‘Candy Life: Los Angeles’ Star Jerrold Smith II Unpacks Season 2’s Ending

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On Thursday, the second season of Issa Rae’s unscripted actuality TV collection “Sweet Life: Los Angeles” got here to an in depth on HBO Max. Likened to BET’s “Baldwin Hills” collection and led by showrunner Leola Westbrook, the collection follows a bunch of Black 20-somethings in Los Angeles as they navigate life, love and careers collectively.

Many of the ensemble solid returned — apart from Hypland designer Jordan Bentley — and some acquainted faces have been added as collection regulars. In Season 1, Bri and Jordan ceased their on-again, off-again relationship, P’Jae rented a McLaren to carry to Amanda’s birthday journey, and Jerrold launched a podcast that erupted in arguments over privilege. When Jerrold left Tylynn’s boyfriend Jaylenn to fend for himself throughout the dialog, she known as him a sociopath.

Season 1 ended with “The Group Chat,” a debrief during which solid members gathered and hashed out their squabbles from the earlier season. In Season 2, no stone was left unturned because the group talked about every part from membership squabbles to abortion, long-distance relationships, children and marriage. Although Tylynn and Jerrold mended fences on the group’s journey to Mexico, Season 2 ended abruptly as Tylynn realized that Candiss’ boyfriend Keilan had reportedly discouraged Jaylenn from proposing to her.

HuffPost talked to Jerrold Smith II in regards to the lingering questions from the second season, navigating social media as newfound actuality TV stars, and the way the solid’s relationships have developed on- and off-screen.

Season 2 of Issa Rae's unscripted reality TV series, "Sweet Life: Los Angeles," returned to HBO Max on Aug. 4.
Season 2 of Issa Rae’s unscripted actuality TV collection, “Candy Life: Los Angeles,” returned to HBO Max on Aug. 4.

Once we start Season 2, audiences see stress among the many guys, particularly you and Keilan, over a earlier incident on the membership. There was an on-camera dialogue between the 2 of you, hashing issues out, however a distinction was made between Inglewood and “The Wooden.” Might you unpack that?

Initially, “The Wooden,” the film, is considered one of my favourite motion pictures of all time. I grew up with only a sister, so I didn’t have any blood brothers that I really name my brothers. I went to high school in Inglewood my whole life. By means of going to high school and enjoying basketball, I used to be lucky sufficient to seek out guys that I, to today, think about my brothers. Being that the film was a favourite of mine and a few my associates, it’s principally our group chat title. Our group chat title is “The Wooden” as a result of we’re a bunch of men who would depend on one another like brothers. I inform them daily that they’re my brothers like my mom’s sons. I like them to loss of life.

Final season in your podcast, there was a heated alternate about privilege. Some viewers see privilege as a relentless motif within the present, impacting the best way the boys have interaction with each other. Keilan implied that he was from “the opposite facet of Inglewood,” the opposite facet of the tracks, so to talk. How would you clarify that interplay to those that could accuse you of being elitist?

What I don’t need us to get into is type of glorifying the wrestle, proper? As a result of I really feel like all of us have our respective struggles. Simply because I grew up in Ladera [Heights] doesn’t imply that I didn’t have issues that I handled each day that formed my character. I believe it’s only a lack of communication between [Keilan] and I, and understanding that we’re the identical in additional methods than we’re completely different. Rising up in LA, and experiencing a variety of issues that we skilled, simply because I used to be afforded sure privileges due to the place I grew up, doesn’t make me any completely different than anybody else. That wasn’t one thing that I used to be attempting to fight him on.

I wished him to know that I perceive the place you’re coming from and why chances are you’ll take a look at sure issues like this, as a result of not solely [did I go] to high school in these areas and grew up with associates in these areas for my whole life, and by no means would need anybody to really feel like they have been beneath me for any of these causes. Clearly, we’re in the identical place, we’re doing the identical issues. We could have gotten there by means of completely different routes, however on the finish of the day, we’re right here, and that’s what issues. It’s all about discovering understanding and the place one another’s coming from. I believe that was type of his method of looking for that understanding. It simply got here off in that method.

I seen Jordan Bentley wasn’t part of the solid of younger males this season. How has his absence affected the group, and what prompted his departure?

For one, it was so enjoyable to have the ability to do it, Season 1, with all of our associates. Jordan is a extremely good good friend of mine and nonetheless is. I actually simply noticed him yesterday. However, you understand, I believe his absence was felt just a little bit. He was such an enormous a part of final season and every part that was happening amidst a variety of {our relationships}. On the finish of the day, what’s most vital for him is his enterprise Hypland, which wanted a variety of his consideration this 12 months, and prompted him to make that his most important focus, amongst different issues. We’re very happy to assist him and his enterprise, similar to he continued to assist us and the present.

"With both of us, with guys often, comes neither of us wanting to put our pride and ego aside ... And we don’t always have to see eye to eye, but we got to be able to be copacetic in the same spaces, which we are," said Jerrold Smith of his relationship with Keilan.
“With each of us, with guys usually, comes neither of us wanting to place our pleasure and ego apart … And we don’t all the time must see eye to eye, however we acquired to have the ability to be copacetic in the identical areas, which we’re,” mentioned Jerrold Smith of his relationship with Keilan.

