[BLANK_AUDIO] You're watching ESSENCELIVE, I'm your host Makho Ndlovu, and that was a clip from the hit show 'Underground', where Aisha Hinds plays Harriet Tubman. Now we have in Aisha in the studio with us. Welcome to ESSENCELIVE, Aisha! So much. I'm so honored to be here. It's truly a pleasure and honor to have you here. Now before we even get started we have to clear this rumor cuz our hearts are just racing. [LAUGH] There's rumors that Underground is not gonna be on WGM. That potentially there might be something else happening. I wish that I knew what I do Don't know that the underground is a very powerful narrative and I know that we have audiences who want to hear more and I know that there is so much more to talk about. You know there so much more history to solve into. And so by no means is this story complete. And so if WGN is not the home, I'm sure we'll find a home. My gosh, listen, cuz it just cannot end like that. No, I understand. This cannot be the end. We have to keep going. It's true, it's true, it's true. And thankfully, you know we have a vibrant, following that, either stay with us, or follow us where we go. Absolutely, and you play such an amazing roles, that mention playing Harriet Tubman, and the way the you just transform into her. Slavery is such a powerful heavy thing, how do you take care of yourself mentally, on and off of the set? The beautiful thing about Underground is that it dealt with this narrative from the perspective of not the occupation, but the revolution and so it celebrated the heroes within this theme that we've been talking about. There were several people always talking about they didn't want to tune in for yet another slave night Narrative. That's exactly right. We don't really have the luxury to say that we don't want to tune in for another slave narrative when we live in a country that's built on the foundations of slavery. It's important to have a context for it, so that we understand where we're living now and why we are living that way. And so, there wasn't A huge amount of self care that I had to do for this. I have to honestly be open, avail myself for this story, avail myself for this narrative, avail myself for the power spirit of Harriet Tubman and truly allow her story to be told through me and she is One of our heroes and so I was ecstatic to give voice to a heroe. And boy did you ever [UNKNOWN] episode, that's a whole nervous segment on its own. But you said you are in another show called Shots Fired, were you shooting both at the same time? I wasn't, it actually lined up divinely. I shot Shots Fired in the early months of summer last year and then quickly followed behind shooting underground from like Maybe August until the early days of December. It worked out in such a beautiful way, because I felt like Pastor [INAUDIBLE] was a role that invited me to sort of dig into the depths of my spirituality and sort of put it on display by playing this pastor and this community activist and Assuming responsiblity for a world outside of ones self and so it was a natural progression to move into someone as major and big and beautiful as and selfless as Harriet Tubman. And so I always you know am grateful to Gina and Reggie for giving me this This is sort of master class to prepare me unknowingly for what was to come. So let's talk about Pastor genie. Yes. Was it based on anyone in real life. Do you know of anyone who is like Pastor Genie. I don't. You know the funny think about it is that I didn't have a reference for her. You know and then initially loaded for a man because I think probably. There are more people in the world that they can look at, who are men, that probably are more of a composite for her. And so, for me, I researched pastors that I knew, pastors that I grew up with, sisters that I knew that I was involved in, youth ministry here in New York with, and just brought all of their voices together, the women of the black lives movement, just brought all of their perspectives, their voices Their desires to sort of help community put them all sort of together, and created the voice of Pastor Janae. [BLANK_AUDIO]
After weeks of waiting, Tribune Media Company announced on Tuesday that Underground is officially canceled.
The beloved television drama in its second season showed the journey of revolutionary slaves in the 19th century strategizing to escape to freedom through the Underground Railroad.
Starring Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Aldis Hodge, Amirah Vann as Ernestine, Alano Miller, Misha Hinds and John Legend the show was the No.1 most discussed cable drama on social media each night it aired.
“As WGN America evolves and broadens the scope and scale of its portfolio of series, we recently announced that resources will be reallocated to a new strategy to increase our relevance within the rapidly changing television landscape,” Peter Kern, president and CEO, Tribune Media Company said in a statement.
“This move is designed to deliver additional value for our advertising and distribution partners and offer viewers more original content across our air. Despite ‘Underground’ being a terrific and important series, it no longer fits with our new direction and we have reached the difficult decision not to renew it for a third season. We are tremendously proud of this landmark series that captured the zeitgeist and made an impact on television in a way never before seen on the medium.”
Earlier this month, we reported on WGN America being acquired by the Sinclair Group in a $3.9 billion deal. Reports claimed that the new owners wanted to transition to more conservative programming, even considering hiring Fox News talent for news programming.
While the show’s creators Misha Green and Joe Pokaski are out of a deal with this network, we can only hope they’re able to make a deal with another to keep Underground‘s goodness going.