J. Alphonse Nicholson cast in sports drama ‘Black Spartans’

The "P-Valley" star will play Jimmy Raye, quarterback of the 1966 Michigan State Spartans, the first fully integrated college football team.

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J. Alphonse Nicholson has been slated to star in a forthcoming sports drama, “Black Spartans.” The “P-Valley” star will join previously announced castmates Neal McDonough and Casey Cott.

“Black Spartans” is inspired by the Duffy Daugherty-coached Michigan State Spartans football team of the mid-1960s, according to Deadline. The civil rights-era film will tell the story of the first fully integrated college football team, and in it, Nicholson will portray Jimmy Raye, a Fayetteville, North Carolina native who, in 1966, became the first Black quarterback from the south to win a national championship.

Nicholson, who hails from Greensboro, North Carolina, is currently cast on “P-Valley,” playing up-and-coming rapper Lil Murda. He has worked extensively on television, appearing in numerous series such as “Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker,” “Marvel’s Luke Cage,” “Blue Bloods,” “Mr. Robot,” “The Blacklist” and “Chicago P.D.”

J. Alphonse Nicholson attends the STARZ Season Two premiere of “P-Valley” at Avalon Hollywood & Bardot in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images)

Aside from television, Nicholson also has experience on the big screen. He has acted in such films as “Just Mercy” and is set to appear in forthcoming movies like the remake of “White Men Can’t Jump,” and alongside Jamie Foxx in the Netflix comedy, “They Cloned Tyrone.” Nicholson has also shined onstage, playing C.J. Memphis in the Tony Award-winning Broadway revival of “A Soldier’s Play.”

Directing the sports film will be Ben Cory Jones. Best known as a writer and producer on the hit HBO comedy series “Insecure,” Jones will be making his feature film directorial debut with “Black Spartans.” Jones has also written for the series “Underground” and co-produced BET’s “Boomerang” series with Lena Waithe.

Jones said he’s “beyond excited” to work with Nicholson, describing the actor as a “massive talent” in a recent Instagram post. Nicholson also took to his Instagram page to write about his “Black Spartans” role, posting that he’s “grateful for this amazing opportunity.”

“Black Spartans” will be co-produced by Jones, along with McDonough, Cott, David Brown, Rochelle Claerbaut, Ruve McDonough, Justin Oates-Marable and Jimmy V, and Cory Wharton will be the executive producer. Filming is set to begin this fall in Atlanta, Georgia.

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