Photo by Olivia Fortner via interview video.
As part of the 2021 Spring Entrepreneur Speaker Series, GHC welcomed actor and singer, Jason Weaver, for a special Zoom session to sit down with GHC students. It was held on Feb. 17 and moderated by Shanika Turner, assistant professor of business administration. In this session, Weaver discusses entrepreneurship, his longtime career in the film industry and how important the business of entertainment can be.
Weaver is the singing voice behind Young Simba in Disney’s original “The Lion King.” At the time, the young teen was offered a flat $2 million for his work on the 1994 animation. He revealed last year in an interview with VladTV that his mother and agent helped him with this decision. It worked out in the long run because he ultimately gained royalties for his musical contribution to the film.
During the ESS event I was afforded the opportunity to ask Weaver a few questions. Read below for a Q&A with Weaver.
Q: How important is it for people breaking into the entertainment industry to understand the business side of things?
A: “It’s very important, whether in entertainment or anything else. You got to have a clear understanding as far as what you’re getting involved in, what’s going to be required of you, and what you should expect on the backend through your hard work.”
Weaver said his mother told him to always ask yourself, “If they’re willing to give you that right now [$2 million] so easily, what do you think that this could possibly generate years from now?”
Q: Any advice on how people should approach negotiations and fight for their worth?
A: “Just respectfully ask, because that’s what holds people back. They’re afraid if they ask, that’s going to retract the offer. Nah, they gave you the offer because they want to work with you anyhow, so the ball is in your court.”
Weaver has had much success in the entertainment industry. He was cast to play a young Michael Jackson in the biopic “The Jacksons: An American Dream,” alongside Angela Bassett. He played a role in “Drumline,” opposite Nick Cannon and the cult classic “ATL,” starring T.I. and Lauren London.
Q: The filming of “ATL 2” was put on hold after the tragic passing of Lauren London’s partner, Nipsey Hussle. Can you give us an update on the status of that film and when you’ll start shooting again?
A: “To be honest with you, I really don’t know. I think some different drafts of the script have been passed back and forth between the producers and the studio. But nothing is set in stone yet as far as when a start date will happen. I’m glad you mentioned Lauren. We all love each other and respect each other, and Lauren is like a sister to me. It’s something to go through, with what she went through with her partner Nipsey being murdered. There’s kids and family involved that she has to raise, and she’s a single woman doing that. Everything will come together when it’s supposed to. When Lauren’s ready, she will be ready, and then we [the cast] will be ready to participate in it.”
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Watch the full conversation here: 2021 Entrepreneur Speaker Series (Spring), Jason Weaver!