Gbenga Akinnagbe stars as Lorenzo, a neighborhood thug who plans to get a piece of Kevin’s (Bow Wow) $370 million lottery win in Ice Cube’s new movie, ‘Lottery Ticket’. Although he plays a money hungry hood fella in the movie, Gbenga is more gentle and dynamic than any cliche bully. The new ‘Deebo’ of hood comedy folklore talked to Bossip about the man behind the bad guy and his ability to detect bullshizz from a mile away.
Bossip: Some people may recognize you from HBO’s ‘The Wire’. You played Marlo’s right hand man as a drug dealing thug and now, in Lottery Ticket, you play a thug with a comedic twist. Are these characters a far stretch from the real Gbenga?
Gbenga: They are similar in some ways, but different in others. I was actually born in Washington D.C. and raised in Silver Springs, Maryland. My parents are Nigerian immigrants and I have five siblings so I experienced a lot of the hardships you find growing up impoverished. I have lived in shelters and the projects and seen many of the things these characters have. But for me, I channeled my energy into school and fell in love with wrestling. Wrestling opened a lot of doors for me. From there I went on to college and got a job with the federal government. My passion for acting developed over time and I decided to follow it so I quit and moved to New York.
Bossip: You are obviously educated and ambitious… how about single? Are you in a relationship or reaping the benefits of your big screen debut?
Gbenga: (Laughing) I’m single. I’ve been concentrating on work, so guess I fell into the cliche of being too busy [for a relationship.] I consider my work building an empire so I dedicate a lot of time to it, but if there’s a pretty woman in a room I’m going to notice. I’m not dead.