Just because Junior never had all the answers, don’t underestimate actor Marcus Scribner, who played the role on Black-ish for eight years and is currently heading into a new season this January as the second eldest Johnson child on Grown-ish.
Marcus Scribner Honored With Backstage Vanguard Award
We’re excited to introduce audiences to another side of Scribner, who was just named the 2022 Backstage Vanguard Award honoree. The award, a collaboration between Backstage Magazine and the Society of Voice Arts and Sciences (SOVAS), was presented to Scribner during the 13th annual That’s Voiceover! Career Expo at the Marriott Burbank Convention Center in Los Angeles last Friday Dec. 16.
The Vanguard Award recognizes excellence in the voice acting realm as well as honoring community advocacy and altruism and Scribner is the youngest recipient to date! That’s big. And if you were wondering about the voice acting because you hadn’t yet “heard” Marcus at work — you’ve got some catching up to do. He’s had roles in projects including Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur, Netflix’s She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, and DreamWorks’ Dragons: The Nine Realms. We caught up with Scribner ahead of his Vanguard ceremony and chatted about his passion for activism, his voice acting career, and more!
Marcus Scribner Shares His Passion For Environmental Activism
Scribner recently served as an Ambassador for Defend Our Future, a project of the Environmental Defense Fund that is dedicated to empowering young people of all political persuasions who are interested in advancing climate change and clean energy solutions. Additionally, this Fall Scribner teamed up with Tom’s of Maine for its first-ever Incubator initiative, a seven-month program designed to propel the next generation of BIPOC leaders driving environmental solutions. The inaugural Tom’s of Maine Incubator class is made up of five selected changemakers who have a passion and vision for building and broadening environmental solutions. Each Incubator member receives $20,000 in funding to help support their mission, plus ongoing mentorship from influential voices in sustainability and climate activism.
“These are two of the causes most important to my heart — obviously, uplifting BIPOC voices and then also the environment,” Scribner told Global Grind’s Sr. Content Director, Janeé Bolden. “So those two fused together and getting to work with Tom’s of Maine to create the incubator and get funding for future changemakers and people who are my age and people I think can really change the game and actually have a passion for it. That’s kind of the big thing for me.”
“It’s hard to put money somewhere where you don’t know if it’s actually going to be used for the right cause,” Scribner continued, “but when you find these young BIPOC people who are people like me who care and have really great ideas, they want to create green spaces, uplift other people of color. I thought it was the perfect marriage.”
Marcus also recently served as the Chief Youth Innovator for Reserve Protection Agency in South Africa, helping to protect Africa’s beautiful animals.
“Shout out to the Reserve Protection Agency because they made my title sound a lot more impressive than it actually is,” Scribner told Global Grind. “I got to be part of their conservation effort, which I’m very thankful for. I was promoting a lot of the technology they were doing to safeguard a lot of the animals in the area from poachers. It’s a cross-section of a social justice issue and an environmental issue. A lot of the poachers come from a community where this is their only way of survival. At the same time, we have these animals where this might be the last rhino left on the planet, which sustains this entire environment — where if this rhino isn’t pooping this other animal doesn’t get to eat. Yeah, disgusting, but it’s a whole chain of events.”
“I came down there to promote safe technology to help track the animals and make sure they weren’t using any inhumane tactics against poachers. We saw them do a live tracking of this female rhino. Out there they actually take the horns off some of the rhinos. The reserve does it themselves so they don’t get poached. They can survive with half of the horn, but some poachers are so desperate they’ll come in and take the rest of the horn. But they end up dying because they do it without anesthesia or they just leave the animal there. We got to see this mother rhino with her baby. Shout out to South Africa as well. It was crazy because I didn’t know how many fans Black-ish and Grown-ish have out there but it’s one of our biggest regions and everyone was showing mad love. It was an amazing experience and we gotta save the rhinos.”
Marcus Scribner’s impact isn’t limited to environmentalism. He’s also worked with the National Foster Institute, directly touching the lives of children in need.
“The government does not make it easy,” Scribner told Global Grind. “I’m trying to use what I’ve got to help people as much as possible. That’s the goal.”
Marcus Scribner Says Voice Acting Roles Have Also Embraced His Activism
Since the Vanguard Award is for performers who are making strides in the voiceover space, we asked Marcus about his work as a voice actor as well.
“I have a voiceover agent Melissa Berger,” Scribner said. “I thought I would get a couple one-off projects but ended up in a couple of series. I was also in The Good Dinosaur which ended up being a fun project. Shout out to Pete Sohn, I love that guy, who directed The Good Dinosaur.”
“I was very grateful because I was able to use activism in a lot of my current roles, even in Dragons: The Nine Realms, which shows a lot of environmental conservation themes,” Scribner continued. “There’s a bunch of kids, honestly young BIPOC leaders who could probably benefit from the Tom’s of Maine incubator program. They’re trying to help conserve and protect these dragons, in this fantastical world, but I think it’s a real reflection of how in real life the youth are standing up for our natural friends, all of the animals on the planet, and how they complete the circle of life. I was also in She-Ra and the Princesses of Power which is a remix on the classic She-RA which is really cool because there is a lot more LGBTQ positivity and influence in there and a lot of people of color. My character was white in the original show. I was like,’I don’t know how I’m going to play this character,’ when the audition came through. He was like 6’5 had a mustache and was ripped and was just a Caucasian male. It was cool that they made Bow a young Black kid with a soft heart. It was a really dope project to be part of, with the diversity and unique voices. I think it did a lot for a lot of people. It’s crazy but I get recognized as much for Bow as I do for Junior. It really resonated with a lot of people. I really feel like I don’t have that recognizable of a voice but through Bow, I guess it is.”
Next up for Marcus, is the return of Junior on the new season of Grown-ish airing January 18th.
“Junior is going through a lot of mental health struggles — which sucks but it’s an important topic and something a lot of us struggle with,” Scribner told Global Grind.
It seems only right that Marcus Scribner’s onscreen journey will continue to be as impactful as the work he’s doing in real life.
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