‘David Makes Man’: Tarell Alvin McCraney Examines the Struggles of the Soul

IndieWire | 8/14/2019 | Staff
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OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network’s anticipated new drama series “David Makes Man,” from Academy Award winner Tarell Alvin McCraney, premieres this week; the hourlong drama centers on a 14-year-old prodigy from the projects who is haunted by the death of his closest friend and relied on by his hardworking mother to find a way out of poverty. He must choose between the streets that raised him or the higher education that may offer him a way out – and it is the crucial depiction of that interior struggle that gives the series its soul.

“It’s rare that the interiority of black men is depicted on screen,” McCraney said. And in his series, the title character’s interior life is so generously examined, and sumptuously illustrated in rich, symbolistic terms, bringing to life the dreams and disappointments of young black men from poor and working class backgrounds who live in a constant state of uncertainty and anxiety. “A black man enters any space and that’s all that people see, bringing with them their own biases and prejudices,” he said. “But we are walking complexities just like everybody else, and deserve to see those complexities shown in all their diversity.”

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Inspired by the writer’s impoverished youth in Florida, McCraney speaks about navigating a career that has unfolded on a singular trajectory: He’s an openly gay black man from working-class Liberty City, who has been alternately described as a “genius” and “prodigy,” excelling in what have historically been mostly white, heterosexual spaces. His resume includes an International Playwright in Residence at the Royal Shakespeare Company in England, Chair of Playwriting at the Yale School of Drama, member of the Steppenwolf Theatre Ensemble, a MacArthur Genius Fellowship, and most recently, an...
(Excerpt) Read more at: IndieWire
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