×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Listen: Tarell Alvin McCraney on the Importance of ‘David Makes Man’ Narrative

When Tarell Alvin McCraney first brought the idea of “David Makes Man” to the Oprah Winfrey Network, OWN wasn’t looking for stories with the narrative of a 14-year-old genius, shaken by the death of his friend, and must decide to either pursue higher education or the streets to bring his family out of poverty. Though, with the addition of other dramas like “Queen Sugar” and “GreenLeaf” to the network’s slate, “David Makes Man” fits in perfectly with its Wednesday night lineup while maintaining a story that sets it apart from the rest.

“With the opening up of narrative and fiction, and drama on the network, we get a chance to be apart of a deeper conversation about community, about healing, about issues that are very specific to community and it doesn’t stop anyone else from watching it but it does allow us to be next to. We want you to be able to see the life of that wonderful family and the life of this wonderful family and that they’re completely different. Yet, they share the same skin tone and color and those are different experiences and are under the umbrella of this network,” the Academy Award winner told Variety‘s “TV Take” podcast.

Based in part by McCraney’s personal “latch-key kid” upbringing, the show depicts some of the realities that young black children in David’s position would learn, not only as conversational skills, but sometimes as a means of survival in outside situations. Unlike “Moonlight,” code-switching is a major theme in the series as David navigates his way through his magnet school and his neighborhood.

“The border that David goes to school, he walks a borderline from Homestead village to the Redlands, which is a white southern farming neighborhood that has built this border so that they keep the project folks away from the white folks. That level of proximity is completely different.” McCraney said. “The lessons in that, the thinking in that, the code-switching, the double consciousness that one engages is important to me and happens to young folks in David’s situation.”

More TV

  • _DSF7736.RAF

    How 'The Expanse' 'Died and Went to Heaven' at Amazon

    In the content space race currently being fought out in the entertainment industry, shows getting picked up by one platform after being dumped by another is becoming a more frequent phenomenon. Some moves feel more like a marriage of convenience, while others feel like a more obvious fit. Take “The Expanse” moving to Amazon Prime [...]

  • Lulu Wang Nicole Kidman

    Lulu Wang Boards Nicole Kidman Amazon Series 'The Expatriates'

    “The Farewell” writer and director Lulu Wang is teaming up with Nicole Kidman for the drama series “The Expatriates” at Amazon. The show had received a straight-to-series order at the streamer back in July. Wang is joining the series as a writer and executive producer and will also direct multiple episodes. Wang and Kidman had [...]

  • WGA West Logo

    Former 'Letterman' Head Writer Merrill Markoe to Receive Writers Guild Honor

    Merrill Markoe, longtime head writer at “Late Night With David Letterman,” will receive the Writers Guild of America West’s Paddy Chayefsky Laurel Award for Television Writing Achievement. She will be honored at the Writers Guild Awards on Feb. 1 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. “Merrill Markoe’s pioneering work created what was then a new language [...]

  • TV News Roundup: Natalie Martinez Joins

    TV News Roundup: Natalie Martinez Joins CBS All Access' 'The Stand' (EXCLUSIVE)

    In today’s TV news roundup, Natalie Martinez will guest star in CBS All Access’ “The Stand,” and USA announces the third season premiere date of “The Sinner.”  CASTING Natalie Martinez (“The I-Land”) will guest star in CBS All Access‘ adaptation of “The Stand,“ based on Stephen King’s novel of the same name, Variety has exclusively learned. [...]

  • Deadliest Catch - Crab Fishing In

    Discovery Networks Corners Composers in Music Royalties Battle

    Shows on the Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, HGTV and Food Network may sound very different in the coming months. That’s because Discovery Networks, which owns those and other cable channels, is instituting a new pay policy that virtually assures no composer currently working on their programs will do so after Dec. 31. Discovery has informed [...]

  • Will Poulter attends a special screening

    'Lord of the Rings': Will Poulter No Longer Attached to Amazon Series (EXCLUSIVE)

    Will Poulter will not be appearing in Amazon’s upcoming “Lord of the Rings” series after all, Variety has learned exclusively. According to an individual with knowledge of the situation, scheduling conflicts will prevent the “Bandersnatch” and “Midsommar” actor from joining the show based on the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. Variety had exclusively reported on Poulter’s [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content