Never shy when it comes to promoting new work from talented African-American artists who grapple with difficult material, Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network released the first clip of David Makes Man this weekend at Sundance. The clip features the soaring, uplifting voice of Laura Mvula singing her track “Sing to the Moon,” while the pastels of the setting are mixed with harrowing images and the lead character of David (Akili McDowell) finally affirming, “I ain’t nothin.'”
The series — from Academy Award winner Tarell Alvin McCraney (Moonlight) and Warner Horizon Scripted Television — centers on a 14-year-old prodigy from the projects who is haunted by the death of his closest friend and relied on by his hardworking mother to find a way out of poverty. He must choose between the streets that raised him or the higher education that may offer him a way out, according to OWN. The story is reportedly partially based on McCraney’s own experiences growing up in South Florida.
“When we looked at the spectrum of life, we wanted to show it as true as it is today, as it was then,” McCraney said during a Friday panel in Park City hosted by Blackhouse Foundation. “There’s a lexicon of things in our [African American community] that need to be seen and talked about.”
“[In this series], we offer a view of humanity,” Phylicia Rashad, who plays teacher and mentor Dr. Woods-Trap, added. “The characters in this show, they’re not all like me…but, I [still] see myself in all of them because that’s what it means to be human.”
McCraney serves as executive producer of the series alongside Michael B. Jordan and Dee Harris-Lawrence (Shots Fired, Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac and the Notorious B.I.G.,) who serves as showrunner. The series is set for a summer 2019 premiere on OWN.