Melvin Gregg Joins FAULT Magazine For Covershoot

Mevin Gregg X FAULT Magazine

Melvin Gregg
Jacket – Pyer Moss 
Pants – Daily Paper 
Necklace and ring – Johnny Nelson 

Photographer – Zach Fernandez

Fashion Editor & Creative Director – Edith Walker Millwood

Stylist – Douglas Hickman

Grooming – Amber Amos 

Interview: Hiba Hassan 

You may recognise him from a previous social media app called “Vine” or crime drama television series ” Snowfall” and Basket Ball movie featuring actor Ben Affleck”The Way Back”. The 32-year old, actor, director, and newly turned father, Melvin Gregg, has experiences worth a lifetime, aiding him to indulge in various chapters across his career.

He acknowledges his childhood, moments of self-awareness, and graft toward his legacy. Lockdown was nothing short of staying on top of each aspect. which is fitting to the film that was written, directed, and starred Melvin, premiering on the platform, What If I.

Understanding how Social media aids in becoming successful in Hollywood is profound, and the shift between the two worlds has been necessary for Melvin. Enabling him to understand his craft beyond acting, starting his career with a seven-second time slot on Vine. Editing and producing his own content, He admits though that having the traction of social media has not always helped him in Hollywood, partaking in the Hulu show, Freakish, it admittedly was not his best work due to him being in both worlds at the same time, projecting his move toward TV/film.

Another black history month celebrated, Melvin Gregg the famous online comedian now turned actor, and gaining a roster of highly accredited film and TV, he can reflect on his past life, present aspirations, future legacy, and of course, his FAULTS…

Hi! great to have you speaking with FAULT! Congratulations on becoming a father, how has everything been for you? Has fatherhood been something you imagined it to be?

Melvin Gregg: It’s been an adjustment, but it’s been good. I brought a house and had a baby, so some good things have happened in the midst of all the craziness.

I really couldn’t have imagined fatherhood to be like this. I was excited and ready for it. I made the adjustments before I decided to be a father, I always expected to have my first kid at 32, so I always prepped myself to be in the right headspace to do that.

It becomes a lot less about you, you have to put yourself in the back, whereas before it was all about reaching your goals and your driving force was you.

You’re a self-professed introvert, where does your confidence and creativity come from when you are in front of a camera?

Melvin Gregg: I mean, I’m confident. But that stuff is outside of myself though, so the confidence is different when I’m being a character. I’m willing to commit to being that, but me as Melvin is a little different. 

When I am in character, I have the motivation to be something else. All of my comedy is narrative, concepts that I have thought of and created them. None of that is personality-based, it’s by design too, I didn’t want to go into acting with a character that was so big that you couldn’t see past his massive personality. 

You were part of a collective that were the top Vine creators, creating funny videos daily, gaining 7 million followers on the platform. What did it take for you to make that shift between the two worlds of vine/social media star to TV/Hollywood actor?

Melvin Gregg: The goal was to get traction, I had to grow an audience to add value for studios and production. So, I saw social media coming out, Vine was the thing. What was interesting about it was that it was an even playing field, I was broke, so it didn’t matter about your resources, it mattered about your creativity. The only thing that was separating me from the top Viners was just being creative and consistent.

But fast-forward three/four years, I’ve amassed millions of followers, I have an audience, I have a great agency, so now it is time to get back to the plan. I didn’t want to get comfortable in the social media phase because that wasn’t the goal.

Your Instagram bio says, “control your narrative”, How do you control and maintain your narrative in an area like Hollywood, where you must be everchanging?

Melvin Gregg: We all have control over it, but we lose control, or we get lost in it. But it’s like, how do you want to be seen? What is the legacy you want to leave? You can control it; I feel like with social media you get lost with just catering to the fans, I don’t feel like that’s where art is created.

You can lose yourself trying to cater to what they like, by following trends. Or you can do what you like and hope people like you. That’s kind of why I left social media, it’s not like I fell off or anything, I was doing 100M views a week on Facebook, it was great, but I wasn’t happy.

My income went from where it was at to like zero when I stopped, but I wanted to focus on what I wanted to do, what I wanted my narrative to be which is a traditional trajectory. Social media has a ceiling, you can reach the top of it, but I want to be seen in the light of sophistication and respect now.

