Season 1 All-Access Special | David Makes Man | Oprah Winfrey Network

presents a special preview of the new original drama
series “David Makes Man” from executive producers Michael
B. Jordan and Oprah Winfrey. The show marks the
television writing debut of “Moonlight’s”
Academy-Award-winning screenwriter, Terell
Alvin McCraney. OPRAH WINFREY: I describe
it– it’s like poetry on TV. That’s very kind of you. NARRATOR: The
exceptional ensemble cast is rounded out
by Broadway film and TV icon, Phylicia Rashad. What is your story? NARRATOR: And newcomer,
Akili McDowell. Go! Go! NARRATOR: Critics are already
calling the show captivating, a potent mixture
of gritty clarity, and dreamlike nostalgia
for childhood and the past. Your all-access
behind-the-scenes look at “David Makes Man” starts now. [MUSIC PLAYING] OPRAH WINFREY: This set is
exactly like how you grew up. TARELL ALVIN MCCRANEY:
In approximation, yeah. I mean, literally, if I stand
there, I’m the same distance from the place that I
grew up, the last place I saw my mother alive, the
Things like that start coming into me when I come in here. And did you know everybody? You would know everybody
who lived within this. By the time– yeah,
you knew everybody and too much of everybody. And everybody’s business. You knew everybody and
everybody’s business. Yeah, absolutely. And they knew yours. That was the other thing. You couldn’t escape. They knew when you
were failing at school, and they knew when
you were succeeding. Yeah. DIRECTOR: Oprah and Tarell
interview, common six, take one.
Mark. OPRAH WINFREY: Mark. When did the idea
of “David Makes Man” come into full-blossom
fruition for you? When did you know that you
had the beginning of a series? You know, it’s
interesting, because we– the idea for the show came
about in around 2012 or ’11. I was like, I’m from Miami. I’m from Homestead. And I really want to talk about
how, when I was a kid growing up in that neighborhood,
teachers would tell me, oh, you speak better than the kids
from your neighborhood, so you’re going to get out. And I always thought that
was weird at the time. But then, you know, you
sort of play into it. You sort of start performing
for them, so much so that you come home and go– and
tell your neighbors, oh, you don’t speak right. My teacher told me you’re
supposed to speak this way. So that double consciousness
was always on my mind. My other friends who
went to gifted class or went to a magnet school– and they said the same thing. There would always be this
moment where a teacher would tell them that
they were special, not like the other kids.
And then you would start to perform for them. It’s only natural that you
would try to perform for them or start to perform to
them, because that’s where you saw your validation.
TARELL ALVIN MCCRANEY: Yeah. OPRAH WINFREY: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, not only validation
but a way towards something called success.
– Yeah, yeah. Absolutely.
TARELL ALVIN MCCRANEY: Right? And sometimes that’s good
and can cause more success. But also, it leaves
you in a place where you feel absolutely alone. Yeah. TARELL ALVIN MCCRANEY:
How special can I be if I have a whole community
that I can’t be with, and help, and engage with? So those questions
keep plaguing me. And I have no answers for them. But I wanted to investigate. And so “David Makes Man”
is a part of the answer of that investigation. TARELL ALVIN MCCRANEY: Yeah. I’m trying to go home. Oh, yeah, just home? Sky, you know what
I meant– temporary. Watch your words about
the vill, young sir. This line, it ain’t
here to protect you. It’s to protect them
from these projects. OPRAH WINFREY: So I describe
it– it’s like poetry on TV. TARELL ALVIN MCCRANEY: Oh.
That’s very kind of you. OPRAH WINFREY: And how
do you describe it? TARELL ALVIN MCCRANEY:
I describe it as lifting the larger questions,
the larger theories around how we become who we are– I come from dirt. TARELL ALVIN MCCRANEY:
–and investigations with our community and with
our peers about who we are and how we got there. I come from water. [MUSIC PLAYING] I come from laughter. OPRAH WINFREY: One of the things
we see through this series is that David, in the
process of making man, is not always who he’s
presenting himself to be. He’s very adept
at wearing masks. It’s so important at home,
in the vill, at school. Why is he so adept at
that shape shifting? TARELL ALVIN MCCRANEY:
We all have consciousness that we are in front of folks. And you learn it pretty swiftly,
especially as black people. As black people, we learn a
consciousness in this country swiftly, you know, how
we’re to act outside in front of “white
people,” quote unquote, or in larger society,
or in the community, or with teachers, or at church. And some of us get so adept at
it that we forget at our core what we want or what
we’re performing for. And sometimes– OPRAH WINFREY: You forget