What’s your relationship like with Tylynn, and the way has that shifted all through the season? Particularly in that second at dinner during which you all have been apologizing to 1 one other?

I believe it’s fascinating, as a result of the great thing about the distinction in Season 1 and in Season 2 is we had that point to take a seat with every part that occurred since. That was an actual rift in our friendship to the place we hadn’t talked about it, actually, till you noticed us discuss it in Season 2. What was vital was that whether or not you’re keen on or hate the web, the web took sides. It was vital for each of us as a result of we have been capable of acquire a little bit of perspective on how I’ll not have seen her facet of issues or how she could not have seen mine.

I mentioned it within the scene: I’m not within the enterprise of shedding associates. I by no means would have wished our argument to be the catalyst in our friendship. However I believe that you just see a variety of development from her, particularly, all through this season, which I 100% admire, and it’s solely going to make our friendship stronger within the work that she’s doing herself, and vice-versa. I’m working higher to know the place my associates are coming from in these conditions and never be so guarded, closed off, and simply fully sticking to the best way that I really feel in a state of affairs, understanding that different individuals’s viewpoints are legitimate. And I hope to see these early on somewhat than issues attending to the purpose that they acquired to. However Tylynn will all the time be and nonetheless is a good good friend of mine and has been since highschool.

We don’t know whether or not there’s going to be a “Group Chat” following the finale, like final season. Do you could have any particulars on whether or not there’s going to be a debrief?

No debrief, no “Group Chat,” the place we ended is the place we ended. It’s unlucky the place we ended, however that’s the purpose that we’re at in our lives.

What has it been like for you, from the attitude of a younger man who’s now engaged, to see a variety of these conversations? How has it impacted you and Cheryl?

It’s powerful for one to check as a result of Cheryl and I’s relationship is so completely different from Ty and Jaylenn’s relationship, which is so completely different from Amanda and Rob’s and so completely different from Keilan and Candiss’. Lots of occasions, we’re all type of simply on the lookout for a perspective, and making a variety of actually, actually, actually massive life selections with cameras in entrance of our face can’t solely be just a little bit intimidating, however you wrestle.

Clearly, you rely quite a bit on the recommendation and steerage of your folks. However on the finish of the day, I believe that everyone’s operating their very own race, and it’s actually vital that we see the completely different phases that every of us are at in {our relationships} as a result of that’s how it’s in actual life.

Simply because Cheryl and I are engaged doesn’t imply that it provides any sort of strain to Ty and Jay, or modifications how Keilan provides recommendation to Jaylenn or whether or not or not Amanda and Rob transfer in collectively. The wonder on this solid, on this present, is that you just get to see us in any respect completely different factors in our lives. Me having been in a relationship considerably longer than many of the different relationships on the solid, I really feel like my viewpoint usually is a bit jaded, as a result of Cheryl and I’ve that basis of being collectively for therefore lengthy to the place I don’t ever query our relationship.

There was by no means a second during which I wasn’t certain that I wished to suggest to her. It was type of only a matter of when. As a result of on the finish of the day, we would like one another to be comfortable in our respective relationships, and the way we find yourself getting there and the paths that we take are distinctive to ourselves, however happiness is the top purpose.

Jerrold Smith II proposed to Cheryl Des Vignes in June 2022.
Jerrold Smith II proposed to Cheryl Des Vignes in June 2022.

Although it wasn’t featured in an episode this season, you proposed to Cheryl in June! Share with us what that was like, in addition to the timeline.

Firstly, there are some issues that should be only for us. I like, love, love Cheryl to loss of life, and to have the ability to undergo this course of together with her is a blessing as a result of I really feel a lot extra comfy having her there whereas we’re doing all of this.

On the similar time, we’re actual individuals, we now have actual lives. It’s that rather more particular after we’re capable of do it with our household, and ensuring that they’re comfy in that state of affairs is essential. Cheryl is a large, large fan of the seashore and the water. I did it out in Malibu at Mastro’s, a personal room overlooking the water with a few of our actually shut family and friends, to the place it was only a second for simply us. You bought just a little clip of the particular proposal itself within the credit, and I believe that was actually vital, particularly the best way the season ended.

As a few of our associates have been working by means of these points all through the season, there type of wasn’t any riffs between Cheryl and I. It was vital for the viewers to see that, given every part we had went by means of the season earlier than. I’m simply actually excited to tackle life together with her by my facet.

Becky went by means of quite a bit, significantly final season with social media. After this season, even Tylynn modified her Twitter deal with lately. How have you ever all as a bunch reckoned with that and managed social media reactions? How do you retain one another intact and examine in on each other though you may not be on one of the best phrases? What has it been wish to be plunged into that highlight?

Firstly, it is available in waves, proper? As a result of I believe there have been a few of us, Becky, for instance, who caught a variety of it final season, and fewer this season. Then, some who caught much less of that final season and extra of it this season. To not say that it’s good that a few of us have skilled it in waves, however we all know how you can console one another, and might inform when issues are getting type of powerful on the web, how we are able to assist one another, and be there for one another, however actually simply reinforcing the truth that it’s the web.

