J. Alphonse Nicholson is gaining momentum in the limelight thanks to his breakout role as “Lil Murda” on Starz hit series “P-Valley.”
Now, he is taking advantage of his growing popularity by shining a light on the growing sector of cannabis through the launch of his own cannabis strain in partnership with Black-owned Ball Family Farms.
Landing A Brand Ambassador Role
Cannabis has transformed Nicholson’s day to day and only advanced his acting career. Despite the actor’s confidence on screen, anxiety has been a crippling factor Nicholson has dealt with early on.
During his adult years, Nicholson became an avid user of cannabis because the plant helped to remediate his anxiety. Now, he has a newfound appreciation for the use of cannabis, which led to the opportunity to become a brand ambassador for Ball Family Farms in 2020.
“I wanted to get behind someone that not only I believed in their craft on the celebrity side or on the acting side or in that pop culture side, but also wanted to get behind someone who actually is a cannabis advocate,” Chris Ball, CEO of Ball Family Farms, told AfroTech.
He added: “That’s why we chose J. Alphonse. We are beyond proud of what he’s done, what he’s accomplished, and what he’s gonna do.”
Two Years Later, Alphonse Releases His First Cannabis Strain
Now, after two years of sporting the title under the Black-owned cannabis company, Nicholson has returned with his own strain.
As AfroTech reported, Ball and Alphonse joined forces to release “The Phonzie” strain, which introduced consumers to the positive effects of cannabis use by invoking feelings of calmness and relaxation through the terpene-rich cannabis.
“Shout out to cannabis, being my medicine, my vice, such a beautiful plant that helps calm my anxiety and allows me to be relaxed, precise, and fierce. Coming up through college, obviously, in high school, it was one of those things where everybody, we smoking, we getting high, but by the time I got to the say, the age of 22, 23, is when I really realized it was a coping mechanism for me and a medicine to help soothe my anxiety,” Alphonse told AfroTech.
He continued: “Fast forward to ‘P-Valley’ — it’s a huge shoe to fill with this character Lil Murda. It’s a very complex character. I knew that I was gonna need something to help me stay relaxed, [and] keep my anxiety calm. I met Chris Ball right at the top of that, right at the height of the show coming out in 2020. We became really good friends. I eventually became the brand ambassador for Ball Family Farms, and I expressed to him that I wanted to be in the cannabis industry as well and help create a strain that made people feel exactly the way I felt when I smoked Ball Family Farms products.”
Took 18 Months To Find The Perfect Phenotype
For 18 months, Alphonse searched for the best phenotype of a strain for mass production. He visited the Ball Family Farms facility first and filtered through countless flowers. The actor then had an idea of what he was hoping to contribute to the cannabis space.
More Strains On The Way
Outside of creating his ideal flower, Alphonse has been steadfast in soaking up as much knowledge as possible while working closely with Ball. It will surely come in handy as the pair plan to keep the momentum going for more collaborations in the future.
“This is my first strain. Won’t be my last, but now I’m learning what it takes to actually put it together. The finances, it’s a lot that goes into making sure you can provide a quality plant, a quality medicine for the people, for the community. And we’re doing it for our people. That’s what I love about Chris,” Alphonse said to AfroTech.
Breaking Stigmas Surrounding Cannabis Use
Alphonse and Balls’ partnership is a win for the cannabis space, especially within the Black community, and they aren’t taking their efforts lightly. They understand that there is a greater purpose ahead as there are still many existing stereotypes surrounding cannabis use.
“I think we’re doing an amazing job already of letting people know that cannabis is for everyone. It can be used for many different purposes. If it’s not for you, that’s okay as well,” Alphonse said.
Chris Ball added: “Black people, we carried cannabis on our backs for 50 years. Our families have suffered for it. I’ve suffered for it. I was indicted and federally incarcerated for it. So, now that it’s legal, I want to present a lifestyle to people of color.”
The Full Interview
For the full interview, check out Blavity TV.