Jahi Winston is the next young actor you should watch on-screen as he keeps us on the edge of our set with new roles and off-screen as he unifies communities by championing philanthropy efforts. 

Blavity U sat down with Jahi Winston in a recent Instagram live to talk about everything from his new Netflix movie release, We Have A Ghost, to the impact Gen Z is able to create on the culture with the help of social media.

Winston first won over the hearts of many New Edition fans after being cast as young Ralph Tresvant in BET’s The New Edition Story. However, since then, he has grown up and is taking on various new acting roles in different genres. Like many actors, Winston relates to his We Have a Ghost character, Kevin Presley, in being an outcast at times when growing up, the common underestimation of young people by the authorities of various environments and the restless passion and courage to protect the people that he loves most in life. 

“I think I got to bring a lot of myself to this character,” Winston said. “I related to my character Kevin because he feels like an outsider and is an introvert, like myself. I got to show up and tap into the isolation I felt throughout my teenage years. He’s probably more like me than any other character I’ve played. I am also very protective of the people that I love in my life, and that comes out as Kevin tries to protect this ghost in the movie.”


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He also encourages anyone who might be experiencing the growing pains of life to surround themselves with a village of people who genuinely care about them and to take time to acknowledge their mental health and feelings. The actor also hopes the movie is empowering to those who may feel like an outcast when entering new communities. 

“The biggest advice that I can give to someone having feelings of isolation is to just know that nothing you feel is original or you’re not by yourself, and there are so many other people who have been where you are and have been there are still going through it. There are people out there who love you and want the best for you,” proclaims Winston.

We Have A Ghost begins with a family sharing a viral video to social media of a ghost they have discovered in their home, and they then become targets of the CIA. This viral phenomenon is nothing new, but what is new is the way social media is portrayed on screen. With communication at our fingertips, we can change the social frequency and culture of what we post. Winston believes that it is essential as Gen Z is taking on more social influencer roles that we understand the power we possess. 

“I am not an expert on social media, by any means, but I would say no matter what you do, do not post everything you feel, every thought that comes into your head,” said Winston. “Protect those intimate aspects of the self as much as possible, and discern what you want to show people and how you want to present yourself. Because even if you think no one’s ever gonna see this…someone is always watching, and you never know who you are a role model to.”

There are also many genuine moments between the movie cast that make for great life lessons. Winston also gave the inside scoop on some of those heartfelt moments. 

“I think that many people will be able to identify with the relationship between my character and Anthony [Mackie]’s,” he explained. “We play father and son in the movie. Everyone has been there with their parents in some way or another when they’re trying to grow up and become who they are, and your parents are still very married to the version of you when you were younger.”

Although We Have A Ghost is a comedy and adventure film, it possesses elements of horror, and it can often seem that we are in the middle of a modern Black horror renaissance with projects like Nope, Lovecraft Country, Them, Candyman and more. Winston revealed how it makes him feel to be young and use his gifts as a vessel to bring diversity to the genre. 

“I think there is the sort of prevailing idea throughout the entertainment industry that in recent years that we can only be didactic on camera…like it has to be like a strong and powerful message attached to everything. The most intriguing thing about this project, in particular, is that it is about a Black family, and we don’t omit their Blackness or the inherent cultural differences that come with being an African American, but like any other family, anyone can relate to and identify with them,” says Winston.

He continued, “I love that we’re proving that being African American does not mean that anyone else can relate to us any less…. we are beautiful, diverse! Black people are not a monolith, and I think that people and movies like this are a living example of that. This is a fun, family movie filled with lots of adventure and grounded and a lot of heart, and I think many people relate to it and enjoy it!”

As Winston’s career takes on new heights, he confirms he will continue seeking roles that will allow him to explore his love for adventure and fantasy and be his authentic self.

“It’s movies like this that really made me want to be an actor, and we need more of us doing dope things in this genre. I look forward to going on that journey and bringing everybody else along with me,” he added. 


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