By Elaine Hegwood Bowen, MSJ
Oprah Winfrey Network announced on Easter Sunday that the fifth season of the NAACP Award-winning drama “Greenleaf” will return in June 2020. OWN also released a first-listen clip of the all-original new recording of “Goin Up Yonder,” by Grammy Award-winning gospel artist Tramaine Hawkins.
In Season Five, the Greenleafs attempt to maintain a united front in the face of losing their church to Bob Whitmore and Harmony and Hope Ministries, but secrets past and present create what could be fatal fractures in the family’s fragile foundation. Greenleaf stars Merle Dandridge (“The Night Shift”) as Grace Greenleaf; Keith David (“Community”) as Bishop James Greenleaf; Lynn Whitfield (“The Josephine Baker Story”) as Lady Mae Greenleaf; Kim Hawthorne (“Rake”) as Kerissa Greenleaf; Lamman Rucker (“Meet the Browns”) as Jacob Greenleaf; and Deborah Joy Winans (“Whitney”) as Charity Greenleaf-Satterjee.
Last year, the Crusader was invited on a press trip to Atlanta to visit the set of “Greenleaf,” and I was able to interview a couple of the key female actresses. I spoke with Dandridge, who is a graduate of Roosevelt University. She talked about the family needing to have faith during the transition of them not being in charge of Calvary. “There have been some fractures, and necessity can be the mother of invention,” she said. “Perhaps God put this in the family’s life for just that purpose. They had to deal with each other and work together. When you have faith and you trust, He can take a negative and make it into the most beautiful thing.”
Dandridge got her start on the Chicago theatre scene while attending Roosevelt’s theatre program. She has also done previous television work and had previously been honored with the university’s 2018 Chicago College of Performing Arts Distinguished Artist Award. About that recognition, she said: “There is a precious and sweet satisfaction in hearing ‘job well done’ from the university that first invested in my potential, then backed it up by giving me a tool box full of gifts to ensure my success.”
Look for the exciting continuation of “Greenleaf” this June.
Listen to a bit of Tramaine Hawkins by clicking https://www.instagram.com/p/B-4YGQRpbfy/.