Kedrick Brown Talks Playing World Class Wreckin Cru’s Alonzo Williams in Lifetime’s ‘Surviving Compton’
Michel'le will finally be able to tell her side of the story in the Lifetime television movie, Surviving Compton: Dre, Suge & Michel'le, which airs tonight (Oct. 15) at 8PM ET. Between her alleged abusive relationship with Dr. Dre that was omitted from N.W.A biopic Straight Outta Compton, her subsequent relationship with Suge Knight, and her rise to stardom, there's sure to be a lot to unpack from the film.
But ahead of its airing, The Boombox was able to talk with one of the actors in the movie, Kedrick Brown. The Houston, Texas native portrays the World Class Wreckin Cru leader Alonso Williams in the movie. The legendary '80s group is known for hits like "Surgery" and "Turn Off the Lights."
In our interview, Brown tells us what to expect from the movie and how he plays an important role in bringing Michel'le into the world of N.W.A.
The Boombox: How did you land the gig? How did that process happen?
Kedrick Brown: Believe it or not I was actually first called to be seen for the role of Ice Cube. I didn't see that one landing just because of the physical difference, but I said hey, it's only my job to play the character as best as possible. Needless to say, I didn't land that one. I was then called back for Alonzo Williams and another one liner character. My agents got the call saying that they loved my audition tape and wanted to book me for the role of Alonzo.
How did you prepare for the role of Alonzo Williams of The World Class Wrecking Cru? Did you go back to listen to any of his songs or other old school hip-hop songs? Which ones?
KB: I prepared for this role by watching tons of interview footage of not only Alonzo but Michel'le, DJ Yella, Dr. Dre, etc. I wanted their perspective of the man as well. And between the two I could gauge where I was going to go with the character. I listened [to] all of their music just to kinda help put me in their world. I actually talked with Alonzo himself and got some great advice from him. Funny story how we ended up connecting. He actually heard me on the J Anthony brown radio show out in L.A. and heard that I would be playing him in the new Lifetime Original Surviving Compton movie. He called the station a few days later and got my contact information and when he called I actually missed his first call because I was on set and we where actually rolling. I called him back and he shot me some great info and let me know it was all in love and he had faith I'd play him well.
What's one piece of advice you got from him?
KB: He told me just to relax and play it how I feel.
I saw that he was also a DJ, did you learn the 1s and 2s for the role?
KB: I'm grateful that I did not have to for this role. I have a great respect for the craft of DJing. It is actually a lot more difficult than most of us would like to think. Very hard.
Is there anything surprising you found about Alonzo Williams or The World Class Wrecking Cru that you didn't know before taking on the role?
KB: I did. It was interesting that when I Googled Michel'le, Eazy E was credited with her discovery as a musical artist. But when reading the script and talking to Alonzo it was strange that he was very seldom mentioned as being the one who even introduced her to that circle. He found her in a department store and invited her to get on the track, "Before You Turn off the Lights." It was there she even met Dre and Eazy and the crew we would get to know as N.W.A.
What can viewers expect from Surviving Compton: Dre, Suge & Michel'le? Do you think it'll live up to the hype and serve as an answer for the Michel'le's story being omitted in Straight Outta Compton?
KB: I think viewers can expect some brutal honesty (as reported by Michel'le) and just a great learning experience. I think it'll definitely live up to the hype. Knowing the actors and actually being on set and watching the work being done, I have faith people will definitely enjoy it. And it gives you a different perspective of that entire story.
Who are you listening to now?
KB: I stay listening to old school. The Dramatics, The Whispers, The Temps, Smokey and always Michael Jackson. Their music is timeless and will always give you the feelings of great times. And we all love great times.
What's next for you?
KB: I have been cast in a co-starring role in the season premiere of Season 2 of John Legend's hit TV series, Underground on WGN. Continuing to push forward and create great art.
Surviving Compton: Dre, Suge & Michel'le is set to air on Saturday (Oct. 15) at 8 p.m. EST. Check out the trailer above.