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Why Carter From Two Distant Strangers Looks So Familiar

There's a powerful new short film currently dominating Netflix — and for good reason. Two Distant Strangers follows a Black man named Carter (Joey Bada$$) who leaves a date's apartment in the morning only to be confronted by a white police officer, Merk (Andrew Howard). They get in a conflict, which results in Carter's death, but it's at that point the man realizes he's in a Groundhog Day loop where he wakes up in his date's bed every time he dies.

Two Distant Strangers puts a science-fiction twist on one of the most pressing issues facing American society today, and also shines a light on the immense talent of rapper-turned-actor Joey Bada$$. He may be known for his rhymes on B4.Da.$$ and All-Amerikkkan Badass, but this isn't his first time acting in front of the camera. In fact, Joey Bada$$ has had a number of TV roles in recent memory, including one on a very well-known cable thriller.

Joey Bada$$ started acting on Mr. Robot

After making a name for himself in the rap world, Joey Bada$$ followed the route so many other rappers have taken — he started acting. And his first role on a television series was a big one when he landed the part of Leon on Mr. Robot. The character first came into the mix in season 2 after Elliot Alderson (Rami Malek) gets sent to prison. He becomes a bit of a sage mentor toward Elliot, giving him advice on how the socially anxious hacker can survive during his sentence. 

When he's not with Elliot, Leon spends most of his time in incarceration watching old sitcoms, waxing philosophical about the true meanings behind Seinfeld and Mad About You. Even after the two get released, Leon continues having a presence on the series, and it eventually comes to light that Leon is a member of the Dark Army. He may have been laid back most of the time, but when the situation calls for it, Leon could get deadly serious at the drop of a hat. 

He played an influential rapper on Wu-Tang: An American Saga

Joey Bada$$ first burst onto the scene in the rap game after he dropped his debut mixtape, 1999, back in 2012, and he helped usher in the new Progressive Era (Pro Era) in hip hop (via Complex). This group consisted of a collective of artists reminiscent of one of the greatest rap groups of all time — Wu-Tang Clan

Joey Bada$$ even had the opportunity to help pay tribute to rappers who clearly influenced his art by portraying Wu-Tang member Inspectah Deck on the Hulu original series, Wu-Tang: An American Saga. The first season, which came out late in 2019, follows the formation of the titular group as numerous rappers come together to make music. Hulu was quick to order a second season, and RZA spoke with The Source about what fans can expect going into season 2: "This season is gonna be even more unpredictable but layered into the fun of what [Wu-Tang's debut album] 36 Chambers mean to so many people around the world." No release date for season 2 of Wu-Tang: An American Saga has been announced yet, but it'd likely drop later in 2021. 

Joey Bada$$ appears as himself throughout Grown-ish

Wu-Tang: An American Saga isn't the only show Joey Bada$$ is likely to return to in the near future. He also has a recurring role on Freeform's Grown-ish where he appears as himself. He made his debut on the sitcom in season 2 where he offers a styling job to Zoey Johnson (Yara Shahidi), who initially turns it down but ends up accepting it by the episode's last scene. He appears sporadically across season 3, and we wouldn't be surprised to see him come back when Grown-ish season 4 comes out later this year. Zoey's learned a lot during her time working for the rapper, especially after he brought on Indigo (Saweetie) as a protégé. 

Fans of Joey Bada$$'s music may be surprised to see what a prolific actor he is, but it was seemingly always in the cards he would act in some manner. In an interview with SSENSEhe talked about how he's been acting for a long time, stating, "I was in high school for screen theater, so I had some experience. And I always knew that if music worked out, then acting would be way easier." Expect to see him continue to grace the screen for some time to come.