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Drake reportedly threatened legal action over his Degrassi: The Next Generation being wheelchair-bound

  • Former Degrassi: The Next Generation writer James Hurst recalls in The A.V. Club's oral history of the show that the rapper then known as Aubrey Graham wasn't happy being in a wheelchair after his character Jimmy Brooks became paralyzed in a Season 4 shooting. "There was a letter from a law firm in Toronto, and it was from Aubrey," said Hurst. "It was an odd letter that said, 'Aubrey Graham will not return to Degrassi season six as Jimmy Brooks unless his injury is healed, and he’s out of the wheelchair.' I said, 'Get him down here.' He came in and was like, 'What letter? I don’t know about that.' And I said, “'ll right, I understand. But how do you feel about the wheelchair?' He’s like, 'All my friends in the rap game say I’m soft because I’m in a wheelchair.' And I said, 'Well, tell your friends in the rap game that you got shot. How much harder can you get? You got shot, and you’re in a wheelchair.' He was like, 'Yeah, yeah.' He was so nice and apologetic about everything. He instantly backed down. I was very passionate about it, and I said, 'Aubrey, there’s some kid somewhere in a wheelchair, who’s completely ignored, who’s never on television, never gets represented.' I need you to represent this person. You’re the coolest kid on the show, and you can say there’s nothing wrong with being in a wheelchair.” A rep for Drake did not immediately respond when People asked for comment. Drake's co-star, Lauren Collins, recalls him struggling physically with being in a wheelchair. "That was really hard for him," she said. "I definitely have a few memories of him toppling the chair over and falling off of makeshift ramps that they'd constructed for him...I don't want to speak for anyone, but I think (Aubrey) probably struggled with the idea that he was one of two Black characters on the show, and that he was the one who was winding up shot and in a wheelchair, which obviously is part of a much larger conversation."

    TOPICS: Drake, Degrassi: The Next Generation, James Hurst, Lauren Collins, Retro TV