Sunday, September 19, 2021

Aisha Hinds Delivers Powerful One-woman Performance in Landmark ‘Underground’ Episode [EUR Exclusive]

*Tonight’s special episode of WGN’s “Underground” will be devoted entirely to the amazing Aisha Hinds in a one-woman performance as Harriet Tubman.

The landmark episode is entitled “Minty,” and it will put the spotlight on one member of the cast: Hinds. In her powerful portrayal of Harriet Tubman, she will deliver a monumental and definitive speech about the activist’s life and the necessary fight for freedom.

EUR/Electronic Urban Report chatted with Hinds earlier this year about her empowering take on Tubman, and we were invited to speak with her once more during a recent media teleconference ahead of this week’s episode.

“They have given me a script that is so pitch perfect. All I had to do was show up and honesty say these words because the story is just that palpable. I think Harriet Tubman certainly made her presence known… and her spirit sort of consumed me, (and) I allowed it. I leaned in on it because it was required to take on this kind of a task,” she said.

OTHER NEWS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED: ‘Underground’ Star Aisha Hinds: Playing Harriet Tubman ‘Elevated Me As A Human Being’ [EUR Exclusive]

Aisha Hinds portrays Harriet Tubman on Season 2 of WGNs 'Underground'
Aisha Hinds portrays Harriet Tubman on Season 2 of WGNs ‘Underground’

During the Television Critics Winter Press Tour back in January, series co-creator Joe Pokaski told EUR that Harriet “seems to have a grasp” on the fact that “money equals lives.”

“And she started speaking knowing that she could raise money and that could mean more lives,” he said.

Hinds also revealed to EUR that during her camera test for the series, “I fell a part.”

“I fell a part because I was in that posture of reverence and feeling like, I can not do this. I have no business being here. Anthony Hemingway was there running the test. He just gave me his hands and he embraced me, and Jurnee was sitting off and she hugged me and Mischa came and she hugged…every one offered words of encouragement and welcome, which was so necessary in this process.”

Hinds also noted that joining the “Underground” cast has been “a collective, supportive venture, which is akin to the story of the show — that when we’re in pursuit of this thing, it takes unity.”

Series co-creator Misha Green says tonight’s “Minty” episode came about even before she started writing season two. The inspiration came during her research with Joe, during which they became “obsessed” with doing “long takes of things.”

The “Underground” creative team discovered in their research that 1858, Tubman started to deliver long speeches to abolitionists in order to inspire them “to be more diligent and donate to the cause.” Green says she and Joe started to explore creative ways to devote an entire episode to just Harriet talking… which viewers will witness tonight.

“The seed determines the fruit. The foundation determines the lasting effect of the infrastructure. We live in a country whose foundation was built on the backs of the enslaved and the principles of slavery. The humanity of our country is shaped by the ideals of enslaving people,” Hinds said of her powerful and life-changing experience of portraying the legendary freedom fighter.

Continuing, “Playing Harriet Tubman is two things: a great honor and a tremendous call to duty as we examine how familiar the pain of our past can be felt in the present. In sight of and in spite of the overwhelming obstacles stacked against her, she transcended bondage and inspired generations in the pursuit of liberty.”

“To be used as a vessel that ushers her spirit into the homes, hearts and minds of today’s generation is an assignment I could not take lightly. I wanted to sit with this episode for at least a month, to study, submerge myself, and store her words into the most sacred corners of my heart. GOD didn’t allow that. God didn’t allow me the time I wanted as an actor to prepare, lest I’d be led to believe that craft could effectively communicate what I quickly learned was a call to surrender.”

Hinds added, “‘Moses’ would ultimately guide us all, as she was known to do, divinely through the shoot.”

In a career defining move, Hinds unleashes a transcendent performance that is not to be missed. “Minty” will air Wednesday, April 12 during a special time slot at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT on WGN America, with back-to-back encore airings throughout the night.

Jurnee Smollett & Aisha Hinds
Jurnee Smollett & Aisha Hinds in ‘Underground’ scene

 

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is a screenwriter and freelance reporter from Chicago -- currently living in Los Angeles and covering A-list entertainment for various outlets, including Emmys.com. She has worked for: Miramax, MTV & VH1, The Jim Henson Company, Hallmark Channel, Paramount Pictures, and for iconic indie film producer Roger Corman.

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