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The Upshaws' Jermelle Simon Talks Season 3, Gay Representation, and Working with Legendary Cast

Updated: Feb 27, 2023

Exclusive | TV & Film

jermelle simon as bernard upshaw jr. in season 3 of The Upshaws
Courtesy of Netflix / The Upshaws (Part 3)

Gaye Magazine caught up with The Upshaws' actor Jermelle Simon ahead of the show’s season 3 premiere. (Watch the Full Interview Here)

In our exclusive interview, Simon opened up about how his life has changed since The Upshaws first aired, working with his castmates and what he hopes to see from his character in the show's upcoming third season.

The half-hour sitcom follows Bennie Upshaw (Mike Epps), a blue-collar mechanic in the midwest, and his unconventional family, which includes his wise-cracking sister-in-law Lucretia (Wanda Sykes) no-nonsense wife Regina (Kim Fields), their eldest son Bernard (Jermelle Simon), younger daughters Aaliyah and Maya (Khali Spraggins and Journey Christine), and teenage son Kelvin (Diamond Lyons), from his baby mama Tasha (Gabrielle Dennis).

Courtesy of Netflix / The Upshaws

In season 3 (part 3), the Upshaws are dealing with the events which landed Bennie and Lucretia in jail on suspicion of selling stolen parts out of their body shop and Regina quitting her job after losing the scholarship that would’ve paid for her MBA.

Created by Regina Y. Hicks and Wanda Sykes, the series has been applauded by fans for its gay storylines involving Jermelle Simon’s character Bernard Upshaw Jr. Simon was later upped to series regular for the sitcom's recently announced third season.

Simon shared with us that he received an "outpouring of love and support" following the revelation of his character's queer identity.

"Bernard has helped heal so many people and helped them with their confidence - and brought light to a lot of coming out journeys. As an actor and an artist, I'm happy this role will help heal someone and help someone feel seen," Simon tells Gaye Magazine.

On the show, Simon plays alongside several major Hollywood vets including Wanda Sykes, Mike Epps, and Kim Fields.

“ I say this all the time, it's been, it's still surreal, I've been working with them now for going on three years and I still have moments where I'm like, man, I'm really in a scene right now with Mike Epps, and we are really going back and forth doing physical comedy.”

Simons said he has been able to observe Sykes, Epps, and Field's comedic acting styles and has been able to develop his lane as a comedic actor.

“When I see them, it just makes me go harder because they show you every time why they have been in this business 20 plus years, 30 plus years,” he said.

Filming for the show’s fourth season is currently underway, Simon said he was excited with the direction his role was taking this season. “In the upcoming season, I get to do something completely different. I’m always on pins and needles.”

Simons said he was looking forward to exercising more physical comedy in the upcoming fourth season and wants to continue to explore topics that make people uncomfortable.

“I told Wanda [Sykes] give me everything, I want to tackle it all this season”

When asked what advice would he offer someone in their coming out journey, he shared "to embrace being themselves".

"It wasn't until I really became who I was, that things started opening up for me, you know, it wasn't until I accepted just all the things about myself and that's when the doors really opened,” Simon began.

“Someone told me God can't bless who you pretend to be, you know, so I think your full self knocks down all the limitations, all the boundaries and things will really start to flow to you.”

Watch Our Full Interview with Jermelle Simon Below:


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