Actor Lovell Adams-Gray is a man of many talents. One of those talents is acting, and he is currently killing it as Dru Tejada on the Starz hit series Power Book II: Ghost. But when he’s not in front of the camera and making sure the Tejada family’s name is good in the streets, you can probably find him in front of his television, putting in hours gaming.
Yup, that’s right, Lovell Adams-Gray is a G A M E R. If you have the honor of getting his PSN ID, you will constantly see him putting in that work to get platinum trophies for games like FromSoftware’s soulslike titles like Dark Souls II, Elden Ring, or handing out Ls in Mortal Kombat 11.
Hip-Hop Wired caught up with Adams-Gray, not to talk about his acting and, of course, the excellent job he is doing on Power Book II: Ghost. You can head here to read all about that. Instead, we wanted to talk about his other passion, gaming.
We spoke with the actor about when he discovered that video games were his jam, how he has time to pick up the sticks with his busy work schedule, what video game he would like to see get the Hollywood treatment, and if he believes Power would make a great video game.
Peep the interview below.
Hip-Hop Wired: Many people don’t know this is about you, but you are a gamer. I’ve seen you online at some obscene times of the night. I was like, “This guy doesn’t get no rest. Wow, man, this guy really gets it in.” But I understand the game you’re playing requires a lot of time, so I know. When did video games become your jam? When did they become your thing? Like, “I know, this is my shit.”
Lovell Adams-Gray: My parents bought me a Sega Genesis when I was a kid, and I never had a memory card for the longest time I never had a memory card. I couldn’t save anything. So I would have to beat games while I’m playing them, or that’s it. So when I got… I think one of the first games I remember getting was Tarzan, Disney’s Tarzan from back in the day.
And I played the PS1 version, and that game was so fun, and it was like the movie, you know what I mean? It was so fun, and it was so amazing. But I could never get past the third level because I would either die or have to do something else, and then I couldn’t save it because I didn’t have a memory card. So it was just that. So as I got older, I subconsciously was like, “I’m going to be able to buy my own games and play them as long as I want and make sure I can save them.”
And it makes you just get all those things I never really had. But my dad always says, “Do what you have to do so you can do what you want to do.” And that was something that took forever to sink in. All I want to do is go to my friend’s house, play games, go to my cousin’s house, and play. I play Mortal Kombat with my cousins all the time. It was just something that I’ve always had in me, my grandmother she’s Maltese, and she had an Atari, so I was going to her house. I’d just be in the basement playing Atari and playing these old games. You know the Donkey Kong game where you’re just throwing a barrel at Mario?
Yeah man, games have been a part of my life since I can all ever since I can remember, and God willing, when I’m old and retire and I still got mobility, that’s me going back and playing all the games I didn’t have time to play because I was working. I’m a completionist, so I’m trying to get all the trophies, all that stuff.
You’re a busy guy. How do you make time to play games and work?
I can’t lie to you. I’m like a child. I was whining to Kiana [Maderia] the other day. I’m like, “I haven’t been home to play my game in at least five days.” And it was manifesting in me being really irritable (laughs) because I can be an extrovert. But being on the show and then being in New York, there’s a lot of energy outward. And so my decompression and my me time is me going home playing games or watching basketball or something like that. Just something that requires me not to speak too much and not to interact and not to connect but just to shape my mind and build my mind in that way. And so I’m like, it’s been so long since I’ve been at home just to chill that I’m just like drive me nuts.
And so my decompression and my me time is me going home playing games or watching basketball or something like that.
But I make the time if I’m like, “All right, look, I’ve done this, I’ve done that, finished this, I’m going to do that. I know that these days I’m on set. These days I have this class. got to go to the gym. I got to go swimming, whatever. I scheduled my thing out.” But on a Sunday or maybe even a Monday, sometimes I use that as the rest day. Don’t talk to me. Don’t “Hey, Lovell, you want to go out here?” “No.” “You want to do that?” “No.”
