Get ready for Nickelodeon’s newest show, Tyler Perry’s Young Dylan, to become your new obsession! The series, which premiered on Saturday, February 28, is all about an aspiring rapper named Young Dylan, who stirs things up when he shows up unannounced at his uncle and aunt’s house! It stars Young Dylan, who is an upcoming artist himself, Celina Smith, Hero Hunter, Jet Miller, Carl Anthony Payne, Mieko Hillman and Aloma Wright, and everyone cannot stop talking about it.
J-14 just sat down with some of the cast members from the new show, and they spilled a bunch of behind-the-scenes secrets and funny memories from on set! So prepare to fall even more in love with the hilarious series.
J-14: Can you tell us about the show? What’s it about in your own words?
Young Dylan: It’s about a little 8-year-old boy, and he’s a rapper and his grandmother moves him in with his extended family — his grandmother’s son, Myles Wilson (his uncle), his wife Yasmine Wilson (his aunt), and Dylan’s two cousins — Rebecca and Charlie Wilson.
Jet Miller: This show is inspiring and loving and it shows that you can be whoever you want to be.
Celina Smith: The show in my own words is compassionate, caring and thoughtful because they’re thoughtful about bringing Young Dylan into their house, even though it’s really crowded.
Hero Hunter: I think this show is like a spinoff of Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, like a modernized version!
J-14: Who do you play? Can you tell us about your character?
Young Dylan: I play Young Dylan, he’s a little 8-year-old boy who wants to be a rapper. He’s really street smart because he lived in the hard streets of Chicago. He wants to teach his family how to be in the game and how to dress swagalicious, and he wants to teach them how not to be wack.
Hero: My character, Charlie, is nerdy, smart and gullible.
Celina: My character, Rebecca, she’s 12, and she’s a smart-talking pre-teen who loves being on her mobile device.
Jet: My character, Bethany, is 12-years-old, she’s also a pre-teen and she is outgoing and she knows who she is.
J-14: Do you relate to your characters at all?
Young Dylan: Yeah! I relate to him a lot. We both love rapping and we both talk street-smart sometimes. We both just have a passion for rapping and hip-hop. But the differences we have is that I don’t get in as much trouble as him. He gets in a lot of trouble and I’m not 8 years old in real life.
Jet: I relate to my character a lot because my character is outgoing and sassy like me. There’s one thing that I don’t relate to, and that’s the fact that she doesn’t feel independent.
Celina: I do but don’t worry, you guys, I’m not on my phone the entire time. Do not believe all the stuff you see on TV or social media! I’m not on my phone all the time! I relate to her because she’s sassy, but not in a bad way, in a cute way.
Hero: Yes! My character is nerdy, like me, and we both had imaginary friends when we were little. I’m gullible too. If someone said, ‘Hey look it’s raining frogs,’ I’d be like, ‘What?!’
J-14: Any funny behind-the-scenes stories you can share?
Young Dylan: There’s a lot of behind-the-scenes stories! There was one day when we were filming, I kept falling and then I got my jacket stuck on a chair. Then later that day, we were filming a scene where we were doing our homework and then the lead pencil popped and then it got stuck in my eye. It’s good that the medic was there because he got the pencil out.
Celina: Carl, he plays Miles, he pranked us the first day. We were filming an episode and he yelled, he said, “Get off your phone!” I was like, “What the?!” and I ran all the way back to set and they had to walk me all the way back out. Then, later on in the day, I said, “You’re going to get payback but you won’t know when.” So the next day, I just happened to have a glove and a water bottle so I filled the glove up with water and I threw it at him. And we chased him all around set.
Jet: You can’t imagine, there’s not even a number to describe how many times we’re doing a scene and I’m in the scene doing my lines and then out of nowhere I sneeze and have to restart. But when I start sneezing, I can’t stop! Like 10 of them in a row, it’s so bad because then we have to start all over again! Everyone’s always like, “Are you good? You OK?”
Hero: There was one funny part where Jet forgot her line. We were doing an episode where she was crying, and Jet was about to say her line but while she was trying to say it, Carl turned around and said, “Say your line!” She started saying it while he was yelling at her.
J-14: Are you and your costars close when the cameras stop rolling?
Young Dylan: Yeah, we hang out sometimes. We hang out in class, our teachers let us talk sometimes and they give us breaks and that’s pretty fun.
