JT: So what advice would you give to teenagers your age who are surrounded by that kind of violence? Or going through things like Brandon in the movie, where he feels like he has to go spend money he doesn’t have to get new shoes.

JG: Stay to yourself. When somebody who has that kind of that material stuff teases somebody else, they have to know you can really drive somebody crazy. So I think the person getting teased and bullied everyday, they should keep to themselves and not mess with anybody. It’s all about education. Once you get your education and somebody else isn’t getting theirs, you’re just shining on them. Education can lead you a long way. Those shoes and that stuff, they can’t get you a job.

JT: It’s temporary.

JG: It’s temporary. It could go like that. It’s like a napkin. You wipe your face with it then you throw it away.

JT: That’s a good answer. So Brandon is an outsider and an underdog—how are you the same?

JG: I relate to that 100 percent. In my neighborhood, I was always a small kid. In school, I was always a small kid. In football, I was always the underdog. So I related to Brandon because in his neighborhood, he’s the underdog. In his school, he’s the smallest kid. And Brandon proves the people calling him an underdog or sissy wrong. What I did in football, they would call me names and stuff, and I would prove them wrong. It was a time when I had to struggle. I’ve always had a roof over my head, but that was always that time when I wanted something and couldn’t get it. Brandon went out and got it, and it gets taken from him. But I wouldn’t necessarily go to that extreme of getting it back. I would probably go tell the dude’s mama he stole my stuff, and I need it back.

JT: But by not doing it, you’re probably making the more mature decision. Brandon probably did not make the mature decision in the movie.

JG: When you’re getting picked on and teased, it comes to the point when you are gonna flip. You’re eventually going to tell people to stop picking on you. So I think Brandon changed that. It wouldn’t necessarily be the mature decision, but I would say it’s the right decision from my view.

“It’s all about education. Once
you get your education and somebody
else isn’t getting theirs, you’re
just shining on them… Those shoes and
that stuff can’t get you a job.”
— Jahking Guillory

JT: So what’s next? Have you been working on other stuff?

JG: Right now I’ve just been holding out on stuff because Kicks is so special. I don’t want to do anything just for the sake of it being something. I want to do something that’s special, that has that connection to Kicks, to my heart or whatever. Right now, I’ve been in the studio doing a whole bunch of songs. It’s not even been rapping, just songs. You’ll hear it. That’s why I don’t consider myself a rapper. I’m a artist.

JT: Well, in the film your character is too afraid to rap out loud. And now here you are rapping.

JG: Yeah.

JT: Can you spit anything on the spot?

JG: No, man. I’m just like Brandon. I’m scared.

JT: Okay, it’s good to know you’re still humble. How tall are you now?

JG: Probably like 5’8”.

JT: So you grew almost a foot.

JG: Yeah, I was pretty small when we were filming Kicks. When we were doing the re-shoots and I stood next to CJ and Chris I was like, “Dang, man, I’m growing.” I was to their stomachs.

JT: Is it weird to like see the trailer and see a younger version of yourself?

JG: No, I was just excited. It wasn’t weird at all. Once I saw the trailer, I was like, “It’s really happening.” I was praying. I’m very spiritual. Even before that, I was praying [about] this movie. Hopefully people like it. I was that kind of kid. I’m not necessarily like that anymore, but if it happens, it happens.

JT: You got any shout outs to wrap this up?

JG: Shout out to my mama. That’s pretty much it. Thank you everybody who worked on the film and who was on the film, from casting to the cast to the director, everything. Thank you. It was a blast, being my first film. It was a great experience.