Interview: ‘Black-ish’ Star Miles Brown Tackles Africa’s Water Epidemic With Cirque du Soleil Performance
At the tender age of 11, actor and dancer extraordinaire Miles Brown has added another title to his resume: humanitarian. Brown, who plays the adorable and clever Jack Johnson in the ABC hit sitcom Black-ish, is making use of his talents to bring awareness to Africa’s ongoing battle with safe and clean water.
For years, several countries in Africa haven’t had access to clean drinking water. The issue has led to an increase of cholera and several other diseases caused by contaminated water. Back in March for this year’s World Water Day, Brown joined Cirque Du Soleil to take part in the fourth annual One Night for ONE DROP event. The Las Vegas performance will be presented in select theaters for one night only Tuesday, June 7. Proceeds from the event will go to the One Drop Foundation, a youth education and water conservation in Nevada. So far, the foundation has raised $17.3 million on water awareness.
For his role in the show, Brown pulls out his best dance moves alongside the Cirque Du Soleil dancers paired with a performance by Leona Lewis. Before Brown was known as Jack Johnson with his sitcom fam, he was a hot talent in the dance world. Performing as Baby Boogaloo, Brown took part in the group Future Funk and performed on Ellen, America’s Got Talent and several dance competitions. He even brought back his dancing talents to ABC’s upfront events with a special tribute to Prince.
Brown chats with VIBE via email about One Night for ONE DROP and why he can’t get down with the running man challenge.
Check out the interview below.
VIBE: Tell us how you got involved with the One Drop Foundation’s show.
Miles Brown: My longtime friend Hassan Hajjami from America’s Got Talent contacted me and asked me to play his character. I thought I would be busy taping Black-ish but, luckily I was available! This event is geared to raise money for families in Africa but hopefully it will make everyone participate in changing the situation in Flint, Michigan.
What does clean water mean to you?
Having safe and healthy water to drink and bathe in.
Did you incorporate hip-hop into your performance? What are some of your other favorite forms of dance?
Yes, I included a little of my favorite style which is animation, a style of popping. My other favorite styles of dance are locking, house, b-boying, and krumping.
What was it like to honor prince at the ABC upfronts?
It was really cool because they made my purple costume with the same material Prince actually used and I performed to my favorite prince song “Kiss.” I actually love the extended version, though.
What will be your go-to dance moves this summer?
Popping or locking with maybe a quick “dab” in there somewhere.
What’s your favorite dance challenge: running man or the jukebox?
The running man, even though this new running man isn’t the original running man dance, it’s still fun. When someone challenges me, I’m like “That’s not the real running man, though.” But I do it anyway.
What do you say to those who want to pursue dance/choreography as a career?
Make sure to never stop or never let someone stop you, but most importantly, always have fun!
What are some other social issues that spark your interest?
Education, health, animal rights and wellness. I’ve partnered with Sleep Number to help reduce our national sleep debt.
Check a special preview to One Night for ONE DROP below and purchase tickets to the show here.