*EUR previously chatted with “Da Jammies” co-creator Aulsondro “Novelist” Hamilton about his inspiration behind the 3D Hip Hop animated series, now we’re delving a bit deeper into the series with his creative partner William “Dolla” Chapman II, and the diverse cast that voice the colorful characters, including Darius McCrary in a guest role as Principle Cransberry.
“Da Jammies” is currently streaming on Netflix, and follows the musical journey of five talented and colorful tweens who attend a performing arts middle school where they have formed a group in hopes of, one day, achieving fame and fortune.
Novelist and Dolla lend their voices to the main characters, as does Alisa Reyes who voices Momo. The New York born actress, who has worked for over 20 years in the business, and is of “Irish, Italian and Dominican descent,” expressed her honor to be part of a project that champions diversity.
“Growing up in this business, I dealt with my trials and tribulations about playing the stereotypical roles, even when it comes to voiceover work,” Reyes said. “So when this script fell on my plate, I said ‘OMG, I am all about it!’. I think it’s imperative that any child, whatever ethnicity they are, that they can sit down and look at the television and relate to the people they see.”
“Da Jammies is a great avenue that adults are going to love as well,” said Shane Tsurugi, who voices the mad scientist. “The music is amazing! It pulls you in, and makes you feel a part of it. It gets you up and dancing. The story content is positive and it’s just brilliant.”
The series introduces important social themes – such as “bullying, homelessness, obesity and self-esteem issues” – in an entertaining way without being too preachy. We asked Dolla how they intend to use “Da Jammies” to help shape the future of animation.
“Our thing that we laugh about all the time is that, we sit on top of the box with the lid open,” he said. “You know how some people say, ‘we’re outside of the box thinkers, or think inside the box.’ We have this running joke where we say ‘we’re sitting on top of the box with the lid open, with our feet dangling inside.’ We have a thing with taking what’s already out there and adding a different spin, or another way of looking at it that hasn’t been done before. We spend a lot of time researching what hasn’t been done, then we ask why hasn’t it been done, so we don’t go down a road that leads to no where.”
“We have a diverse cast which gives us fresh perspective on things,” Novelist added, “and a lot of animated shows don’t really have that perspective.”
“Family Matters” star Darius McCrary, who has a rich history in family friendly programming and groundbreaking television, explained why he took part in the project, confessing that his kids are the primary reason.
“When you look at television and animation and cartoons, there are shows that were done 40-50 years ago that are still around, and children tune into them and watch them,” Darius said. “I always felt, especially after I became a father, that true success is being able to be part of something my kids would approve of and that my kids would watch.”
“Another thing that’s awesome about this is that you get to educate them as well, and it’s not a project where they feel like they’re going to school. They can watch it and have fun and enjoy programming that has substance and sustenance. Because there’s so much out there today that does nothing for the children, so to be a part of something like this – all the projects that I’ve done – this right here is what makes it all worthwhile because this is what we call legacy programming.”