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‘OITNB’ Star Lorraine Toussaint to Guest on ‘Black-ish’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Lorraine Toussaint will guest star on “Black-ish,” playing the sister of Laurence Fishburne’s character, Pops, Variety has learned exclusively.

Her character is named Almaviligerais, though everyone calls her “A.V.” Described as someone who is always on the hustle, pulls no punches and is down for whatever, she is strongly disliked by Ruby (Jenifer Lewis) so Dre (Anthony Anderson) has to conceal his love for her whenever Ruby is around.

For now, Toussaint will appear in one episode of “Black-ish” Season 3. She films next week, and the season returns on Sept. 21.

“We knew we needed an actor formidable enough to go toe-to-toe with both Pops and Ruby. That’s a short list, and Lorraine Toussaint was at the top of it. We’re so thrilled she’s joining us,” executive producer and co-showrunner Jonathan Groff tells Variety.

“It’s exciting and great fun to work with my friends on such a groundbreaking and funny show,” Toussaint says. “I’ve been a fan from day one and was honored to be asked to play this role! I am also thankful to my team at ‘Rosewood’ for helping make it all work.”

Aside from starring on Fox’s “Rosewood,” which returns with its second season this fall, Toussaint is known for recent roles on Netflix’s “Orange Is The New Black” and Freeform’s “The Fosters.” Her guest gig on “Black-ish” brings her back into the ABC fold, as she starred on the short-lived, fan-favorite drama “Forever.”

One of his original goals with “Black-ish,” Barris noted in an interview with Variety, was to create an African-American family that is “not monolithic. We’re multi-layered and come from a lot of different points of view and generations, and we have different things that we lean into. I felt that [the new character] adds to that layering in the most relevant and resonant way.”

Despite the high-profile guest stars (including Daveed Diggs of Broadway’s “Hamilton”) and the show’s multiple Emmy nominations, Barris said that he wants to make sure that in its third season, “Black-ish” doesn’t diverge from its core missions. He said all the attention — which includes Emmy nods for the ABC comedy and for stars Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross — has made him more aware of the expectations surrounding the comedy.

“Honestly it’s made it a little bit harder. I feel like there’s a bar that has been set,” Barris said. “Hopefully we avoided a little bit of the sophomore slump. But new viewers who find the show [this fall] — I don’t want them to be disappointed because it’s not delivering what they expected.”

He has said he was very gratified by the positive responses to the season two episodes about the n-word and police brutality. But he’s very focused on keeping any topical issues that might come up on the show specific and true to this particular family’s experiences.

“I don’t want to become contrived. We’re not trying to become ‘the topic show.’ I don’t want to start looking for topics to talk about,” Barris said. “I just want to continue to try to look at the family and organically deal with their lives. Especially now, because there are so many heavy, heavy things in the world. I don’t want to talk about any of those things unless we have a great way into them — unless we have an imaginative and honest way to dig into those things.”

Toussaint is repped by Innovative and Frontline.

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