With Coming 2 America coming out this Friday on Amazon, Opening Act host and Shadow and Act deputy editor Trey Mangum spoke with Jermaine Fowler about his career, including his performance in Sorry to Bother You that became a hit with social media.

The scene Fowler had with Lakeith Stanfield, in which the two argued with compliments, became a popular meme with social media users. Fowler said that he texts Stanfield each time he sees the meme in use online.

“Every time the meme pops up…I text Lakeith, ‘We back, baby!'” he said. “…I’ve been realizing how much I’ve put in and how long I’ve been doing this–15 years–and how close folks have been following me, and it’s been very flattering and I’m just so grateful about it.”

He said it’s true that people might not immediately recognize him from the film because of how much he changes with each film he completes.

“When you bring up the meme, it’s so true–I do look different,” he said. “I change my look [for] every movie. That’s the beauty of the growth of [my] career…all of it’s different now. I can’t wait for people to see what I can do and what I’ve done.”

Fowler also talked about when he participated in the first season of RuPaul’s Celebrity Drag Race. He said one of the biggest reasons he took part was because of his late mother.

“She was a lesbian and I’ve always loved that she found love in her life before she left,” he said. “That community is so supportive and seeing how happy she was really made me happy. When I got the email [to take part in the series], I was like, this is the dopest offer I’ve gotten in a long time. What took so long?”

He also said he wanted to shake up how Black men viewed their masculinity.

“I’m a Black male. I’m straight. The amount of scrutiny [Black men have]…n—as ain’t allowed to do stuff like that, especially where I’m from. You’re not supposed to. You can’t do it,” he said. “And that’s why I did it, ’cause I don’t give a f— and drag queens don’t give a f—, and they’re so funny. Do you know how badass you gotta be to do what they do? You truly do on so many levels–you have to be a badass. I thought doing [the show] was such a f—you to the norm[.]”

Fowler said that he felt like the show was one of the moments that would define him in his career and as a person.

“Those are the moments that kind of immortalize you…I felt connected to my mom, I felt connected to a side of me that gets… bottled up and I just wanted to embrace that, what I was going through, and explode on that stage,” he said. “…I want to come back [to the show].”

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