“Oh, summertime is coming. It is getting hot outside. You want to” “No, no, no, no, no, no.” Ask Latoya [Tonodeo], and ask Woody [McClain]. I am so good at saying no you’d think it was a skill. You’d think it was an art form. You’d think I’ve mastered it. I’m so good at saying, “Nah, man, it’s not it.” Like FOMO. I do get that sometimes, but I think that’s how I make the time is being able to say no. I just need to be at home and just be quiet. I’ve been a loud kid all my life running around, singing top of my lungs, making a bunch of noise in school, and disrupting class—all that stuff. So now I’m like 31. I’m like, “I need time to chill and just not say words” (laughs).
Listen, I get it. I’m the same way. I’m actually thinking right now I got to find ways not to do anything this weekend. I got so many games I need to play. Leave me alone for the weekend, man. I get it. Also, being that you are a gamer of color, you’re a Black gamer. What’s one thing you wish would change about the game of industry as far as we are concerned?
More black protagonists. Not as an option but as the main choice. And this is something that was programmed into me. My favorite color is red because I used to love Power Rangers, and the Red Ranger was the leader. And I think it was set for one season where it was the White Ranger, but the Red Ranger was the leader of the pack. He was always this white dude. And so I would always associate red with the white guy with the leader. It’s kind of like being Zack [Morris] from Saved by the Bell. He had the fade or the little box cut, whatever he had. And he would be the leader. And I was like, “I wish that I got to grow up seeing that leadership position, associating that color with someone that looked like me.”
More black protagonists. Not as an option but as the main choice.
Kratos is voiced by a Black man [Christopher Judge], motion captured by a Black man. A Black man won the gaming award. You see what I’m saying? But he is Greek. But I would just say they’re making a live-action show. I would love for them to cast a Black man because his skin is ash anyways, so the skin don’t really matter.
But if you’re going to have it, having been used the motion capture this whole time to make… It would be dope for them to honor that in some way as a fan. But I would love to see more of that. There’s a game right now called Forspoken. I think it’s called came out on PS5. And the lead protagonist is a woman of color. And I think that’s beautiful. I think that’s beautiful. God willing I get a daughter, I want to just buy this game and play this.
Play that. That is so important to see yourself as a leader, as the main character in a story. And you got magic powers, and you can fight and all these things. Seeing yourself like that’s invaluable. I want to see more of that.
Representation definitely matters, especially in the video game format, because they bite off our culture in these games. They do. So that makes sense.
You have a production company. If you could bring any video game to film or TV format outside of the ones that have already been done, which game would it be?
Ghosts of Tsushima.
It’s already in the works.
Exactly. So, okay. It’s already in the works, and it also is so cinematic. Shinobi. You remember Shinobi from back in the day.”
Absolutely. Shinobi III on Genesis was insanely difficult. It was ridiculously difficult. I haven’t beaten that game, but it was super dope.
And they made a PlayStation 2 version, which was one of my favorite games of all time. I would love for them to find a way to make this neo-futuristic ninja with all his ninja powers and all that stuff to come to a live-action thing. And for them to do it big budget, for them to do it in a way that looks like a John Wick franchise and to kind of spark that because if they can do it right, it would be monumental.
I can see it being like a Grand Theft Auto type of game. In that space, you blend Grand Theft Auto with Def Jam: Fight for NY.
I think so too. Do you think Power would make a good video game?
Absolutely. Oh my goodness. I can see it being like a Grand Theft Auto type of game. In that space, you blend Grand Theft Auto with Def Jam: Fight for NY. And in that customization aspect and the storyline and the idea is you’re building your empire, right? You’re trying to go legitimate and build your empire and build this thing where you can build a nightclub life or be Ghost, or you’re Tariq or one of the Tejadas. Or you’re own created character, and you’re the main character, and these people are interacting with or to reach your enemy. Something like that. You can really make it into a video game (laughs). Cut me a check. You know what I’m saying? I got the ideas.
Rockstar Games, Ubisoft, he’s got the ideas. Hit him up.
You can catch Lovell-Adams Gray on Power Book II: Ghost on Friday’s 8 pm est on Starz.
Photo: Starz / Getty
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