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‘Underground’: Aisha Hinds On Playing Harriet Tubman; Show’s Parallels To Current Political Climate — TCA

Deadline logo Deadline 1/13/2017 Amanda N'Duka
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WGN’s breakthrough series Underground ended its first season with the introduction of abolitionist Harriet Tubman, played by Aisha Hinds. The actress admitted to being intimidated about playing such an iconic figure.

“Initially I was very stalled in approaching this work because she is this icon and I was stalled in this place of reverence that in and of itself caused me to break down during the first camera test.” Hinds called the role a “tremendous call to duty,” adding, “something inside of me broke wide open to receive everything this experience would afford me. I think that Harriet Tubman’s spirit is one that I was immediately open to welcoming to guide me to this journey.”

Season two will follow the struggle for freedom within a divided America on the brink of civil war, each side vying to enact their own justice. Set in the aftermath of the Macon 7’s daring attempt at escape, this group of American heroes continues on the harrowing journey to freedom, with legendary abolitionist Tubman blazing the trail.

Said creator/writer/ EP Joe Pokaski: “Of course the sad truth is that it’s almost like we’re having the same problem that never went away,” commenting on the current political environment.

“The story is as old as time but it is contemporary,” added EP Anthony Hemingway. “These revolutionaries left us with a blueprint to move forward and to find our own acts of activism” and “to find that healing mechanism.”

Per creator/writer/ EP Misha Green: “This country was built on racism and sexism. Our soon to be President is again going to be racist and sexist so I think that this is all very much in line with where we were going in this season, and what is going on, and the story that we felt was important to tell and keep telling.” She said the show serves as a reminder “that the majority of America are the people in the underground… they are heroes fighting for justice.”

During the panel it was announced that next season will feature “In America,” an original song by John Legend, who said it was not only “inspired by the series” but also “inspired by American history as well.” Legend continued that the song understands “the irony of being the land of the free and home of the brave while also being a nation divided by slavery, racism and all the other issues we’ve dealt with. This song is addressing that duality of where our ideals are and how we fail to live up to it.”

Underground returns March 8 on WGN America.

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