Flavor Flav is heading back to high school to get his diploma, and he's inviting the reality TV cameras to follow him.
Ripping a page from Rodney Dangerfield's play book, the Public Enemy rapper and alumnus of several VH1 reality shows will be teaming up with Michael Hirschorn's Ish Entertainment and Eric Ortner Productions to produce the new strip. Ortner is a former senior producer for NBC's "Weekend Today" show and ABC's "Good Morning America."
Flav (real name: William Jonathan Drayton Jr.), who cannot read, write or do math beyond about a 7th-grade level (note: he is not illiterate), told Access in a recent interview that he is returning to the classroom to make his family proud.
"Honestly, to tell you the truth – I don't have my diploma – and years later, down the line, I felt that it was an embarrassing situation that I wanted to fix," he said. "I wanted to make my mother happy – my sisters both have their diplomas and I don't yet. And so I want to make my mom smile and make her proud while she's still alive."
Flav adds that he's ready to use the reality TV platform to serve as a role model.
"I want to use this show as an example that it's never too late to go back. I want to use this show as a tool to show kids who are already in school to get your diploma while you're there. There are a lot of things that you can't do in your life without your diploma. I want to go back and fix it now. I want this to be influential on kids."
Flav says that fans will see a much more serious side of him – that he will be showing fans the "William Drayton side of him" in this new show.
"You're definitely going to see a much more serious and deep side of William Drayton, who's the person that created the character of Flav," he explained. "And now I want fans to see the real serious, parental and mentor side of me – the William Drayton side. I'm going to be much more in mentor mode."
But don't expect his new show to be all about the books.
"There will definitely be some wackiness too!" Flav added. "I'm going out for the band, and the basketball team, and the football team. I'm still gonna keep Flavor Flav… the man, around! If the football team is losing the game, I'm gonna put on a jersey, and I'm gonna go out there and win the game for my school!"
Flav sighted his own participation in music programs as being the saving grace of his eventual career trajectory, but also, the reason why he didn't originally graduate.
"I play 14 different instruments," he explained. "Another reason why I don't have my diploma though is because I cut classes hanging out in the band room. But on this show, you're definitely gonna see me out there as the drum major leading the band."
Finally, Flav sees this show as the chance for a new direction for reality TV – one that's focusing on positive end results.
"I think right now the direction of reality TV needs to change. I started out the trend for the dating shows on reality TV. My heart is saddened about the murder that happened within the course of that. I am going to change the course of things. People want something more right now; they want something smarter," he told Access.
"So my message for kids is, 'Get your diploma right now.' Believe me, I had a rough life without it. There are a lot of guys on the corner right now, hustling drugs because they can't get the jobs they want because they don't have their diplomas," he concluded.
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