Wednesday, August 24, 2022

TV stardom is just the beginning

Michael V. Epps

     Which is harder: acting in a television show or playing video games professionally?
     Michael V. Epps thinks about that one.
     “I want to say acting,” he replies. “Playing a game, you make your own schedule. Acting, you have to know your script, and you have to be ready to work a full day.”
     Epps stars in the multigenerational ensemble drama “The Chi”; its season finale is on Showtime Sunday, Sept. 4.
     Production doesn’t start up again until January. In the meantime, Epps is building a following on Twitch, the video livestreaming platform where viewers pay to watch top gamers do battle. That workday varies when it comes to hours spent on the consol
     “I try to get one, two, or three,” says Epps, 16, who prefers Call of Duty and NBA 2K. “More than that. An hour goes by real quick.”
     His other project is Crown Me Clothing, a fashion line of black T-shirts and colorful hoodies.
     “We want to uplift people,” he said. “The motto is ‘Claim your royalty.’ We want people to strive for greatness.”
     If you’re wondering why you’re reading about a teenage actor, gamer and budding fashion tycoon — not my usual subject matter — that’s easy: His publicist asked, and I thought, “Why not?”
     I haven’t watched enough of “The Chi” to categorize it confidently: I’d call it a fast-paced Black soap opera set on the South Side. Epps plays Jake Taylor, whose gangbanger older brother is killed in a drive-by shooting.

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  1. Epps looks even younger (and more innocent) in the photo shown on the computer than that run in the newspaper. I was tempted to say that he might become really successful if he only cut off the braids, but the irony probably wouldn't work. A marvelous success story, which I hope keeps growing. Now that I've once heard of him, I'm sure his name will pop up all over. And maybe I'll even take a look at "Chi" if someone I know happens to have Showtime. Good job, Neil, with an unfamiliar subject. Betcha Showtime gets a ratings boost.


  2. Why is it called "The Chi" for God's sakes? Gimme a break. I lived half my life in Chicago. Nobody has said "Chi" since Prohibition days and the heyday of the Capone outfit. It's almost as annoying as "Chi-raq" was. I feel like a Bay Area resident who winces when he hears someone say "Frisco."

    Even though I'd probably prefer a slow-paced White and Hispanic soap opera set on the North Side (preferably shot in Wrigleyville or Rogers Park), with sweater-clad characters based on 70s and 80s gangbangers like the SCRs and the TJOs and the Gaylords, I do have access to Showtime, so I may give a Black South Side soap like "The Chi" a chance. I'll put it on my September calendar page. Thanks for the heads-up, Mr. S.

    1. That's a good question, one I'm looking into. I'll post something here, but until then I would suggest you're making the same mistake I did: saying "nobody" does a certain thing implies we know everybody which, spoiler alert, we don't.

    2. I stand corrected, Mr. S. People do use it occasionally, but they usually affix the suffix of "-town" to "Chi"...I remember song lyrics that used "Chi-town" in them. A well-known car club was called the Chi-town Shifters. And about a dozen years ago, an ice hockey team known as the Chi-town Shooters briefly existed in Dyer, Indiana. Somebody on Facebook uses the name "Chi-town Shysters"--which has a nice ring to it. I think they might be rappers.


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