Jalen Rose talks ‘The Wire’ and acting with Bresha Webb

Actress and comedian Bresha Webb is a proud daughter of Baltimore, who grew up with big acting dreams.

But she has mixed feelings when it comes to the city’s greatest contribution to television: “The Wire.”

“A lot of the roles were cast out of my high school, the Baltimore School for the Arts. So I was just upset that I didn’t get a chance to be on it,” she told me on this week’s “Renaissance Man.”

She said that her classmates and teachers were cast, but she was petite and, well, too “cute” to be considered for those gritty gangster and drug dealer roles.

“I looked like I was 14 forever,” she said.

“It works to my advantage now, but oh God, I really wanted to be on ‘The Wire’ … I mean, it was like we could watch our teachers … We could actually see them act out characters.

“And some of them were crooked, like, ‘Oh, you died last week.’”

Ultimately it was “a little too close to home. So I couldn’t watch it because they were filming like right outside my church, you know, just like places that I was frequently around at all times. It was really real to me,” she said.

“So I wasn’t able to really appreciate it until when I was older.”

But it all worked out great for the tiny, but mighty, Bresha.

She’s been a staple in television and comedies, acting alongside Tiffany Haddish, Kevin Hart and Marlon Wayans to name a few. Now she’s part of a killer ensemble cast in Starz’s hit “Run the World,” which follows the exploits of a group of 30-something black women in Harlem.

Its second season drops Friday.

As a kid, she watched “Martin,” “Girlfriends” and “Living Single.”

She was also a fan of “Sex and the City,” which “Run the World” has often drawn comparisons.

“When I was growing up and learning how to be a young lady, I aspired to be in the city doing things,” she said. “So it’s like full circle that I get to work with [‘SATC’ stylist] Patricia Field.”

Bresha also has another new starring role: wife.

In February, she tied the knot with TV writer Nick Jones Jr. While the seating chart for the power couple was an uphill climb, she kept the wedding madness in perspective.

“Be more invested in the person you’re marrying than in the party. It’s a party, a very expensive party. And you’re not going to be able to eat the food,” she said.

“The music was top tier. I did a performance. I wrote a song for my husband … I had two costume changes. I changed my dress and my shoes. I mean, I changed hairstyles. I’m extra.”

Bresha doesn’t shy away from that “extra” label.

“I was born the center of attention. I’m glad television was developed so that I can be there,” she said.

“You know, I was one of those kids that was performing all the time and didn’t really even need an audience. So my parents already knew that I was going to be an actress.

“I wanted to be inside of the TV.”

She credits her success to her hard-working parents and her “amazing village that really sheltered me away from everything that I could be exposed to.

And they kept it real. You know, everybody said, ‘look, you can see the examples in front of your face.

“If you go this way, it’s going to turn out this way.

“If you go out this way, it could turn out that way.’”

Bresha Webb attends the 54th NAACP Image Awards.
Bresha Webb attends the 54th NAACP Image Awards.
Getty Images for NAACP

She chose to follow her own path, even if she didn’t fit in with her peers and was teased for being “articulate” and driven.

“My parents raised me to be that way. And instead of me shying away from it, I actually took pride in it,” she said.

“So I just stayed in my lane. And I think more kids and more people could do so much service to themselves, instead of trying to fit in to just walk in their own lane. And own who they are and walk into their success.”

It’s been a winning formula for Bresha, who made a bold statement when she was a kid.

“Around 4 or 5, I was like, I’m an Academy Award winning actress,” she said.

And now I’m setting my clock waiting for the incredibly talented Bresha Webb to get that statue and check that off her list.

Detroit native Jalen Rose is a member of the University of Michigan’s iconoclastic Fab Five, who shook up the college hoops world in the early ’90s. He played 13 seasons in the NBA before transitioning into a media personality. Rose is an analyst for “NBA Countdown” and “Get Up,” and co-host of “Jalen & Jacoby.” He executive-produced “The Fab Five” for ESPN’s “30 for 30” series, is the author of the best-selling book “Got To Give the People What They Want,” a fashion tastemaker and co-founded the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy, a public charter school in his hometown.

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