Lights Please: Sterling “Steelo” Brim
words: iman n. milner
Sterling “Steelo” Brim has become a fixture in the MTV generation through his no holds barred personality and commentary on “Ridiculousness” but he’s not just a funny guy with good looks. The Chicago native is slowly building a media empire lending his talents to budding fashion designers, stand up comedy as well as a sketch comedy show that he’ll serve as executive producer for. After playing behind the scenes in both music and television, Brim is stepping out of the shadows and has found a legion of fans waiting to support his endeavors.
EDGE: Before we get into your career on television, let’s talk about what you do behind the scenes in the music industry.
Steelo Brim: I’ve always been into publishing and producing. I’m currently working on a couple of projects and my producer has two placements on Trey’s (Songz) new project. He did Tank’s “Last Breath” and Kelly Rowland’s “Keep It Between Us” as well. Your publishing is everything in the music business.
EDGE: How did you cultivate a relationship with Rob and end up on ‘Ridiculousness’? Was there an audition process?
Steelo Brim: There was no audition, honestly. I used to work with Drama on the music side and we became good friends. I was at the studio a lot and Rob came to me one day and said, “you’re hilarious”. He asked me if I wanted to do a TV show and I was down for that. He really didn’t say anything else about it until three months later, he literally walked up to me and said “we shoot the pilot tomorrow”. I had never done TV before so, of course, I was nervous as hell. During the pilot, I was really quiet and MTV wasn’t feeling me but Rob kept telling them that I was funny. It really took him believing in me. We did Season 1 and they loved me. In Season 2, I really stepped it up even more. We started filming Season 3 in November.
EDGE: Is that how your sketch comedy opportunity came about?
Steelo Brim: Essentially, yes. The producers of Rob and Big as well as Fantasy Factory want to start doing television without Rob in the forefront—a way of carrying on his legacy without him being the face of the show. They want to start that with my sketch comedy show.
EDGE: What can we expect from you on that show?
Steelo Brim: Well, the tentative title is Brilliantly Ignorant. It will be along the lines of The Chappelle Show. It’s very race heavy. If you follow me on Twitter, it’s that ten times over. There’s a lot of satire. In my eyes, the new racism is pretending that racism no longer exists. The first sketch I wrote is called ‘niggas vs. cops’. It’s really funny. I’ve written pretty much every sketch. The production company is really excited about it and I think it’s going to be dope. I’ll star on it but we’ll also have surprise guests and recurring cast members.
EDGE: That’s sure to bring a lot of scrutiny your way. Are you used to defending your style of comedy?
Steelo Brim: I’m very misunderstood. I’m a very sarcastic, facetious person. I joke a lot. I don’t take life too serious. I’m always the person to hit you with a “too soon” joke. It’s not that I don’t care, it’s just that a lot of people don’t know how to take that.
EDGE: What’s the thing that most people don’t know about you? Or that you feel gets overlooked because of your more glaring personality traits?
Steelo Brim: I’m a very loving person. If I rock with you, you know it. I am family first—my brothers are my best friends. I call my brothers everyday, no matter what. I have an older sister and a beautiful niece. My parents have been married for 31 years so I do value loyalty and genuine love.
EDGE: You’re from Chicago, can you speak to the violence that’s sweeping that city these days? Has it hit close to home?
Steelo Brim: Yeah. I’m from the Westside of Chicago. The community that I’m from was #1 in the country for violence. The last time I was home, the National Guard was on my block for four days in a row raiding houses. My brother just held one of our good friends while he was shot. It’s pretty crazy in Chicago right now. I hope to get my parents out of that neighborhood very soon.
EDGE: A lot of people from urban areas get a lot of heat for living their neighborhoods and moving on. Do you consider that “selling out”?
Steelo Brim: When I go home people will ask me “you live in LA, do you ever go to Compton?”. Hell NO! I worked too hard to get away from that s***. Why would I seek that out? It’s not selling out, it’s getting out.I always thank God for giving me a way to come out of it. I don’t want to go back at all. When I go visit my friends back home, they’re proud. I don’t get any flack for wanting more out of my life.
EDGE: A lot of people don’t know that both of your parents are pastors. Have you picked up any of their heart for giving back?
Steelo Brim: I really want to have an after school program that offers dinner to kids and that extends into the summer. So many kids go home to nothing and we wonder why our kids aren’t doing as well in school—they’re malnourished. You can’t focus on an empty stomach. I want to help fix that in Chicago first and then expand to other cities. I also want to coach a little league baseball team.
EDGE: What do you hope people will say about you when it’s all said and done?
Steelo Brim: My only hope is that people will actually come to my funeral. When Aaron Michael Cox passed away, I went to his memorial service and it was really powerful. It was really a celebration of his life. It was moving. He was only 22 years old and so many people came out and really honored him. It was a beautiful thing. I hope that people say pure kind hearted things about me. Everyone doesn’t know me and if you don’t know me sometimes I can be a hard pill to swallow but I’m really a good person. I’ve matured so much over the years and I just hope people recognize that. My intentions are always honest.
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