'Degrassi' Writer: Drake Threatened To Leave Show Over Jimmy Being In Wheelchair
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'Degrassi' Writer: Drake Threatened To Leave Show Over Jimmy Being In Wheelchair

Before he became the rapper known to many as Drake, Aubrey Graham was known to all and many as Jimmy Brooks on the iconic teen drama series Degrassi: The Next Generation.

However, the actor was not quite cool with one aspect of his character reportedly early on.

In a new oral history of Degrassi for The AV Club, Degrassi: The Next Generation writer James Hurst reveals that the actor turned rapper didn’t want his Degrassi alter-ego in a wheelchair. Viewers will recall that Jimmy Brooks became a wheelchair user after surviving a gunshot to the back during a school shooting during one of the show’s earlier seasons. 

“There was a letter from a law firm in Toronto, and it was from Aubrey,” Hurst said. “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.' said, 'Get him down here.' He came in and was like, 'What letter? I don’t know about that.' And I said, “All right, I understand. But how do you feel about the wheelchair?”

Drake was reportedly apprehensive for this direction of his character, as he was worried about how he would be perceived by his rapper friends at the time. However, Hurst convinced Drake to accept the change. f

He continued, “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.”

Drake would go on to play the character for some time before he eventually left the show with several other O.G. cast members in a changing of the guard that saw many exit.

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