Ira L. Black
By now many of you have probably binged Netflix’s She’s Gotta Have It.
Adapted by Spike Lee from his 1986 film, the series includes a fresh spin on familiar characters to reflect what’s going on in 2017.
Taking on Lee’s role as Mars is Anthony Ramos, who received acclaim in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Broadway hit, Hamilton. Ramos merges bits of himself with Lee’s character and has become an audience favorite since the show’s release.
ESSENCE spoke to Ramos about taking on the role, what he has in common with Mars, and training his puppy. Here’s what you need to know about Anthony Ramos:
Ramos actually worked at Victoria’s Secret. The actor has a lot in common with his character, including previous work experience: “I really did work at Victoria’s Secret and I improvised that whole section,” Ramos revealed. “Spike just kept the camera rolling. I really knew about all these different bras. But, I found that women don’t necessarily like a man taking out a bra for them. So, I switched to beauty and I started selling perfume and stuff. It was fun.”
His mother predicted he would work with Spike Lee: If you speak it into existence, it will happen and Ramos’ turn in She’s Gotta Have It is proof of that. “My mother had told me I was going to work with Spike Lee before it actually even happened. Moms put it out there, straight up. I was like, ‘Yeah, whatever.'” A month after Lee saw his performance in Hamilton, the director called him up and Ramos landed the role.
Ramos is just as romantic and fun-loving as his character: “I think Mars is always clowning around and my girl’s always telling me, she’s like, ‘Man, are you crazy?’ I’m always fooling around. I think the way Mars definitely cares for Nola … I would say that wasn’t acting. I think that’s indicative of kind of like of my relationship and the way I feel about my girl. And, the way I feel about people I love.”
The actor has an EP on the way: The Freedom EP will combine the personal and political and see Ramos reflecting on the political atmosphere of the last year. “This has been my passion project and I’m really excited to finally get it to the world. I wrote it alongside a few of the writers, people who are close to me in my life. Just the most talented, dopest group of folks. This is like Anthony Ramos’ love letter to the country. Like, I’ve been in this relationship with you for 26 years and this is what I’ve gotten from it. This is what I thought was happening but this is what was actually happening. I feel angry at the moment. Or, I feel confused at the moment. But, I also love you so much that I will never give up on us. Because, I am who I am because of this place, and because of this relationship with you, United States. And, I know we can work this out. And, that’s what this record is about.”
Ramos has a number of other projects on the horizon including roles in A Star Is Born and Godzilla: King of Monsters: The actor has a lot going on and “a couple of projects that I really, really love a lot,” but for now, he’s just focusing on training his puppy. “I’m just spending time with people I love, and my family. You know, I got a puppy. My girl and I got a puppy, so I rain that puppy because she’s doing her own thing. And, I think I’m going to get back at it next year. I’m just taking the time to regroup. You know, December and January. I’m going into January and really figure out what the next thing is.”
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