One of John Baker’s first YouTube videos shows him doing spoken word performance art at the University of Florida.
Four years later, the man who calls himself Spoken Reasons has more than 1.3 million YouTube subscribers and will co-star in The Heat, a special agent comedy that opened Friday.
The 24-year-old Bradenton native plays Terrell Rojas, a drug dealer on the wrong side of the law running from FBI agent Sarah Ashburn ( Sandra Bullock) and Boston cop Shannon Mullins ( Melissa McCarthy).
In the trailer, Mullins and Ashburn dangle Terrell over a railing, trying to extract information from him.
“He can do way better in life, but no one takes him seriously, he pretends to be the tough guy, which he’s not,” Reasons said.
Reasons landed the role in a matter of days. In one weekend, he overnighted an audition tape and took an acting class. He got the part Monday.
Posted throughout Reasons’ social media platforms is the hashtag #FCHW, which stands for faith, consistency and hard work. He attributes a lot of his success to that mindset.
“It goes way deeper than just me,” he said. “It applies behind the scenes, good or bad; you can apply it anywhere.”
Reasons has posted more than 100 videos online, many involving sketch comedy, parody music videos and updated takes on pop culture and relationships.
His most popular video, titled Why You Asking All Them Questions? features a sing-along version of questions he says women constantly ask their significant others.
“Who you with? Where you been? Girl, don’t worry about it,” he rants in the video.
Reasons also released an eight-song humor inspired album titled The Game Changer this week. The album also features a song about YouTube sensation Jenna Marbles.
Reasons, who draws inspiration from Jamie Foxx, said he does not want to be one-dimensional.
“I definitely want to bounce around and weigh out my options. I never settle for comfort,” Reasons said.
The YouTube star has already worked with the likes of 50 Cent, Russell Simmons and Boca Raton resident Steven Rifkind. The latter became his manager after Rifkind, the music mogul behind Wu-Tang Clan, messaged him on Twitter.
Social media has obviously played a large role into his success.
“It’s pretty much watching myself capitalizing off the situation,” he said.
And with Rifkind, Reasons has the freedom to market himself and grow.
“If you don’t have that flexibility, you’re not putting yourself in a great position to aim high. Just being around those type of people, seeing what they talk about, it’s only going to make me a better person,” Reasons said. “I take advantage of all my time and advice.”
When he did standup comedy for the first time, he won $500. With poetry, he received a standing ovation.
He hopes the trend continues.
“Hopefully there are many more first times to come,” Reasons said.