Actor Wesley Jonathan is a talented and versatile man who’s been in the film business for over 30 years. It seemed like the cool and laid back Los Angeles native was just making his debut in the 1990 TV series 21 Jump Street.
One show that set him apart from Black actors on TV was his role as Jamal in City Guys (1997-2001). The show was about two young men in a Manhattan high school area who came from different backgrounds, economic situations and different points of views.
“City Guys ran for about four years and I was about 18-years-old when I got the role in City Guys. It was by the creators of Saved By the Bell and that whole TNBC block. You know hangtime that Anthony Anderson came from,” Jonathan said. “I think what was special about City Guys for me was it was a show that had never been seen before on its time slot or its kind.”
With City Guys in his rear-view, Jonathan climbed in the film rankings which had fans take notice to one major thing that’s common in terms of his appearance.
Jonathan spoke with BSO in late October on how although he loves Nick Cannon who’s like a brother to him, he’s tired of people rudely mistaking him for the Wild ‘N Out creator.
“You meet me and I used to always get you and Nick Cannon mixed up or hey…from afar. Aye Nick and I turn around and tell you I’m Wesley,” Jonathan said.“Somebody will say man you disguised man. Then I’m like…yo… I just told you what my name was. Listen to my voice, listen, look at me now you up close. I know we look alike.”
Jonathan proceeded to speak on the subject matter to address the ridiculousness fans do when it comes to knowing his face as opposed to his name.
“So if I told you my name, I told you my name. Don’t be disrespectful and call me that again in the sense of ignoring what I told you. See now you being funny. Are you being funny or are you being stupid? One or the other…I don’t know.”
In September of 2005, the film “Roll Bounce” released and Jonathan became widely known for the role portraying Sweetness. Sweetness was the baddest Chicago skater in the mid-late 1970s who won five disco skating championships with the “Sweetwater” Rollers. Jonathan trained countless hours from 6: a.m. – 6: p.m. learning how to skate. Therefore, he couldn’t understand why the casting directors wanted to originally pick Usher or Omarion even when he knew what the character meant to him.
“We know Wesley…Wesley is great but can we get Omarion or Usher…one of them? “I was mad I aint gone lie I was quite angry about the whole I felt insured. I get it Usher…and Omarion I get it. I also get if Bow Wow is the lead of the film and you got Usher and Omarion. Are we shooting a music video? Like you got your music artists but as an actor…I’m like yo….really seriously? But then again, this is common. This is something that happens often…more often than not.”
There are some amazing actors and actresses like Clifton Powell, Charles S. Dutton, Kimberly Elise, Monica Calhoun, Vanessa Bell Calloway, Brian Hooks, Malinda Williams and Mari Morrow. These people aren’t seen as A-list talent but have memorable roles in films rather mainstream or independent.
Most people will look at A-list Hollywood talent as cocky depending on their status, but it didn’t hold Jonathan from staying in the ways of Jehovah God to get to where he is today.
“Humility and pride they’re often interchangeable. In regards to pride, here’s my view on pride in the industry or out. Pride to me…there is a healthy pride. I know we read scriptures and the befalling of a man I…totally agree. There is a sense of a healthy pride and what I mean by that is that it’s okay to be proud of something,” Jonathan said. “The problem comes when pride is bled over into conceit or being superior.”
Rather seen as an C-lister or D-lister, Jonathan has graced the film and TV industry with roles such as Gary from What I Like About You, Bobby Huton in Panther and Babyface in Whitney. Status doesn’t matter when Jonathan values God, family and morals relating to what is temporary in life.
Jonathan stars as Carson in Monogamy, now streaming on the AllBlk network.