Drake‘s role in the Canadian teen drama Degrassi: The Next Generation during the 2000s helped lay the foundation for his ascension as the 6 God. But in a 20th anniversary feature published by the A.V. Club last week, one of the show’s writers, James Hurst, claimed Drake threatened to leave the show due to his character, Jimmy Brooks, becoming wheelchair bound.
“There was a letter from a law firm in Toronto, and it was from Aubrey,” he revealed. “It was an odd letter that said, ‘Aubrey Graham will not return to Degrassi season 6 as Jimmy Brooks unless his injury is healed, and he’s out of the wheelchair.’”
According to Hurst, Drake (who at that point was moonlighting as a rapper) claimed he didn’t know anything about the letter, but was still upset about seeing his character become handicapped after being shot in the series’ fourth season. “He’s like, ‘All my friends in the rap game say I’m soft because I’m in a wheelchair,'” Hurst recalled.
The future Hip Hop megastar eventually “backed down” and “was so nice and apologetic about everything,” though.
Nevertheless, the news hasn’t gone down well within the paraplegic community. Madeline Robinson, executive director of the nonprofit organization Wheelchairs 4 Kids, has come forward to educate Drake about the positive impact his role as “Wheelchair Jimmy” made on handicapped children.
Drake in a wheelchair for 'Degrassi' was pivotal representation, org says. https://t.co/TZqQv04ArT
— TMZ (@TMZ) October 18, 2021
Robinson told TMZ she hopes the Certified Lover Boy hitmaker “knows his role as Jimmy Brooks on Degrassi really helped a lot of young people” and “brought much-needed representation” to TV screens.
She continued by reminding people that kids in wheelchairs often get left out of social activities such as birthday parties and trips to the cinema. But Drake helped instill confidence into handicapped children and “made their lives a little better,” even though he may not have realized it at the time.
Madeline Robinson was ultimately pleased to hear that Drake saw the positives in portraying a wheelchair-bound character, saying, “It is great when we see our kids being represented.” Drake has yet to address the story.
In the meantime, the 6 God is celebrating his return to the top the Billboard 200. After spending the past two weeks at No. 2 thanks to NBA YoungBoy’s Sincerely, Kentrell and Taylor Swift’s Fearless (Taylor’s Version), Certified Lover Boy has shot back to No. 1 behind an additional 94,000 album equivalent units, according to Billboard.
Certified Lover Boy has now spent four nonconsecutive weeks at atop the Billboard 200, making it the longest-running No. 1 rap album of 2021. The project reached platinum status — commemorating at least 1 million sales in the U.S. — in less than a month.