‘All American Homecoming’ Cast Stops by Clark Atlanta to Discuss Highlighting the HBCU Experience Correctly
Photo by Andy Harris
By: Miles Johnson and Auzzy Byrdsell
Hit show on CWTV, “All American: Homecoming,“ (a spin off from the original All American) illustrates HBCU life on camera as one of the few, HBCU-based storylines. Their cast featuring: Peyton Smith, Corey Hardrict, Sylvester Powell, Mitchell Edwards and Kelly Jenrette were all present as they stopped by Clark Atlanta University to spend time with AUC students, answering their questions, and watching the newest episode of season two. The event was held in the Carl & Mary Ware Academic Center right off the promenade.
AUC students packed the auditorium, eager to see and hear from actors and actresses that represented their experiences at HBCUs. Prior to the event, the Maroon Tiger media, spoke exclusively with the cast members on how what meant to tell the HBCU experience.
“I always wanted to go to an HBCU,” Sylvester Powell, who plays “JR” said. “I didn’t end up going but now that I’m able to do it on TV, which is something that I also love, it is a dream come true.
Mitchell Edwards who plays “Cam Watkin,” alluded to the fact that in terms of HBCU storylines on the big screen, we have “Stomp the Yard” and “Drumline.”
“These are iconic, generational films, and we were all touched by it,” Edwards said. “I feel like as an actor that was definitely a dream to be a part of something like this where we can showcase HBCU culture, stepping, marching bands and all that good stuff that we naturally all know about already, but the world doesn’t.”
Discussions with the cast ranged from the excitement of filming and highlighting issues that HBCU students have went through HBCU culture, and the complexities of their characters. They also gave knowledge on carrying themselves off the screen.
“There’s been a lot of pressure to be genuine and get it right,” Powell said. “We want y’all to watch it and be like, ‘yeah I experienced this.’ What makes it easier for us is that we genuinely care.”
“Our love for culture is what drives us a lot of the time, Edwards said. “Our passion to make sure you hear the line that, ‘we aren’t safe anywhere.’ It represents all we all feel.”
The cast spoke on the combined pressure to illustrate HBCU correctly on a big platform and the passion they put in their roles.
“Your art is supposed to imitate real life and our show does a great job of doing that,” Corey Hardrict said. “It’s been great to be a part of a show like this that can represent our community, culture and hopefully change everyone for the better.”
One of the most intimate discussions regarded advice and perspective for the several theater students in the audience.
“I have to allow myself to feel the scene rather than just acting in the scenes,” Peyton Smith who one of the main characters, “Damon” said.
With similar shows like A Different World and Grown-ish, they feel influential in the perception of HBCUs— creating pressure to accurately tell the stories of HBCU students.
Maqui Jackson, who recently got promoted from co-executive producer to co-showrunner talked about the responsibility they have on this show compared to other shows he has worked on.
“There’s a weight and responsibility on this show that I haven’t felt on any other show I’ve ever been on,” Jackson said.
Copy Edited by Miles Johnson