I had the pleasure of sitting down yesterday afternoon at the W Hotel in Midtown with Jocko Sims a producer and actor known for “Dreamgirls” and now on NBC’s hit tv show New Amsterdam where he plays Dr. Floyd Reynolds. Originally hailing from Texas, he is a graduate of UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television.
Also, I chatted with Jiréh Breon Holder who is currently a writer for NBC’s hit medical drama “New Amsterdam.” He is an Atlanta-based playwright, Morehouse College graduate (B.A. Theatre), and former playwriting fellow at Emory University. Holder went on to earn a Masters of Fine Arts in Playwriting from the Yale School of Drama.
Both gentlemen was a delight to chat with and we talked about their humble beginnings, their current projects and also health issues amongst the African American community. They had so many gems to share and I had a great time talking with them, more inside….
Jiréh Breon Holder and Jocko Sims
Where do you get your ideas to write?
Jiréh Breon Holder: I think I am a very decisive person. I’m the only voice in my head. If the idea that I have, is the best idea, obviously it’s the best idea lol. So it’s democratic, so the best idea often wins. We think often, yeah that could work, so it works for us. That flexibility with my idea in what good tv has expanded.
Diversity on set and on show:
Jocko Sims: I have worked in Los Angeles, New York City, Mexico on a lot of tv projects. Maybe 1% of crew members are African American. Not in Atlanta though, I saw a bit more. I’ve worked here. I just don’t see that, it’s been a long time since I saw that and yes we are underrepresented in the crew world.
I play Dr. Reynolds and he tells Dr. Goodwin that we need more women in the hospitals. In reality 19% of surgeons are women, stats of women of color being surgeons, don’t even exist at all. Thats how few there are.
How did your career take off?
Jocko: I’ve feel like I’ve been preparing for this role my whole life. I wanted to go to college to be a doctor. I took a lot of theater courses in school. But I felt like I didn’t want to be in school for twelve years, I wanted to get started with my career. I fell in love with acting while there. I moved to California and got my B.A. in theater. I went on my first audition and booked my first audition. I felt like this is what I should be doing. I feel like I’m living two dreams now playing a Doctor on television.
Let’s talk about health awareness?
Jocko: I talk about my dad a lot and my mom to both go get checked out. She tells me that she doesn’t like her insurance. The discourages a lot of people from going to the doctor, that is very sad. My dad struggles with high blood pressure and diabetes and he has had several heart attacks. We just got him to stop smoking. This issue effects all Americans. Everyone has a family member that is stubborn. Men don’t like to feel sick, its uncomfortable for them but we have to find a way to fix this in our community.
NEW AMSTERDAM is inspired by the oldest public hospital in America, this unique medical drama follows the brilliant and charming Dr. Max Goodwin, the institution’s newest medical director, who sets out to tear up the bureaucracy and provide exceptional care.
New Amsterdam returns January 14th Tuesday at 10/9c