that you’re even performing. TARELL ALVIN MCCRANEY:
I was about to say, sometimes we can’t turn it off. OPRAH WINFREY: Yeah. And I think, from the
challenges I’ve come from, I have to work harder to be
excellent, to be there 24/7. It’s in me. It’s who I am. I do understand. OPRAH WINFREY: So you’re
exploring some really rich themes with this series. Does it make you excited? Does it make you
scared, anxious? Um, I’m always terrified. I live in a state of, you know,
a constant fight or flight. – Of terrification.
– Terrification. [LAUGHTER] Did you make that up?
– I just it up. That’s a good one. I live in a constant
state of terrification. [LAUGHTER] It’s going to be great. Thank you.
– Thank you. – Thank you, Tarell.
– Thank you. Thank you. All right, terrification–
just made it up. [LAUGHTER] [MUSIC PLAYING] Yes, I’m Phylicia Rashad. And I play Dr. Woods-Trap. How many did the assignment? Dr. Woods-Trap is a teacher
in the gifted program. She’s a very
creative teacher and very invested in her students,
particularly taken with David. I need to understand what
is going on with you. You’re up in people’s
face one minute, sleeping in the back
of my room the next. It’s a story of
community and family. GIRL: Come on, JG, let’s jump. PHYLICIA RASHAD: Also,
you know, there’s a lot of joy in this story. [LAUGHTER] There’s laughter. There’s beauty. (SINGING) Wash
all my sins away. PHYLICIA RASHAD: There’s love. There’s so much love. I think it’s important to
see, because today there is so much in what we see in
media that suggests that we are so different from one
another, whether it’s because of ethnicity, or gender, or
sexual orientation, or faith, when the truth of
the matter is is that we’re much more alike than
we could ever be different. You don’t have to
settle for what everybody may think you’re going to be. You can work to be better. And you can be better. OPRAH WINFREY: Yeah. [MUSIC PLAYING] My name is Isaiah Johnson. I play Sky on “David Makes Man.” Sky is kind of like the father
figure of this neighborhood that we’ve become introduced to. And he kind of serves
as a mentor to David. Hey, there is nothing down
there, nothing at all. People need to see
your eyes, David. My hope is that
this show will be a vehicle for young
African-American men to look at themselves
differently and for the world to look at us differently. My name is Jordan Bolger. I’m from Coventry
City in the UK. And in “David Makes
Man,” I play Shinobi from Homestead Village, Miami. I’ve always seen Shinobi as
kind of like the lieutenant of the corner boys
and the boys that run this behind the scenes. You’re going to let Jay run
up in the house that I built? And he’s always striving to
improve himself and learn. This grown folk business. You’re just a kid! But I just think he hasn’t
got the foundation sometimes to handle the information he’s
trying to put into his brain. We make this money. Get out of my face! He’s a wild lieutenant. I think that’s the best
way to describe him. My name is Cayden. And I play JG on
“David Makes Man.” My character’s
relationship with David– they are brothers. So they get on each
other’s nerves a lot. They jab each other. They have those moments. But they just have a
bond that’s unbelievably. David’s smart at hell. He gifted. He aight. See if I’m aight next
time you need me to bus sit your ass to your granddaddy’s. [MUSIC PLAYING] You lying? No, ma’am. GLORIA: You’re lying to me. I don’t lie to you, ma’am. Mm. You just don’t
tell me everything. OPRAH WINFREY: So you’re the
David in “David Makes Man.” And you were just 15 years
old when you got this role. Can you tell me
what that felt like? It was unbelievable,
like just feeling, the rush that I got this
role after knowing how hard I was working for it. It was just like– I was just grateful. OPRAH WINFREY: What
does it mean to you now to be able to portray
this young man and bring his life
forward on the screen? What does that mean to you? AKILI MCDOWELL: I’m just
extremely grateful that I do get the opportunity
to play this character– that some kids really
do live this life. And they don’t have
the chance to speak out and say some of the
things that happened to them. And I get the chance to do it. And I’m just hoping I do
its character justice. You’re mad at me,
because I’m trying to make it a different way
than what you say, huh? Really, Doc? That’s you? That’s how you’re
going to do me. All right now, David. I’m trying to live. And you’re worried
about me being shamed? OPRAH WINFREY: What is it you
feel mostly for the character. I feel sorry for David. But I don’t feel pity for
him, because he’s working hard to get to a better place. He doesn’t let what
happened to him in the past affect his future. OPRAH WINFREY: So when you’re
thinking about how you’re going to present this to the world, do
