Johnathan Fernandez sat down with the Quintessential Gentleman to discuss his character on the hit TV show, Lethal Weapon, what it means to be an Afro-Latino and more.
I’m actually familiar with you from a FLAMA video, Things Black Latinos are Tired of Hearing. How much has life changed since making that video?
Life has changed completely and also not at all. It’s something my wife and I always talk about; how moving to Los Angeles is a big difference from New York just because the vibe and the lifestyle is completely different but at the same time, I haven’t changed my personality. My relationship with my wife hasn’t changed nor my interest. So it’s interesting to navigate both things where the environment is different and the job is different but at the core, everything is still the same.
Do you have a preference between East or West Coast?
I think they’re just two different to compare especially New York versus Los Angeles. They both are on literally the opposite sides of the spectrum and I think it just depends on where you’re into but I think you have more fun at either place if you don’t compare it to the previous one.
In Lethal Weapon, you play Scorsese. Are there any similarities between you and the character?
The character feels pretty similar to myself in that he is snarky, which I am at times and people accuse me of being. He’s on top of things and career oriented, which I feel like that’s something that we share as well. I also think that if we were to meet, I think we would vibe on a lot of different things, a lot of nerdy things, film things obviously I’m assuming he probably watches as many cartoons as I have and also probably reads comic books.
What is it like working alongside Damon Wayans?
It’s a blast. That guy is very cool to be around. It’s really cool to be around someone who is not all the time trying to steal focus or be “on”. You could just have a casual conversation with him. I think I gravitate toward that demeanor; where I could be a total goofball on stage and in front of the camera but when the cameras off I like to fool around with friends and co-workers. But not in a way where I am trying to one-up them or they’re trying to one-up me. I’ve learned a lot from him. Just to see how he interacts with people, how he carries himself, and when the camera is on goofing around with him and trying to make him laugh is just a dream come true. So having any kind of good vibe with him it’s just something I will always remember.
On the topic of Afro-Latinos in Hollywood or just being another Latino in general, do you feel that the term is something that you identify with personally or do you feel that is something that’s put on you by society, to call yourself high Afro-Latino?
I think it is definitely a societal thing that is always ready to label everything. I do like carrying the banner of being a black Latino because I feel like people, in general, don’t know what that is somehow. They still think that Mexican people look a certain way, Colombian people look a certain way, and Dominicans look a certain way. Everybody always asks me if I’m Dominican and I’m like no. My father is Honduran and every time I’ve been down there, there are a bunch of people that look like me. It’s interesting to see just like how society looks at the country in general.
Is your father Garifuna?
Yeah, he is totally. That’s something I want to learn more about that culture. I am surprised you know about it. Most people don’t. It’s interesting to navigate those kinds of things. Being on a network show looking the way I do and having my background and not being the butt of any jokes because of my ethnic heritage and just being a guy that’s doing his job is something I’m really proud of with Lethal Weapon. It’s a very diverse show and at no point do we ever talk about or make light of the various racism or various people that are on the show. So, if because of that people are learning more about me and more about Afro-Latinos, I think I’ll gladly carry that banner.
What advice would you give someone who is chasing their dream?
Number one, I’ll say don’t stop. If you stop, that’s the only constant you have in terms of knowing whether you’re going to achieve your goal or not. Some people, especially in this career, think that just because you are 30 it might be over or because you’re 40 and you haven’t reached what your goal is, it might be over and it’s not. There are a million examples of people who didn’t start until late or they didn’t really get a huge role until they were 35, 40, 45 or whatever. Morgan Freeman is a great example of this. Success is very relative. You could be working all the time and not be a famous person. Just because you aren’t pulling in 25 million dollars from a leading a role in a movie doesn’t mean you’re not a successful actor.
What three qualities make up the Quintessential Gentleman?
I think a Quintessential Gentleman should present themselves in a way that makes him most comfortable. I think whatever makes you the happiest is the way you should present yourself. I think you should be kind to others and give back. I think you have to be aware of how your actions affect other people and how your words affect other people and realize that having an interaction with anybody could be the moment that you’re really changing that person’s life.
What can we look forward to from Johnathan Fernandez?
You heard it here. I’m going to be a lead in a Marvel movie! That’s my life goal for the next five years. And in the very short term, there’s a short film I’m currently in the middle of writing that will be produced soon after this [show] goes on hiatus which will be in April. I also have a fashion line that I’m starting. Right now, there are only ideas and sketches but I want to put my best foot forward and learn that industry so I could make my own thing, as well as there’s a webcomic that I’m working on that’s also slow moving but that’s in its nascent stages.
Johnathan Fernandez proved to be quite the admirable character. With the combination of talent, style, and personality, Johnathan is a true Quintessential Gentleman. We look forward to seeing more from this dynamic man.
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