Unmasking the Hero: Shameik Moore

We meet the man making history as the first ever biracial Spider-Man.

Over the past decade, there’s been countless editions of the Spider-Man series. Reboot after reboot has mostly led to most disappointment from fans. But a new film is here to write all the wrongs that Spider Man has served up previously. Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse, which is released this week, is the animated answer to our fave super-hero. Rather than the classic Peter Parker narrative, the latest arrival will tell the story of Miles Morales, who was introduced to the comics following the death of Peter Parker in the comics back in 2011. It’s believed that inspiration for the character came from US President Barack Obama and Atlantan rapper Donald Glover (Childish Gambino).

With that in mind, it seems only fitting that fellow Atlanta native and rising star of rap (his first mixtape was released back in 2012 and his follow-up is scheduled in for 2019) and screen, Shameik Moore, takes up the reigns as the first bi-racial Spider-Man. After appearing in Baz Luhrmann’s Netflix music The Get Down, he auditioned for the role of Spider-Man, and succeeded in bagging the role. The film has already been nominated for a Golden Globe and Critic’s Choice Award – a testament to the fact that this really is the best Spider-Man movie out there.

As he gets set for his name to go global, and as he rounds off an upcoming role in RZA’s new flick, we grabbed a minute with Moore to speak about making history as the first ever black Spider-Man, and the impact that his role will have on the community.

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You were born and raised in Atlanta. What was life like growing up there?

I love the energy and flavour of Atlanta. My family is from Jamaica and my dad is a musician so I was always surrounded by the music, colour and culture.

Do you think that the influence of the Atlanta rap / hip-hop scene helped to push you in that direction?

My music has taken a few turns – I am definitely influenced by the Atlanta hip-hop and rap scene but I also throw a Jamaican influence into it now.

Out of Atlanta musicians, who would you say you’re more influenced by / drawn to?

My biggest musical influence is Usher.

 What kind of musicians are you inspired by in general / outside of Atlanta?

I appreciate good music in general – I like when the artist matches their music. There are too many to list.

You already released a mixtape a few years ago? I heard you have another one dropping soon. How long have you been working on it?

I have been working on it for a few years – about the same time I started working on The Get Down. I hope to release new music in 2019.

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What can people expect from that?

New school R&B with old school soul. 

Do you have anyone that you’re particularly keen to collaborate with?

I would love to collaborate with Kehlani, Sway Lee and Playboi Carti.

You act as well, but which do you prefer, making music or being on set?

Acting is like I’m going to work. Music and dance are more about self expression and both allow me more freedom as an artist.

Spider-Man is out this week. Congratulations!

Thank you, I am very excited about the response we are already getting – a Golden Globe and a Critic’s Choice nomination!

What does it mean to you to be cast as the first Black spider-man?

It’s a great honour and a dream come true. I wrote “I am Miles Morales” in a journal a few years ago so I sort of manifested the role for myself.

It’s obviously a really big moment with regards to diversity. How do you hope young POC take away from this?

I hope young people in general take away the message of the movie  – that anyone can wear the mask.  Anyone can be hero if they choose the right path.

What was the experience of voicing such an iconic character like?

It was very different than acting on camera. At first I was not sure if I needed to change the octave of my voice – higher – as MIles is very young – but Phil and Chris liked my voice just the way it is.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

If you could have any super-power, what would it be?

To control and manipulate electromagnetic force like Static Shock.

Which super-hero, other than Spider Man, do you most relate to?

I relate to Static Shock.

Name someone in your life that is your own personal hero, and explain why.

My mom because she shaped the person I am today and has always been a great influence in my life.

You’re still quite young – only 23, but you’ve done a lot already. Do you think your generation feels under pressure to succeed at earlier than your adult contemporaries did?

Yes, I feel that pressure personally.  The entire industry is so different now – we have to worry about so many things these dyas – like social media etc….back in the day no one had to think about that!

What are you getting up to when you’re not in the recording studio / on set?

I write and love to hit the boxing gym.

What would you like the future to hold for you?

I would love all of my hopes and dreams to be realised. I also want to write and direct a feature film.

What does the future hold for you?

My film that RZA directed, Cutthroat City will be out next year as well as Pretenders. I will release my new mix tape Worth the Risk also next year. I also have a few cool things are brewing but I cannot speak about those right now!