When Tarell Alvin McCraney presented the world with his Oscar-winning film “Moonlight” in 2016, he gave viewers a depiction of the Black experience that had yet to be told on screen. With “David Makes Man,” inspired by his own life events, McCraney explores the power of imagination and childhood trauma while once again expounding on the stories of the Black identity that are being told in Hollywood.
After screening the pilot episode in the Variety Streaming Room, McCraney, along with showrunner Dee Harris-Lawrence and cast member Phylicia Rashad, discussed the importance of Black visibility on screen and how the series adds to the stories being told in the industry about the Black experience.
The series centers around David, a 14-year-old prodigy from the projects who is haunted by the death of his closest friend. While attending a magnet school miles away from home, David must also grapple with caring for his little brother and his mother, who is recovering from drug addiction.
In centering around primarily Black characters, Rashad –– who plays David’s teacher Dr. Woods-Trap –– emphasizes how the show portrays each character’s experience with integrity and dignity.
“We’re not expanding what it means to be Black, we’re expanding the visibility of it,” she said. “I think what’s important is that characters be drawn with integrity. Each human being, right or wrong, has this measure of dignity that is honest. Everybody doesn’t have to be a physician or a lawyer, but what people do need to be and what we deserve to see is real human beings.”