Jharrel Jerome brought the Microsoft Theater crowd to its feet on Sunday evening when he took home his very first Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie.
The 21-year-old New York native’s gut-wrenching performance as the wrongfully-accused Korey Wise in Ava DuVernay’s When They See Us tugged at the hearts of the nation and helped re-introduce the world to the real stories of the Exonerated 5 as they had never been told before.
As we continue to watch this young talent’s star rise, here are a few facts to help get to know him a little better.
He’s A Proud NYC Native
Jharrel is a proud product of the Bronx, NY and says although the case unfolded before he was born, he remembers hearing some of the story about the former Central Park Five growing up.
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He Attended LaGuardia High School in Manhattan
Like Omar Epps, Marlon Wayans, Wesley Snipes, Nicki Minaj and others, Jharrel attended Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, where he continued to hone his craft as an entertainer.
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He Has A Beautiful Relationship With His Mother
Like many mothers who have children in show business, Mama Jerome is Jharrel’s biggest fan. She attended the Emmy Awards with him, was one of the first he thanked during his acceptance speech and even has an Instagram account dedicated largely to celebrating all of his wins.
He Landed His Breakout Role In ‘Moonlight’ While Still In College
When he landed his critically-acclaimed role in ‘Moonlight,’ he was a student at Ithaca College pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.
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He Initially Wasn’t Sure About How The Real Korey Wise Would Respond To His Portrayal
During a recent interview with Power 105’s The Breakfast Club, Jharrel revealed that he watched ‘When They See Us’ for the first time with Korey Wise and the rest of the exonerated five. While he admitted that he wasn’t sure how Korey would respond to his performance, he was humbled when Wise turned to him in tears and said “you’re Korey Wise now,” before the 2 embraced.
He’s Also A Rapper
While stopping by Hot 97 radio show, Jharrel revealed that his love for the arts began with a love for Hip Hop and lyricism. He even impressed Ebro with an a capella freestyle and a promise of music to come in the future.
He Originally Auditioned To Play Only Teenage Korey Wise
After landing the role as young Korey Wise in ‘When They See Us,’ director Ava DuVernay was so impressed that she asked him to also read for the role of adult Korey Wise.
He’s Had A Pretty Busy 2019
Jharrel starred opposite Lovie Simone, Jesse Williams, Gina Torres and others in the 2019 film Selah in the Spades, which premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.
His Reaction To Learning About His Emmy Nomination Was Priceless
Jharrel also shared with the Hot 97 team that he was sitting in a restaurant watching a broadcast of the Emmy nominations on a phone when he learned that he’d been nominated. The first thing he did after getting over the initial shock of the moment, was call his mother.
He Recently Finished Filming A Project With Idris Elba
During his chat on Hot 97, Jharrel also revealed that he recently wrapped filming for a production with Idris Elba entitled, Concrete Cowboys. The film will make its’ festival debut at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2020.
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He’s Equally Passionate About Music And Acting
In a recent interview, Jharrel shared that one of his ultimate goals is to build a career as both a successful actor and rapper simultaneously.