Photography: Ricardo Nelson
Fashion Editor: Chris Sandford
Fashion Stylist: Amber “Glam” Leon & Brian Goodwin for A Guy & A Girl
Words: Chris Law
It’s the first day of fall, but you wouldn’t know it thanks to an 80-plus-degree day outside. We are all anxiously awaiting for our cover star, Quincy Brown, to arrive, as we are told that he’ll be walking in any minute now.
A few minutes later, he arrives smiling with a small entourage in tow. The room springs to action—looks are presented, makeup and hair gets underway, music blares from the sound system, Brown starts an Instagram Live feed.
Although he is an attractive guy who could be linked to many bad chicks, and he comes from a well-to-do background, none of that has gone to his head. He is young, but he’s got an old soul and a ferocious work ethic.
Quincy knows what he does and does not want. When his stylist brings him a fur coat to wear in one of the editorials, he kindly lets her know that isn’t going to happen. When the music was too loud during our talk, he asks the manager to turn it down. And when he wants to get behind-the-scenes footage of the shoot, he uses a film camera because it’s conducive to capturing what he says is “the true candidness of not knowing what you look like in a moment in time.”
Quincy was born in New York and spent his childhood between Georgia and Los Angeles. He is named after music legend, Quincy Jones, and was raised by hip-hop mogul, Sean Combs, but is the biological son of Al. B Sure!. His path to stardom almost seems inevitable with that lineage.
“I grew up around everything. I was in the studio with Biggie at one point—I didn’t know it at the time. I’ve seen sessions. I’ve seen the process. I’ve seen how a song can be worked on for a month and then next thing you know they trashed the whole beat. Music has always been a hobby and now coming into myself —it has become a passion.”
His passion and his need to express himself is not only limited to music. His breakout role as Jaleel, the affluent Blood member who refused to pronounce any “C”’s in DOPE, cracked up audiences. Some think his portrayal paved the way for roles like Thug Yoda in Insecure.
“I started with theater classes and didn’t like it. I didn’t like the way theater was set up in school, with plays being their main thing. I became scared, thinking, ‘Damn, this isn’t what I wanted to be.’ In the summer of eleventh grade—I sat in nine different classes via audits. I was learning about different acting studies and it became interesting. I thought, ‘Oh good!’ This is what I thought it was supposed to be.”
At an event in L.A, Quincy’s mom, Kim Porter, had a meeting with casting agent, Anissa Williams, who inquired whether Quincy was acting. Kim told her yes, even though he hadn’t booked a gig, and Quincy got an audition that changed his life.
“The film was called, ‘We The Party,’ directed by Mario Van Peebles. I went into it nervous, but as soon as I began the audition, it felt effortless. I knew I was going to book it as soon as I walked out of the room. That was my, ‘Alright you got this.’ And I didn’t book anything until a year and half after that. I was like, ‘Man, what is this? I thought it was going to be poppin’!’”
Currently his biggest role is portraying Derek on the hit show, Star, which is a cousin of Empire. He was offered the role of Hakim in Empire before turning it down due to a disagreement over the rights of songs that would be performed.
“It’s been a great experience. The majority of us didn’t know each other at all. We are all coming from different cities, but we became like kinfolk. Working with legends on set like Queen Latifah— she’s like a mom to me. She broke the ice and really set the tone for me as to how the show would be filmed. For season two, there is a lot people expect, one being with the crossover because why not? I’m excited for how the world reacts to it.”
I ask him if he can share any spoilers. He quickly shuts me down.
“Never. Never. Not one. Lee Daniels will kick my ass. Straight up”
His preparation for the role turned out to be a true and unexpected learning experience because his character, Derek, copes with the physical handicap of being in a wheelchair, Black Lives Matter and other current-day societal issues that he has to navigate.
“I thought I knew what Black Lives Matter was, I really did. I thought I knew about it, but Lee actually had some activists from BLM come in and talk about the whole movement. I learned what things my character was passionate about. I got to see all sides of the movement. And that was incorporated into how I portrayed my character.”
Quincy also works in one of the most popular industries—beauty and grooming.
“I’m heavily involved in a partnership with Shortcut—which is like Uber for haircuts. A haircut is an important thing to a lot of men and we are looking to make it convenient for them. This is one of the avenues barbers can be in control of their moves. It’s a market where barbers can set their own prices, and not have to pay rent in a barbershop.”
Quincy pauses to reflect on his last comment, and elaborates.
“Keeping yourself tight and upright is very important when you’re on TV. I can’t go anywhere without someone wanting to take a picture—which means I got to be on point. No more store runs in my flip-flops, basketball shorts and a tank top. I used to be just like real comfortable—but now I have to be comfortable in a different way.”
In honor of this being BLEU’s 50th issue, I ask him what he hopes to accomplish by the time he is fifty years old.
“I definitely want to touch every genre of film. With the music, I want the music to become timeless, and for people to understand the passion behind. (He chuckles.) I still want to go to the MLB. I’ve never been asked about fifty, I’m still trying to trying to think about what I’m going to accomplish by thirty—but I never get too ahead of myself.”
Quincy has accomplished a lot in just a few years and he shows no signs of stopping now. In the words of the ubiquitous Diddy adlib, Quincy, “can’t stop, won’t stop.”