Tyrese Gibson is opening up like never before. The actor and singer sat down with TV One’s autobiographical docuseries Uncensored to discuss his career, the colorism he faced growing up, and how the late John Singleton changed his life when he cast him in Baby Boy.
“John walked up to me at one of these BET parties or something and said, ‘Hey man. I got this movie idea called Baby Boy and he was supposed to do it with Tupac. Pac got killed. So John just put it on the shelf, he was done with it,” Tyrese explained in a preview clip.
“He was like, ‘I wrote it for Pac. I had Pac in mind.’ So once Pac got killed it was over. Then John met me and he said, ‘Man you remind me of Tupac.’ I thought he was just saying some s–t to make me feel good. Me, Tupac, I don’t really see it, but I hear you,” Tyrese added.
The Los Angeles native, who started out as a singer, said he wasn’t interested in acting at that point in his career.
“He was giving me a lot of details and information. John wasn’t the type to give you compliments without going into details about what he meant,” he shared. “So it really meant a lot to me, but for whatever reason I still wasn’t ready to act.”
Singleton was persistent and took a copy of the script to Tyrese’s home.
“I read the script of Baby Boy at my dinner table from cover to cover,” Tyrese shared. “John sat there like a babysitter with his thick glasses on, playing on his phone, and made me read the entire script, then he made me have a discussion about the whole script right there at the table.”
“So when I read that script, I knew everything about that script was my story. Because I was a baby boy,” he said. Everything about Baby Boy was not acting for me. It was reminding me what I lived my whole life.”
Baby Boy was released in 2001. The inner-city drama was set in South Central Los Angeles and centered on a misguided young African-American man, a “baby boy,” who struggled to deal with the commitments of real life. The film co-starred Taraji P. Henson and is now a classic among film fans.
Tyrese’s episode of Uncensored airs this Sunday, Sept. 13 at 10 P.M. ET/9C on TV One, followed by an encore presentation at 11 P.M. ET/10C
Watch the preview clip below.