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Drake Nearly Quit 'Degrassi' Over His Character's Wheelchair Storyline, Writer-Producer Alleges

Drake Nearly Quit 'Degrassi' Over His Character's Wheelchair Storyline, Writer-Producer Alleges

Drake nearly quit Degrassi: The Next Generation over a certain storyline.

In The A.V. Club’s oral history of “Degrassi,” show writer-producer James Hurst claimed that the 34-year-old rapper almost left the Canadian teen drama because his character was confined to a wheelchair.

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As Degrassi fans might recall, Drake‘s character Jimmy became paralyzed in season four after being shot in the back during a school shooting and had to use a wheelchair from then on.

According to the James, Drake – who went back then by his given name Aubrey Graham – almost left the show before season six because his character was still in the wheelchair, claiming that Drake‘s lawyers even threatened legal actions over the storyline.

“There was a letter from a law firm in Toronto, and it was from Aubrey,” James recalled. “It was an odd letter that said, ‘Aubrey Graham will not return to Degrassi season six as Jimmy Brooks unless his injury is healed, and he’s out of the wheelchair.’”

James continued, “I said, ‘Get him down here.’ He came in and was like, ‘What letter? I don’t know about that.’ I said, ‘All right, I understand. But how do you feel about the wheelchair?’ He’s like, ‘All my friends in the rap game say I’m soft because I’m in a wheelchair.’ And I said, ‘Well, tell your friends in the rap game that you got shot. How much harder can you get? You got shot, and you’re in a wheelchair.’ He was like, ‘Yeah, yeah.’”

James went on to say that Drake was “so nice and apologetic about everything” and “instantly backed down.”

“I was very passionate about it,” James explained. “And I said, ‘Aubrey, there’s some kid somewhere in a wheelchair, who’s completely ignored, who’s never on television, never gets represented.’ I need you to represent this person. You’re the coolest kid on the show, and you can say there’s nothing wrong with being in a wheelchair.”

Jimmy remained in a wheelchair for the majority of the time he remained on Degrassi. In season seven, Jimmy underwent stem cell surgery and was seen walking on crutches as he graduated in the season finale. Drake made one final appearance on the show in season eight.

Some of Drake‘s Degrassi co-stars went on to add that at first, it wasn’t easy for him to adjust to using a wheelchair while filming.

“I think [Aubrey] struggled, just physically with having to all of a sudden do everything confined to a chair,” said Lauren Collins, who played Paige on the show. “That was really hard for him. I definitely have a few memories of him toppling the chair over and falling off of makeshift ramps that they’d constructed for him.”

Back in 2018, Drake released a music video featuring tons of his former Degrassi co-stars!

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Posted to: degrassi, Drake

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