'Supergirl' star Mehcad Brooks says being the first black Jimmy Olsen gives him 'hope'

Mehcad brooks supergirlRichard Cartwright/CBS‘Supergirl’ star Melissa Benoist and Mehcad Brooks.

CBS’s new “Supergirl” series includes lots of nods to the Superman legacy, including borrowing Jimmy Olsen (with a twist).

Mehcad Brooks plays the role of Superman’s young photographer friend — but under the more grownup name James Olsen. As a favour to the Man of Steel, James took a job at the same newspaper where his cousin Kara aka Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) works.

The character, which has been a part of the Superman mythology since the 1940s, is traditionally portrayed as white.

Business Insider has an exclusive first look at Brooks on Monday’s episode of syndicated daytime talk show “The Real.”

In the clip, co-host Tamera Mowry-Housley asks the actor how it feels to be playing the role as a black actor.

“It gives me hope,” the 35-year-old answered. “I think that it shows that in this country if you work really hard — sounds corny, but I’m kind of corny — that you can achieve anything.”

“That is not corny. That is a fact,” co-host Tamar Braxton interjects as the audience claps for Brooks.

Jimmy olsen mehcad brooks supergirlPlay GIF‘The Real’Superman’s best friend, Jimmy Olsen, through the years.

“Jimmy was created in 1940, so a lot of things were monochromatic back then,” Brooks points out. “
Well, you had segregation. So white things were white, black things were black. Latino things were Latino. And we didn’t have this intermixing of races that we have now, which is a very positive thing, obviously. And it strengthens all of us. So, like, in 1940, we didn’t have that mentality we do now. So that’s a beautiful thing.”

For more of Brooks’ interview on Monday, November 9, on “The Real,” check your local listings.

Watch BI’s exclusive preview of Brooks’ interview below. 

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