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ESSENCE: BET’s hit dramedy The Game returns for its 6th season tonight. Aside from the departure of the show’s beloved couple, Melanie and Derwin (played by Tia Mowry-Hardrict and Pooch Hall), it’s the usual suspects and their drama, especially football player and resident bad boy Malik Wright, played by actor Hosea Chanchez who promises we’ll see a different man on our screens this season.

ESSENCE.com spoke with Chanchez about Malik’s growth, Mowry-Hardrict and Hall’s sudden departure from the show last year, and whether or not the shares any traits with his on-screen character.

ESSENCE.com: What is Malik up to this season?

HOSEA CHANCHEZ: This is the results season for Malik and it leads to a nice rebirth for him. He gets to hash out his dream again but you’ll also see a lot of consequences for the choices he’s made in the past, which shows that you can’t get away with much in life.

ESSENCE: Now that Derwin (Pooch Hall) and Melanie (Tia Mowry-Hardrict) are gone, is Malik going to be the lead?

CHANCHEZ: Malik is the Jack among the Kings in a way and it does feel like a little more responsibility. Oddly enough, we never really had any leads on the show. We all pretty much shared the workload. Melanie and Derwin were the identifiable characters on the show, but we’ve always been an ensemble.

ESSENCE: Their relationship seemed to be examined more than Malik’s relationships.

CHANCHEZ: Well, Malik’s counterpart is really Tasha Mack (played by Wendy Raquel Robinson). You can only be in a scene with your mom for so long before it gets old, being the 25-year-old guy.

ESSENCE: Do Malik and Hosea share any similar traits?

CHANCHEZ: I do everything from an honest place. I’m at an age in my life where I’m really unapologetic for the man that I am and the man that I want to be and I think Malik shares that same similarity. I appreciate that about him because it’s something that you really have to grow to become. The biggest thing I have in common with Malik is his love for his mom. Tasha Mack is his road dog. My mom and I grew up together. She was young when she had me so she was just trying to have her own career and her own life. Unlike Malik, I had my grandparents to help raise me, but I know what it’s like to be a young guy with a young mom who’s just trying to figure out her own life and raise a boy. Read full interview more

Hosea Chanchez On ‘The Game’, Life Without Melanie & Derwin, And Thoughts On Marriage  was originally published on www.essence.com