“Baldwin Hills,” known as the black “Beverly Hills 90210,” is still considered one of BET’s most impactful reality docuseries that changed the narrative for children of black professionals. Highlighting love triangles, the state of being a black teen in the suburbs, and the drama of eight individuals discovering themselves, this show keeps fans wondering “Where are they now?”
Recently, rolling out had the opportunity to chat with one of the lead castmates of the show, Moriah Johnson, to discuss life during and after the show and how Baldwin Hills impacted the culture for black television.
How did you get on the show Baldwin Hills?
My brother Kris heard about interview[s] for the show and [producers] looking for kids in our neighborhood. At the time I had 4.0 GPA as a four- sport athlete and had a pretty interesting family backstory, so Kris thought I’d be a good candidate. So naturally, I showered, blow-dried the afro I had at the time and went down to put on for my city. A couple of months later they called and told me they’d love to have me on the show.
How was life for you during the show?
Life during the show was interesting. Initially, I hadn’t told anyone that I was accepted onto the show. So one day in class, after the initial commercials had run for a while, one of my classmates yelled across the room “Ay, Mo it’s this show coming out called ‘Baldwin Hills’ or something like that, they got this guy that looks just like you!” To which I responded, “For real?” And I left it at that.
Did you ever think Baldwin Hills would impact the culture of African American television?
I actually didn’t realize the impact it would have in general. Even to this day, I’m still amazed and impressed. Back in 2009, as a senior in high school, I was invited to present an award with Usain Bolt at the Youth View Awards. I had no idea the show even reached outside of America. For this show about my neighborhood to highlight the children of professional blacks doing something productive and positive, it was very refreshing, and a privilege to be a part of changing the narrative.
How has life been for you after the show?
Life has been amazing post-show. I am currently a practicing occupational therapist with a masters degree from the one and only Tuskegee University. I still get recognized from the show while I’m out, which is dope. But I’m definitely in the millennial struggle of not feeling fit for the 9-5 lifestyle. So I keep that in mind when I think about future endeavors.
What’s next for you?
I’ll be doing more creating in the near future with a focus on travel, comedy, and poetry. Also, the next thing for me is continuing to help those around me achieve their goals and ambitions because when one of us wins, we all do.
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