#FortheCulture: ‘David Makes Man’ Tackles the Complexities of Black Youth

Pictured: Akili McDowell (plays “David”) in David Makes Man. Courtesy of OWN & Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc./ Photographer: David Bornfriend

Inspired by the impoverished upbringing of Creator, Screenplay writer and Academy Award winner (“Moonlight”), Tarell Alvin McCraney, “David Makes Man” is a promising new series joining OWN Networks’ roster of accomplished African American dramas that sheds light on the day in the life of a 14-year-old prodigy from the projects. Bused to a magnet school after being displaced by Hurricane Andrew, the contrasts in David’s life presents the complexities of many struggling black youth in America.

Haunted by the death of a father-like figure and overwhelmed by the responsibilities of helping his hardworking mother find a way out of poverty,“David Makes Man” fills a gaping void in the black narrative in a visually artistic and meaningful way.

In a recent Chicago Screening of “David Makes Man” at the Dusable Museum of African American History, McCraney posed the question:

“When you see these seeds of David everyday (when he wakes up and when he goes to sleep), what do you think he becomes?”

The screening was followed by an intimate conversation with Terrell Alvin McCraney and Alana Arenas (David’s Mother), unpacking the drama’s symbolism and overall vision of the project. Raising awareness to issues head on from code-switching to sexual abuse and mental health through inspired dialogue, Tarell and Alana both vocalized what it meant to give a voice to the voiceless.


Photo Credit: Parrish Lewis

“We’re going to show you the joy and the pain of it in order to track down the healing but we have to go through the wilderness before we get to the promise land and if you’re willing to go with us, we will take you on a pretty amazing ride.”

“David Makes Man” will premiere on OWN Network August 14, 2019 10 P.M. ET/PT.

Created by Tarell Alvin McCraney, the OWN series is led by showrunner Dee Harris-Lawrence and stars Akili McDowell, Alana Arenas and Phylicia Rashad. Michael B. Jordan serves as Executive Producer.

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