you have a feeling or a desire for how it’s received? I just hope that people
truly understand how hard it is growing up in this harsh
environment where people can be extremely judgmental about where
you’re from or how your parents are– and just really
understand people out in the world like this. Mary J. Maze home for
folks who sometimes get caught nothing or
treated like a nobody. And I come from those people. I’m not nothing. OPRAH WINFREY: I think, for me,
it feels like the whole series is about saying that kids who
grow up like this, kids who have this kind of trauma and all
of this chaos in their lives, it’s like saying– You can be something, yes.
OPRAH WINFREY: Yeah. You don’t have to
settle for what everybody may think you’re going to be. You can work to be better. And you can be better. OPRAH WINFREY: Yeah. Well, that is one of
the most beautiful things I’ve ever heard. [MUSIC PLAYING] Hi, my name is
Ade Chicke Torbert. And I play Raynan on
“David Makes Man.” He’s a charismatic,
magnetic leader. And he happens to be a dope
dealer who has a relationship with David that’s often
conflicted because of his jealousy towards David. Don’t say I didn’t try
to make things right. The beautiful thing
about television and film is it gives us an
opportunity to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. So I’m hoping that
people can see themselves in every scenario. Despite your gender, your race,
or your religious beliefs, this show is about
people, about humans. [LAUGHTER] Hi, my name’s
Nathaniel McIntyre. And I pay Seren on
“David Makes Man.” Seren is a smart teenage boy. Oh, you a clown, bro. He’s sensitive. And he’s somewhat
of an introvert. You know, he keeps to
himself most of the time, with the exception of David,
who is his best friend. For Seren, David is,
like, a safe haven. You know, he feels most
confident around David. Hi, my name is Teshi Thomas. And I play Tare on
“David Makes Man.” David and Tare have known each
other for such a long time. So the connection that they
both have is such a sweet thing. You gonna try it? [LAUGHTER] [MUSIC PLAYING] DIRECTOR: Oprah and Travis
interview, common six. Take one.
Mark. Oprah and Travis interview. OK, Travis, would you say
that getting to play this role is a part of living
your best life? [LAUGHTER] Absolutely. I would absolutely play say
that it is living my best life. Living your best life. I mean, Miss Elijah is
just so vivid, and so lively, and just living her
best life herself. And what is going on
with that bottom half? My mom said that’s the style. Child, bless Gloria. You know that girl
tried to get me to wear an Armani suit at the Met Gala. No, ma’am. Come on. This is my best life. [LAUGHTER] It really is. Thank you. Every time I see you on
camera doing that role, I just think, wow, that’s got
to be like coming into, getting paid for, being able to express
in a way that, you know, the world gets to
see and receive. That’s got to feel pretty good. TRAVIS COLES: It
feels pretty good. And also, you know,
on a personal level, I have been able to
open myself up in a way because of Miss Elijah. Miss Elijah has helped you. TRAVIS COLES: She really has. I was going to do an event. And I remember thinking, I
shouldn’t put an eyelash on. Because what would
that make me look like? And I just remember
thinking, no, I’m going to wear this eyelash. And I wore the trans flag pin. And I remember looking
at in Getty Images. And I was just looking
at myself thinking, I don’t think I would
have done that had it not been for this show
and this character. OPRAH WINFREY: Wow. I’m really
growing into myself. Well, that is one of
the most beautiful things I’ve ever heard. Usually, it’s the other
way around, where the actor is evolving the character. But you’re allowing the
character to help evolve you. So it’s literally the two
of you in cohesion, right? Cohesion with each other. I think it’s beautiful. OPRAH WINFREY: I
think it’s beautiful. Bienvenidos a mi Casa de Cruz! So one of the things
we pride ourselves at OWN is that viewers get to see
themselves in our shows. How do you think viewers will
see themselves in Miss Elijah? I think Miss Elijah has
reached this beacon that we’re all trying to reach,
which is, can I love myself wholeheartedly
without having to change for others? OPRAH WINFREY: Yeah. Miss Elijah is a
gender nonconforming person of color in America. And Miss Elijah has allowed
herself to not only be and love herself authentically,
but she also is trying to help
other people realize that within themselves, which
is the most important part. And I think people
will relate to that. OPRAH WINFREY: Yeah. You can’t save them all day. I know. Oprah, you’re
going to make me cry. [LAUGHTER] [MUSIC PLAYING] OPRAH WINFREY: So
“David Makes Man” is really centered
around a young boy, but it’s about so much more. How would you say audiences
are going to see themselves in the characters of this show? DEE HARRIS-LAWRENCE: You know,
