O’Shea Jackson, the actor best known for playing his father, Ice Cube, in 2015’s “Straight Outta Compton,” told Kelly Clarkson Thursday that he has no shame about being a “nepo baby,” expressing that Ice Cube didn’t “work as hard as he did for me to not accept and appreciate it.”
“Damn right [I’m his son], 100 percent, that’s my hero,” he said.
“Aw, that’s so cool,” Clarkson responded.
Clarkson brought up the topic on Thursday’s episode of “The Kelly Clarkson Show” by saying that “there’s been a lot of talk about nepo babies recently” – and there has been. From a damning New York Magazine article claiming it’s “the year of the nepo baby” to everyone from Jamie Lee Curtis to Allison Williams weighing in with responses both cringey and thoughtful, the phrase meant to indicate that nepotism (“nepo”) has gotten many actors to where they are today has become a cheeky means of holding that privilege to account.
“You have an interesting take on this,” Clarkson said to Jackson, “and I love your take on this.”
“Yeah, I’m forever grateful for everything that my dad had to do to get me the opportunities that I have. And if I were to run away from that or shy away from it in any way, in my eyes, that’s disrespectful to everything he had to go through,” Jackson, who next stars in “Cocaine Bear,” said. “He didn’t work as hard as he did for me to not accept and appreciate. And so I’ll wear it as a badge of honor, y’know? A lot of people when they see me, naturally, ‘Hey, you’re Ice Cube’s son!’ Damn right I am! 100 percent, that’s my hero. That’s my coach.”
“And at the same time, the door can be open, but you’ve gotta walk through it. You know, I have a lot of people, they have an idea of what I’m gonna be before I get to any set because of their idea of what my dad is,” he continued. “They think I’m coming to set feeling entitled or I feel like I need to have a ‘posse’ of 15, 20 people with me. Y’know, straight rap stuff. But no, I’m here to work. I pride myself on my professionalism.”
The actor then nodded to another one of his heroes, the late Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant, who instilled in him another lesson about what it means to find success in the same field as one’s parents.
“He said you’re parents are never gonna want you to go through anything. They’re never gonna want you to go through hard times, but you have to pick yourself, you have to grind, you have to take the risk and you have to make a name for yourself,” Jackson said. “That’s what I try to do every day.”
Watch the full segment from “The Kelly Clarkson Show” in the video above.