As controversial as Dave Chappelle is, I like Dave Chappelle; in considered one of his current standups, he was like, “They dragged me on Twitter. However I don’t care as a result of Twitter shouldn’t be an actual place.” Oftentimes, a variety of the issues that folks say on Twitter they’d by no means say to your face, and it’s powerful to cope with it, however you gotta perceive that persons are entitled to their opinions.

What’s good is that they watch the present. It’s vital that everybody in our good friend group simply is aware of that we’re right here to assist one another and so they’re not going by means of it alone. It takes some getting used to, but it surely comes with the territory, in a way. I want individuals would perceive that we’re common individuals; we’re people with emotions. I believe some get it, and a few it takes just a little bit longer to know.

Effectively, there was one new face this season, Myami’s good friend Robb, who was very eager on saying every part to everyone’s face. When he left, you have been visibly elated. Are you able to discuss what that interplay was like when he known as you Mr. Sociopath?

For one, that type of goes again to Tylynn and I’s argument since Season 1. It was much less in regards to the argument that we had — and as you noticed by means of her development and improvement this season — and extra about among the phrases that she type of tended to throw out when arguments did get heated. The “sociopath” time period wasn’t essentially one that basically emotionally and bodily affected me. It extra so was my wherewithal to know that there are individuals on the earth which might be actually going by means of points like that each day, that being a really critical dysfunction that folks must stay with and perceive how you can negotiate society with.

It’s powerful that that was the time period that was being thrown round, however I attempted to convey my ideas on Twitter to get individuals to know it was a misuse of phrases. What you noticed in that second, when [Robb] mentioned that to me at dinner, was me type of attempting to course of my ideas. I used to be ready to not give him the ability to have the ability to maintain that over me and attempt to management my feelings in that second. On the finish of the day, I didn’t wish to be seen solely because the man who blows up on actuality TV each single time. I like to think about myself as considerably of a social butterfly.

On the group trip to Mexico in Season 2, Tylynn apologized to Jerrold for their fallout in Season 1.
On the group journey to Mexico in Season 2, Tylynn apologized to Jerrold for his or her fallout in Season 1.

From Twitter to TikTok, Tylynn, Becky and extra solid members have shared what it’s actually like being on a actuality tv present — and the toll of maintaining with sure storylines for the sake of plot and drama. You’re employed in leisure at Westbrook, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith’s manufacturing firm, so you understand how this stuff actually are. Has it been exhausting for you, personally?

I wouldn’t say that it’s exhausting; I might say that it’s a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing as a result of, for so long as we harp on sure points, it forces us to work by means of these points. I wish to assume that I used to be fairly cussed in the truth that Tylynn and I hadn’t mentioned our problem in over a 12 months, however due to your complete strategy of this TV present, it was crucial that we didn’t just for the event of our real-life friendship however onscreen for individuals to see the place we have been coming from and the way we acquired to the place we acquired.

Clearly, with something TV comes some form of manufacturing, however I wish to assume that compared to a variety of different exhibits on TV, a variety of what we’re doing is basically genuine and actually true to ourselves and the character of our friendships. Typically that comes with edits as a result of we movie hours and hours and hours of conversations. With the best way that Twitter is speaking, I really feel like some individuals may sit there and watch hours and hours of us speaking to one another. I don’t actually, realistically assume that anyone would wish to watch a three-hour episode of us speaking about among the similar issues. That’s the character of the sport.

With reference to closure, on the prime of the season, we noticed you and Keilan have been at odds. You each got here to the conclusion that you just weren’t going to see eye to eye. How are you two now?

With each of us, with guys usually, comes neither of us wanting to place our pleasure and ego apart. I believe that we’re undoubtedly in an affordable place amongst one another. As a result of I’ve identified him since we have been in highschool. I’ve identified his girlfriend Candiss since I used to be in faculty. We’re gonna be round one another. And we don’t all the time must see eye to eye, however we acquired to have the ability to be copacetic in the identical areas, which we’re.

What would you say to individuals watching, even these which might be irritated by your good friend group?

For one, I might say thanks. Thanks for watching. As enjoyable as Season 1 was, we don’t get to do Season 2 with out the assist of followers and viewers, whether or not constructive or detrimental. So thanks for watching, and proceed to look at as a result of we hope we get to Season 3. It’s vital for individuals to view and to have their opinions, as a result of like I used to be saying earlier than, persons are going to see us undergo issues. They’re going to decide on sides on who they might determine with kind of. However the level is that we’re making actually good content material.

We don’t see a variety of exhibits with people that appear like us at our age and doing among the issues that we’re doing, whether or not in LA or outdoors of LA. I don’t take that illustration evenly. However it’s additionally powerful. It’s fascinating. I believe that those that say they will’t stand us, those that say they love us, simply know that we love you. The truth that you’re even speaking about us makes us elated and makes this course of a lot extra enjoyable.

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