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‘My Dad Taught Me How to Cook Crack When I Was 11’: ‘Snowfall’ Star Melvin Gregg Shares How Growing Up In the Projects Influenced His Character

Episode nine of this season’s “Snowfall” was one of the most exhilarating episodes of this season. Spoiler Alert: Viewers had to say goodbye to one of the top antagonists of the FX series: Manboy.

Melvin Gregg, who plays Manboy, dished on his character and how he can relate to him so much. He told Complex what initially attracted him to this role was the similarities between Manboy and himself. Movies such as “Boyz n the Hood,” “Menace II Society” and “Juice” was not only his favorite movies, but “it was my reality. I lived in the projects up until I moved to California.”

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – JULY 08: Melvin Gregg attends Premiere Of FX’s “Snowfall” Season 3 at Bovard Auditorium At USC on July 08, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Leon Bennett/WireImage,)

He went on to say, “So to have a show like Snowfall, that fits into the same wheelhouse as those projects that I grew up on, and a show that’s crafted as well as it is, and performed as well as it is? Everything about it was great. When I got the role, just reading the breakdown, and the characters, I feel like there were a lot of attributes that I naturally had, there’s nothing I got to reach to have, it’s naturally in me. So I don’t have to fake to be charming or charismatic, I could just exist in that world. Again, he was a villain, man. If you ask my agents, I’ve been wanting to play a villain for the longest just because, on TV, light skin characters always fit in a box.”

While living in the projects, he was exposed at a young age to the very thing that drives every episode of “Snowfall”…crack cocaine. “I feel like my dad raised Manboy. My dad taught me how to cook crack when I was 11,” he said. “He taught me how to shoot guns when I was a kid. You know what I mean? I been around that. I got so many relatives that are drug addicts. It was all outside my front door. I could bring realism into this character, and not just create a trope of what a drug dealer is. So I was like, “Man, it checked every box,” he said, referring back to his character. “Going into it, I was excited.”

Although Manboy did get into business with the character’s protagonist Franklin Saint, things eventually took a left turn between the two after Saint’s right-hand man accidentally killed Manboy’s niece. From then on, he became the villain, but to Gregg, Manboy is far from being the bad guy. “Everything in my mind that Manboy does is justified, and it’s in the right. They say he’s a snake, I said, “He’s done nothing worse than what Franklin has done,” he said. Defending his character, he pointed out that while the two characters were in a partnership, Manboy always brought any issues to Franklin before making any moves, even when his niece was killed. He also alluded to the fact that Saint was the true villain.

“Franklin snaked the old people at the book store, he done shot his homeboy up. He done lied to his mama every chance he gets.” Although Gregg can get a little defensive when it comes to his character, he recognizes, he said, that “I got to remember, it’s a TV show,” and [Saint’s] “the protagonist.”

As far as what’s next for him now that he will no longer be seen as Manboy on “Snowfall,” Gregg said, “I’m about to do a cool indie (independent film) that I’m producing in the next week, so trying to get all of that stuff together. “The man that first got his fame from the Vine app said, “A lot has changed since doing social media, but that part of me just been dormant, but is ready to move.”

Catch the season finale of “Snowfall” next Wednesday, April 21 on FX.

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