The Crusader Newspaper Group

Screening of “David Makes Man” held at the DuSable

By Tedarius Abrams

It’s not often that society sees the challenging aspects of life in which some children in urban communities are raised. In this world we’re taught that the keys to life include thriving on independence and creating something out of nothing. It’s only a matter of time before everyone is brought on to an equal playing field.

The Academy Award winning writer of Moonlight, Tarrel Alvin McCraney, brings us a new one-camera drama entitled David Makes Man, loosely based on the writer’s life. The new series brings television viewers into the life of David as he attempts to overcome the struggles of becoming a man while being the sole guardian of his younger brother, though still an adolescent himself. McCraney highlights a cast of young up and coming actors and actresses along with the experience and excellence of actress Phylicia Rashad.

The introduction of the new television series to the public was held at the DuSable Museum of African American History in Chicago, presented to an audience of young and old, and received rave reviews.

McCraney noted that he chose to air the pilot episode at Du-Sable because he would get feedback from his community and actually be able to talk about the content of the series with people like himself. It’s important he says, that people of color who have a voice and credible background come back to their communities and urban areas to uplift those around them, and those they recognize are in a position they might have been in themselves at a certain point in their lives.

In the wrap up Q&A, along with Alana Arenas who plays Gloria in the series, McCraney told the audience, “Every station that we pitched it to said ‘yes’.”

McCraney chose the Oprah Winfrey Network because he felt the biggest impact would be made releasing the series there, and he did not want to be the only Black show on a network, but wanted to be amongst a multitude of Black shows that incorporate various aspects of Black culture and Black stories.

The series is set in South Florida in an impoverished neighborhood where David lives alone with his younger brother. David faces his inner demons that manifest as hallucinations in his mind. All the while, David is a gifted student who must make it across the city every day to be on time for school in an environment that he is not used to. He must develop into a man quickly while trying to figure out exactly what that is, for himself.

David Makes Man tackles social issues in the Black community such as poverty, mental health and sexual abuse. It addresses these issues and brings them to the forefront with authentic cinematic presentation.

Asked about the emotional aspect of the writing, McCraney remarked, “These can bring up a lot of feelings from our past and it will give us the strength to say that was then and this is now, and we can use the resources we have now to get past that.” He also spoke about how, many times he became emotional, explaining scenes to the actors portraying these characters’ lives, stating that he cried along with the series’ star actor, Akili McDowell, while explaining the season’s last scene to him.

The series will air on the Oprah Winfrey Network August 10 at 10 p.m.

McCraney feels as though the new show will do much more good than harm for those people who are facing hardships in their lives, especially the Black community, because many more people will relate to the story.

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