Sometimes it’s better to paint the picture of your pain of the past by using the art of acting. This can be the case of young but veteran actor Julito McCullum. You might not recognize the name but you definitely will recognize the face. McCullum, who played the role of Namond Brice of the classic TV series The Wire. Before becoming an sensation on The Wire, McCullum had to overcome major obsticles such as losing his father from a robbery gone bad. His mother decided to use other outlets such as dance and drama to avoid the pathways that would often diminish the future of young teens growing up in the projects.
Fast forward to today, the Panamian-Brooklyn native is a seasoned vet who is only going to get better as the years go by. After major success from The Wire, he went on to land roles for Emmy nominated series, commercials and successful movies. Amongst the movies he was involved in was Akeelah & The Bee alongside KeKe Palmer, Angela Bassett and Lawrence Fishburne. Now-a-days, Julito is making music and is still in front of the camera. He is currently finishing up production on a new project called The Line Up which features Dipset’s own Jim Jones and former Love & Hip Hop star Tahiry.
RESPECT. was able to chop it up with the 27-year-old acting sensation. Here what he has to say about some of the topics we covered.
RESPECT: You were on a classic TV series, The Wire. How did your portrayal of the character Namond helped leave an significant impact on the black and hip hop culture?
JM: It’s funny because I didn’t understand the impact of what the show was until later on in my life. For me, I make it my duty to work and put by best effort out there instead of worrying about what the critics will say about it. But it’s a blessing to be apart of a project that years down the line, we are still having conversations about or even being regarded as one of the best shows of all time. It’s beautiful to have people stop you in the street because they know you, they want to have a conversation about it and show love because you had something to do with the show in which they grew up to it. I think hip hop is drawn to it because it’s real it’s show that people can relate to because it reminds them of their neighborhood they grew up in. The Wire was a voice for the people of the voiceless. They had a easy time gravitating to that.
RESPECT: How was it working with — at the time — a “young, talented and up and coming” Mack Wilds?
JM: It was dope. Me and Tristan came into the industry together. We had the same agency and the same manager. We been close for so long as far as working together. I remembered where he was the guest star on the project I was starring in called Miracle’s Boys four years before The Wire. So, when we was on The Wire together, it was a full circle motion. But still to this day, we are still in tune to what we are been working on. Even the entire cast does this and make sure we stay connected. Shooting with my cast members on the show created a family vibe, something like a fraternity in a way. From production to the cast, we all make sure we stay connected, keep in touch and support one another.
RESPECT: After The Wire, you was able to partake in movies such as Brotherly Love and Akeelah & The Bee, in which both were critically acclaimed productions. Was there any difficulties making the adjustments of switching up your acting style in the making of these films?
JM: Nope, that’s apart of the business man. I make sure that I can show people that I’m just not a actor who play hood roles. I like to show versatility and I like to show balance. It just so happened that I’m really good at playing hood roles (LOL). I’m from the projects, born and raised in Brooklyn. I know those stories. I lived those stories. I’m just big on showing versatility and a year prior to “The Wire”, I’ve shot “Akeelah & The Bee” so I was able to do both an Disney channel movie then switch it up to a street production. I think it’s just dope that I can show everyone that I’m not a kid from the hood and that I am talented.
RESPECT: I see you are currently working on a new project which will debut on Tidal with Tahiry and Jim Jones. Can you give your fans the inside scoop about it?
JM: Yeah, of course. It’s starring myself, Tahiry and Jim Jones and it’s called “The Line Up”. It’s about three women who are on the verge to take back their power by any means necessary. I feel that we don’t see the portrayal of strong women doing what is necessary to get their power back often on television or any platform. I feel that we don’t see strong powerful main characters who show humility and shows the world that they know how to get things done whether if they rob, steal, etc. Granted, it’s not a good thing but the concept I like is they doing it for a good cause, it’s something that you rarely see. It’s a dope show that Tidal is gonna help us premiere. It will debut in the middle of this year and I find it dope that Tidal is a platform that gives upstarting original content like Money & Violence the opportunity to showcase their work. “The Line Up” will be Tidal’s first original series and I’m looking forward to the fans enjoying it.
Check out the trailer of this amazing content directed by Anky Cyriaque.