couldn’t be a perfect time to bring this film with this 90s music. I think everything was done purposely, with Rick [Famuyiwa]’s genius mind. He knew exactly what he wanted to do to speak to the kids. He’s an O.G. in the game, let’s put it that way.
Labeling Men: If you were to give your fashion style a label what would it be?
Quincy Brown: I would like to say, if I had to label myself, my style is an enigma.
Labeling Men: Ooh, very interesting...
Quincy Brown: Iggy Azalea, she definitely hit it on the head when she kind of labeled herself this, but – my style is the new classic. I’d like to say that too, just because I’m very James Dean driven-ish, Rat Pack era, Frank Sinatra. I love those vibes and when I think maturity, when I think grown man, that’s what I think. But then again, today’s wardrobe and outfits, those can be classics so you’re mixing the future of things with the past of things and making it my own.
Labeling Men: What’s your go-to outfit?
Quincy Brown: My go-to outfit would be anything all black. I’d rock a black onesie and just call it.
Labeling Men: You can’t go wrong with black.
Quincy Brown: Yeah, you can’t go wrong with black, so anything black.
Labeling Men: And you’re also an entrepreneur…
Quincy Brown: Yes!
Labeling Men: …And you have your watch line.
Quincy Brown: Yes!
Labeling Men: How long have you been working on that?
Quincy Brown: I’ve actually been in the works with this for almost two years now. I partnered with Curtin Wong, who owns Curtis & Co. Watches, and we were brought together by a mutual friend. This venture is something very interesting to dive into, instead of doing a t-shirt line or a hat line. It wasn’t something like “You like them? Cool. Let’s make them and sell them.” It wasn’t that. I was in the rooms with the guys and the designers and with the graphics, that’s why it took almost two years to do. They sent me some and I was like, “Eh, I don’t really like these. Sorry guys. Start over?” Now, I can finally say that I just shot the campaign commercial for it and I’m about to do some photo shoots so I can start building visually the awareness of it and soon it’ll be on sale. So, if people want to buy it it’ll be on chalklifestyle.com. Or I have an app coming too where you can just download the "Chalk by Quincy" app and just buy a watch right from the app and ship it right to your door.
Labeling Men: Oh my gosh, that’s amazing! How many different styles do you have?
Quincy Brown: I have eight different styles and they all give off a masculine look, but definitely for females as well. I have a white and a rose-gold. And when I say masculine look I mean, it’s just because they’re a little bigger and I know females sometimes like to be petite with the watch choice but I believe that if you go with "Chalk by Quincy" you go no wrong.
Labeling Men: That’s a great sales pitch! Do you have any other upcoming projects coming up?
Quincy Brown: Yes. My album, I want to say, is officially done!
Labeling Men: Oh! Congratulations are in order!
Quincy Brown: Yeah. I don’t have a name. I don’t have a date. But, I’ve said to myself that this is the finishing point, you know. I’ve got about eight or nine songs on it, some which are already out now, some are going to be a total surprise. I think I’ve waited a nice time before I really just threw it out there, because you know, I’m a perfectionist in a sense and I don’t have much room for mistake, especially coming from my family. We have a lot of attention on us, you know, so I can’t mess up. So that’s coming out in the next two months.
Labeling Men: Is this your first album release?
Quincy Brown: Yeah, it’s my first album and I’m independently just putting it out and hopefully the world can really understand me as an artist and the music I make and go see the movie and see me as an actor and the movies I’m making.
Labeling Men: What genre would you consider your music to be?
Quincy Brown: I would like to say Pop/R&B. I like to have fun, I like rap. There’s some rapping in there and some singing in there. It’s just a different side of me that you really haven’t seen yet because you’ve seen things in like one song release here and one song release there, but never a package. I’m not saying that from start to finish there’s a story being told, because they all have different vibes and they all have a different story – some are break up songs, some are about dancing with a girl all night, one’s a song about how a girl makes you feel like suicide, but in a good way. A lot of colors with my music.
Interview by Karen M. Guzelian
This interview has been edited and condensed.