Is James Vince Staples’ Real Uncle?

In the third episode of Netflix’s sitcom ‘The Vince Staples Show,’ Vince Staples talks to Uncle James about success and family. As a once-successful football player, James AKA “J. J.” was the beloved of his family members, who disappeared from his life once his success faded. As an experienced man, he shares his wisdom with Vince for the latter to navigate his life through the byproducts of his success as a musician. Even though the movie is loosely based on the rapper’s life, Vince has never talked about an uncle named James to confirm the latter’s existence. The clues the show leaves behind, however, shed light on who he really can be!

The Inspiration Behind Uncle James

The character Uncle James can be an easter egg and a fictionalized version of O. J. Simpson. First of all, Vince and Simpson are not relatives or directly connected in any way. Still, there are plenty of unignorable clues the show offers to see Uncle James as the infamous former football running back, starting with their similar names. Simpson’s full name is Orenthal “James” Simpson and in the series, the uncle is known as “J. J.,” which is highly similar to the former’s initials, “O. J.” Furthermore, both played football for the USC Trojans. Before getting drafted by the NFL’s Buffalo Bills, Simpson played for USC in the 1967–1968 season.

James, on the other hand, wears a USC jacket and recollects his memories near the Coliseum, the stadium of the football team. When Vince’s other relatives talk about James, they mention that his fall began with the “case in ’94.” The infamous murder trial of O. J. Simpson was also submitted in 1994 after he was charged with two counts of first-degree murder with special circumstances following the deaths of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman. In reality, the case was the starting point of the fall of the former football player as well.

In 1994, Simpson was in a white Ford Bronco while he was getting chased by the police on the Los Angeles 405 freeway. The chase became a pivotal part of the entire murder case. In the show, Uncle James drives none other than a white Ford Bronco. When Vince opens the Bronco to pick up beers, several golf clubs are seen inside the vehicle. In reality, Simpson was an avid golfer and a member of the Riviera Country Club at the time of his arrest.

Uncle James cooks food in the series wearing a black glove. One of the most memorable images concerning Simpson’s murder trial is him wearing similar black gloves. And as the cherry on top, the episode ends with the song “Family Reunion” by none other than The O’Jays. Vince has been vocal about integrating several easter eggs into the main narrative of the show. “Gotta leave Easter eggs in there, and there’s definitely a lot of meaning behind them. It’s really important [for the audience] to have a fun experience, to have people go back and ask, ‘Did you hear this? Did you see this?’” he told Netflix’s Tudum.

Beau Billingslea, a veteran voice actor, plays Uncle James in the series. He lends his voice to Jet Black in the anime ‘Cowboy Bebop,’ Ogremon in ‘Digimon,’ and Homura and Ay, the Fourth Raikage in ‘Naruto Shippuden.’ His on-screen credits include popular films such as ‘The Hannah Montana Movie’ and ‘Star Trek Into Darkness.’

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