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

  • American Son review

    TV News Roundup: Netflix Releases 'American Son' Trailer

    In today’s TV news roundup, Netflix released the trailer for “American Son” starring Kerry Washington and first looks at Dolly Parton’s new anthology series, “Heartstrings.” FIRST LOOKS Netflix has released the trailer for “American Son,” which premieres Nov. 1 on the streaming service. Directed by Tony award-winner Kenny Leon, the film is based on the [...]

  • BBC's Little Mix Talent Show to

    BBC's Little Mix Talent Show to Be Produced by Management Firm's New Shingle, ModestTV

    The BBC has confirmed its Little Mix talent show, which the pop band’s management firm, Modest!, will produce through a new banner, ModestTV. “Little Mix The Search” will be exec produced by Andrea Hamilton, who has partnered with the management outfit to launch the new operation. Her entertainment show credits include “The Voice” and “Strictly [...]

  • Monica Beletsky Apple TV Plus

    Apple Sets Overall Deal With Monica Beletsky

    Monica Beletsky is the latest of a small group of content creators to set an overall deal with Apple and their streaming platform, Apple TV Plus. Under the multi-year deal, Beletsky will develop and produce television series exclusively for the streamer. This is the first overall of Beletsky’s career. Her previous credits include “Fargo,” “Friday [...]

  • Saladin Patterson

    Saladin Patterson Inks Overall Deal at 20th Century Fox Television

    Saladin Patterson has signed an overall deal with 20th Century Fox Television. Under the multi-year deal, Patterson will develop, write and produce comedy series for network, cable and streaming platforms. He was previously under a development deal at the studio earlier in his career. Patterson is currently an executive producer on the upcoming FX series [...]

  • Lenny Abrahamson and 'The Favourite' Producer

    'Room' Director Lenny Abrahamson and 'The Favourite' Producer Ed Guiney Present Their BBC-Hulu Series 'Normal People' (EXCLUSIVE)

    At TV market Mipcom in Cannes this week the team behind BBC-Hulu series “Normal People” – led by Lenny Abrahamson, the Oscar nominated director of “Room” – presented the first footage from the show, and explained how they approached the adaptation of Sally Rooney’s novel. Variety had exclusive access to the presentation. Ed Guiney, one [...]

  • El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie

    ‘El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie’ Scores 6.5 Million Viewers Across First Weekend

    “El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie,” which dropped on Netflix Oct. 11, drew around 6.5 million total viewers in its first three days on the streaming platform, according to Nielsen. The movie also reached just under 8.2 million unique TV viewers. “El Camino” unsurprisingly drew its biggest audience of the three days on day 1, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content