Words By: Leah Wilson
WGN America held an exclusive screening for the students of Florida A&M University of its highly anticipated new series Underground on Feb.17, in Lee Hall auditorium. There was a guest appearance from actor Theodus Crane who plays the character of Zeke in the Underground series. “This is not your mama’s black history show,” Crane said.
During the Q&A section of the screening, Crane explained to students the gravity of the plot of the series. “This is a message that needs to be heard by everybody but specifically by young black people,” Crane said.
Underground follows a group of enslaved young men and women who use their ingenuity, power and perseverance to attempt the greatest escape in history and break free. The series was created by Misha Green and Joe Pokaski. The creators describe this project as it being about the revolution, not their occupation. Underground is executive produced by artist John Legend. Legend expressed his excitement to The Source magazine.
“This series has a unique opportunity to speak to the passion and courage of those who risked it all as they raced to freedom,” Legend said.
Jurnee Bell who has starred in award-winning films such as Friday Night Lights and The Great Debaters, plays as Rosalee. Rosalee is described as a shy house slave who has never left plantation that she was born on. However, Rosalee realizes she has a powerful inner strength and courage. Bell told BlackTree TV that she believes this series will teach an interesting lesson as well as entertain.
“I definitely think our show will create a lot of discussion. It shows that we come from revolutionaries, we come from kings and queens,” Bell said. “Young people, we’ve always been on the front lines of change and I think that’s one of the things our show explores.”
Aldis Hodge, known for his role as MC Ren in Straight Outta Compton, plays a lead role as Noah. His character is described as a determined slave who organizes a small team of slaves on the plantation to plan an escape.In an interview with RollingOut Magazine Hodge explains the potency of the series.
“We’ve contributed so much and there’s so much value there that is often lost because a lot of it has been forcibly erased from the history books” said Hodge, “not enough people today are actually seeking it and telling the story properly…we’re showing a side of the story that has never been shown before in this way.”
Underground premieres March 9, 2016 at 10:00 PM ET/PT on WGN America. See Full Length Trailer Below