Snowfall is a huge success globally! Growing up watching films like Poetic Justice, Boyz In the Hood, and Baby Boy, how was it working with the late producer John Singleton?

Melvin Gregg: It was unreal to work with him, because those films, I grew up watching them. I only watched black films growing up, those movies are some of my favourite movies.

So, to be in that world with him it felt good. It was where I wanted to be. It was a great experience; I wouldn’t be on the show if it wasn’t for him.

The show will continue to be something he will be proud of. He had his input in a lot of things but there are a lot of people there who know John’s vision, he laid down a solid place so we can stay in that lane and make him proud.

The show is about the introduction of cocaine in America in the 70s/80s, what was it like playing your character?

Melvin Gregg: It’s easier for me to play Manboy then it is for me to do those characters online. I’m quite introverted so for me to be out there making jokes, jumping doing physical comedy, and falling over, that stuff was new to me. But snowfall, I grew up in the projects, so that was second nature, I was around it all.

Not to glorify the situation, but if you in it that’s all you know, that is just reality. So, seeing this stuff on the show, I got so much rapport, I knew it, I knew the textures. Of course, I’m from the East Coast, and West Coast is completely different, so we had people who specialised in consulting on the set. But just overall on how the cocaine epidemic has affected families and stuff, I know it.

You have an upcoming film, United States VS Billie Holiday. You play Joe Guy, an American Jazz trumpeter, whose career was cut short due to his drug addiction, what was it like playing and transforming into this character?

Melvin Gregg: I was excited to do it, man, I love characters that I can transform into. I’ve played basketballers so many damn times!

Lee Daniels doesn’t cut any corners, he was like don’t cut your nails for a few months before the start, he wanted me to lose like 20 pounds, I lost 15. Grow my hair, learn to play the trumpet, a dialect coach, a lot! It was a lot, but it was a labour of love. I was excited to do it.

In a recent interview, Lee Daniels describes the movie as a “Call to arms” and that “Obama’s presidency unleashed the fury of Black men being shot and targeted”, how important is it for you to be a part of films like this, and Snowfall, in telling the truth of African- American legacy? 

Melvin Gregg: It is everything, it is kind of the only thing I want to do, of course, I want to do stuff for fun, but I want to tell our story in a genuine way. I used to hate when I would watch things and I would see black characters that I didn’t resonate with at all. There is an audience for everything, but I want to create characters about people who have grown up where I did. To shed a light on the humanity of these characters, you’ll see a drug dealer, but you don’t understand what or why he is doing that.

Where we grew up, I was kind of the only one who made it out the hood. You have to find your passion and do things for the right reasons. And I always felt like as a kid, whatever I would do, would put me in a position of power and positive influence. I don’t do it for anything else apart from it being my passion.

People get caught up with having more, instead of being more.

There is always a notion to get out and move out of the ‘hood’. Why do you think you were the only one who made it out? 

Melvin Gregg: Jay Z said the Project’s the Project. The goal is to get out, a lot of people are like stay true to your hood, but it shouldn’t be where you want to stay at. A lot of people get caught up with being an influence on those around them, so a part of it is a mindset. You don’t know anything else, it’s where you come from.

It’s sometimes better to be a big fish in a small pond than a mini one in an ocean. For example, when I went to college I could stay in the dorms, but I decided to stay in the Projects. In a place that was right beside the city where my school was at. Because it was what I knew, where I was comfortable.

It is a community, it’s your world. But you have to grow as people, by being exposed to different things, and you can only do that if you get out and see the world.

You’ve crossed many avenues and worked so hard these past few years, especially with everything going on. What has been the highlight for you?

Melvin Gregg: The baby was a combination of all the hard work I was putting in. It all kind of came together around the time he was born. Building up to a point now where I am on reputable projects, working with people I look up to, being with the girl I want to be with, and reaching other personal goals too, it happened at a good time. It felt good.

And Lastly… What is your FAULT?

Melvin Gregg: So many come to mind!

I don’t show affection well, which is funny because I’m an actor. When I grew up, we were jokey in, maybe a rude way. Coming out of that I feel like I’m the only one who still does it. it’s weird, I never say, baby or honey, it’s corny to me where I grew up, therefore I struggle with that now, it’s embedded in me. It reflects my personal life, so it is important to me.