John Legend to Play Frederick Douglass on ‘Underground’

John Legend racism
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John Legend will guest star as Frederick Douglass on the upcoming season of WGN America’s “Underground.”

The singer-songwriter, who also serves as executive producer on the series, will star as the history-making abolitionist in the show’s upcoming second season, which is set to premiere in early 2017. Season 2 is currently being shot in Atlanta.

Speaking with Variety executive editor Debra Birnbaum in June at Variety‘s TV Summit at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills, Calif., Legend he was thinking about guest starring in the upcoming season, but had no immediate plans to do so.

He also talked about why “Underground,” about the Underground Railroad, is relevant today. “We are in a moment now where we have a major candidate for office that is being very racist and divisive,” Legend said. “I feel the need to call that out all the time because I don’t want us to feel like it’s impossible for our nation to go back to another dark place.”

In addition to Legend, creator Misha Green and Joe Pokaski serve as executive producers for “Underground” alongside Anthony Hemingway, Akiva Goldsman of Weed Road Pictures, Tory Tunnell and Joby Harold of Safehouse Pictures, Mike Jackson and Ty Stiklorius of Get Lifted Film Co, and Mark Taylor.