Jet: We do school together! We also call and play video games. Hero doesn’t have a phone number so we can’t call him but I call Dylan and Celina and we’ll all play video games together.
Hero: And we go out for recess together. We play football.
J-14: What’s it like working with Tyler Perry?
Young Dylan: It’s great! He’s a great person and he’s big. It’s just crazy working with him because all these other celebrities work with him and I always wanted to be one of them and then for me to have the opportunity to be with Nickelodeon and Tyler Perry… And to have my own name as the title and for me to be the main character on the show — it’s mind blowing, it’s crazy.
Hero: It’s awesomely, awesomely, awesome. Perfect. He’s also a giant, you have to look up at him to say hi.
Jet: I high fived him once and his hand went all the way around mine!
Celina: I walked on set and I saw Tyler Perry and I started shaking. I was just shaking because I was so nervous. I was like, “Oh my gosh!” I was so nervous, but I took three deep breaths and then I was fine. He’s the best.
J-14: I know that Dylan met him on The Ellen DeGeneres Show first, how did it feel when he came out and surprised you?
Young Dylan: It was crazy because I always go watch his shows and movies, and I never knew that I would meet him on Ellen. I thank Ellen and thank God for letting me have the opportunity to meet him and to have my own show with him.
J-14: What was the audition process like?
Jet: Me and Celina were on line next to each other actually! We were next to each other on line, and we were talking. Hero says that he saw us in line but he didn’t want to say anything.
J-14: Where were you guys when you found out you got the role? What was your reaction?
Celina: I was in Rochester, New York. I screamed. My dad unfortunately was not there to hear the news but I just screamed.
Jet: I was in my parent’s room. Our agent had called so my mom had called me up to her room and I started screaming once I figured it out. I fell down. I started crying, I was so happy.
Hero: I was just watching TV, chilling and eating and then my dad came downstairs like, “Hero! You got the role for Charlie!” I was like, “What?”’ My sister was like, “Oh my gosh, Hero, that’s going to be so amazing!” But I bet she was [jealous].
J-14: What has been your favorite scene to film so far?
Young Dylan: The school scene! I don’t want to spoil it, but the school scene.
Hero: My favorite scene is one of the episodes where we got hit with slime and I was dressed up as a scientist!
Celina: My favorite scene was… I was mowing the lawn for three takes. I was mowing the lawn, it was so heavy, they had to reset it like five times!
Jet: My favorite scene was also that scene but it was really the conversation we had right before the scene. I was doing something with the boys because I had to be their servant and then Hero said, “I told Dylan my mom’s the queen of Cuba and he actually believes it!” He still believes it!
J-14: Dylan, we know you rap during the show. Is it nerve-wracking to perform in front of so many cameras and people?
Young Dylan: It’s kind of nerve-wracking but it’s just like rapping in front of my family because they’re my extended family on the show! It’s just like rapping in front of my normal family in real life!
J-14: Dylan, can you tell us about your rise to fame?
Young Dylan: I was around 6 or 5 years old and I did this video, it was this really popular song at the time called “Don’t” by Bryson Tiller. I did the song and it got so many views, it was in the millions. I got reposted by [a lot of celebrities and news outlets]. I got so many views off of that so I decided to create an Instagram page. Around one year later, Ellen called me to be on her show.
J-14: Was it overwhelming at all to get so much attention so quickly?
Young Dylan: I was little at that time so I didn’t really understand it. I just thought that I would get a lot of views and then I’d go on to my regular life. I never knew it would go this far.
J-14: Do you have any plans to release an album?
Young Dylan: Yes, I have 16 songs! I’m going to release two singles and then I’m dropping the album.
J-14: What is your writing process like?
Young Dylan: I spend a lot of time on [each song]. I just think of stuff that comes to my head and I try to use another beat, I use a beat that a rapper already used and then I just write to it. Then I show my DJ it and he’s makes the beat for it, then I go in the studio and record it!
J-14: Who’s your dream collaborator?
J-14: Any plans to tour?
Young Dylan: I want to tour but I want to balance it out with the show too, and football and school.
J-14: Is it hard to balance everything?
Young Dylan: Sometimes it’s hard and sometimes I get sad that I’m not doing something that I used to do, but the hard work pays off. And I remind myself that that’s what Tyler Perry did. He worked hard and now he all of accomplished this.
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