The creator of the long-running franchise released a statement in response to Drake’s comment in a recent interview.
“I’m hoping there was just some miscommunication here, because if that’s the perception nothing could make me sadder,” Schyuler told BuzzFeed Canada.
This comes after Drake’s interview with W Magazine, released this week, where the rapper referred to juggling Degrassi and making music:
“That was part of the reason I was kicked off the show,” he said. “Back then, I’d spend a full day on set and then go to the studio to make music until 4 or 5 a.m. I’d sleep in my dressing room and then be in front of the cameras again by 9 a.m. Eventually, they realized I was juggling two professions and told me I had to choose. I chose this life.”
Schuyler responded, telling BuzzFeed Canada the show worked hard to accommodate Drake’s music.
“From my point of view, the timing was absolutely brilliant because we knew Aubrey was juggling his music,” Shcuyler said. “Not only did we know it, we helped him with it. His character had run its course, so we were nothing but supportive.”
Since nearly the beginning of TNG, the show has deliberately incorporated actors’ real-life talents into the show. They did so with Drake by allowing Jimmy to rap, and it was so awesome that we can never forgive Ashley Kerwin for what she did to Jimmy in season 7:
Drake saying he didn’t leave Degrassi on his own terms is nothing new…in a 2009 interview with Vibe:
VIBE: You were on Degrassi for eight years. It must have taken a lot to leave that comfort zone. When did you know it was time to go?
DRAKE: I can’t really say I left that show. One day we came in and all the names were just changed on the dressing rooms. Everyone got cut. We go upstairs and it’s like, “Who are all these people auditioning in the front?” They owe us a lot of money. The amount of loyalty, the years we put in with these people…they did us foul. As far as the producers go, I don’t talk to anybody over there.
The most disturbing part of this current drama in my opinion is the media running away with that line from the interview, blasting a sensational headline solely for clickbait (a similar action 99% of the media outlets, who are clueless about Degrassi to begin with, pulled when the show was yanked from TeenNick and MTV earlier this summer). Linda was basically forced into giving a statement, because to the generic reader the media headlines imply Drake getting kicked off Degrassi was done with malicious intent.
Maybe Drake took the news very personally; maybe Degrassi didn’t handle phasing out the actors back then as well as they should’ve. I’m not gonna pretend to know, but it wouldn’t be surprising if the reality of the situation lies somewhere in the middle of what both parties have said. However, if you’ve watched Degrassi beyond the graduation of the TNG seniors at the end of season 5, you know the show has made it a habit to intentionally write main characters out of the show. Whether it’s a graduation, someone like KC leaving a few seasons before graduation or Eli staying a few seasons after, we’ve now reached the point where it’s a given that every character on Degrassi has a shelf life. It’s not like they singled out Drake to punish him for daring to do something other than play “Wheelchair Jimmy,” and his butt would’ve gone right out the door with the remaining original TNG cast members by the end of season 9 regardless.
And it ended up working out for Drake anyway, because look where that door closing has lead him while one of the most-important parts of that interview goes ignored. “I chose this life,” he said.