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Joey Bada$$ Claims He Didn’t Get Paid for Oscar-Winning Short Film ‘Two Distant Strangers’ and His Role Made Him Seek Therapy Afterward

Not too many rappers can say they were a part of an Oscar-winning film early on in their career, but Brooklyn-born rapperJoey Bada$$  sure can.

During a recently published interview with XXL, the “Waves” emcee, whose real name is Jo-Vaughn Scott, opened up about “Two Distant Strangers” and his role in it of Carter James, a Black graphic designer in NYC who’s trying to get home to his dog, Jeter, the morning after a first date.

James finds himself trapped in a time loop in which he is repeatedly confronted in the street by a white NYPD officer, Merk, with every encounter ending in James’ death. The film highlights the deaths of Black Americans involving police officers through the eyes of Carter.

WEST HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA – NOVEMBER 18: Joey Bada$$ attends the GQ Men of the Year Celebration at The West Hollywood EDITION on November 18, 2021 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images)

Though the movie did well and earned an Oscar for “Best Live Action Short Film” at the 2021 Academy Awards, Joey said he wasn’t paid for being in it.

“To tell the truth, I didn’t even get paid for that,” he said to XXL. “It was a short film. It was a project — an experiment. We did the short film because, originally, we were supposed to do a full-length feature film, a full movie. But once I got involved, it activated a lot of people. Once they saw my execution, everybody wanted to be a part of the production team now, and that obviously helped it get pushed up in the … Academy, and we won the Oscar.”

The experiment ultimately took a toll on the “1999” rapper’s mental health, who shared that  he “had to do therapy,” citing “a lot of internalization.”  

“I remember the first scene in the movie when I’m coming out of the girl’s apartment, and police see me, and they slam me on the floor. I remember shooting that in real time and it was people driving by, they would stop, and they would roll down their window, and they’d be like, ‘Yo, is this real? Or is this for a movie? What’s going on? You good?’” the 27-year-old added. “It’s traumatic for these innocent bystanders as well.”

The star appears to be enjoying being onscreen as an actor as he continues to grow his résumé. The actor was last spotted on the hit ABC series “Grown-ish” and was “Power Book III: Raising Kanan.”

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