I think how we show everybody in their everyday
lives and how they go from work to
school, back again, how they deal with
their families. Well, hey! Hey, Momma. Hey, baby Jay. Even from the corner boys
to the drug dealers here, how they figured out a
whole family dynamic– and then at the school
with Seren and David and how they’ve
kind of like formed this friendship that’s
actually their safe zone, you know, as a family. Who is the show for? It’s so funny, because
we always say this show is unapologetically black. OPRAH WINFREY: Yeah.
– So– [LAUGHTER] If you want to get on with
that, that it’s like– it’s for those people. And it’s a celebration of
black pride, blackness. So I think it’s for everybody. He is like my only friend. [MUSIC PLAYING] OPRAH WINFREY: Well, you know,
Gloria represents so many single mothers around the
world trying to create a better life for their children. What is it about her that
you believe audiences will be able to relate to? And before you even answer
that question, you know, I saw a lot of the auditions. And that single mother
carrying the children could easily be a caricature. But you nailed it in
such a personal . way. If it was up to me, we
wouldn’t even be here. It’s not good for any of us. OPRAH WINFREY: There was
something about it that felt so intimate, and real,
and like every other mother we’ve seen but also
something different. Well, thank you. OPRAH WINFREY:
That’s what you did. I’m going to keep
working these extra shifts at the Truck Stop Spot. And then we gone! Maybe we move closer
to that high school you keep talking
about [INAUDIBLE] Anytime I get a script
now that the person is a mother, or a
parent, or, you know, whatever, I have a different
perspective than before I had children, right? Because it’s an idea. So I could understand
that this is a woman who is
desperately trying in some challenging circumstances. And you want your children
to go further than you. You want them to do
better than you did. And specifically,
given her past, I know she
desperately wants them to have a different
experience than she did. Well, you’re bringing that. It’s interesting, because this
series covers what it means to live in a challenged
environment, to be poor and to never have enough, to be
a single mom even before there was a MeToo thought. One of the scenes that so moved
me is when you’re at work, and your boss
propositions you, and you have to stand your ground
not knowing that, you know, you could lose your job. You know, there’s
very few places that would have taken you on
knowing your former habits. And I thanked you
for the opportunity. Yeah? Yes, I have. OPRAH WINFREY: Does it feel
like the fulfillment of a dream that you’ve held in your
heart for a long time to be able to consistently
create this message? It feels like a prayer. The whole thing is
like this prayer. Oprah, you’re
going to make me cry. [LAUGHTER] You know, I– I’ve done theater for 15 years. And I– I’ve felt very
fortunate and very blessed. But when you have kids,
honestly you start thinking about your finances. And it’s not always economical
to be a theater artist. Yeah. DEE HARRIS-LAWRENCE: But I– when I woke up today, I
was like, wow, look at God. You know, I was
praying and not knowing what my future would be like. And today I’m going to sit down
and talk with Oprah Winfrey. So it’s been an amazing journey. And I’m exceedingly
thankful for it all. That’s it.
DEE HARRIS-LAWRENCE: Thank you. OPRAH WINFREY: That was great.
– Thank you. OPRAH WINFREY: That was great.

26 thoughts on “Season 1 All-Access Special | David Makes Man | Oprah Winfrey Network

  1. I really love this video, single mother is an amazing journey but if you love your self first you will overcome .


  3. Not surprised that Oprah backs another project about black male negativity: Thuggishness, cursing, homosexuality, probable molestation from a black father to his son, etc. etc. etc.

  4. A Brilliant Series. I just finished watching the first two episodes and I am already anxious to see the third episode. MY NEW FAVORITE SERIES.

  5. Riveting poetically speaking
    Poetry That Inspires
    I had that experience of
    "performing" for teachers who saw something in me. By the grace of God it propelled me through grade school and college at times when I was failing and felt lowly and out of place. It's surreal hearing someone put it in words.

  6. I Really LOVED seeing the REAL People behind these Beautifully; Flawed; Charismatic; Evolving Characters……Amazing!😘❀

  7. The ratings are tanking with under 300 thousands. You heard that right. BYE BYE, H0m0sexual propaganidsts. USING blacks didnt help.

  8. Homestead is depressing asf, visited there twice and it was constant police sirens all day, I was on edge constantly and I’m from NY.

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