Saturday, April 10, 2021

‘Everything’s Gonna Be Okay’ Star Says Representation Matters


*Matilda thinks life at Juillard in NYC is going to be exactly what she needs, but it turns out, the big city was too overwhelming for her. All the noises, crowded subway trains, and over complicated directions, were all too consuming. She decided to go back home. That’s how season one of “Everything’s Gonna Be Okay” on Freeform ended.

“I think he tries to touch on real experiences…so I think that’s what he’s using to sort of infuse this character with life,” said Adam Faison, one of the lead actors on the comedy series, of the creator and writer, Josh Thomas.

Click here to watch our interview with Adam Faison.

Touching on real life and lived experiences is what Faison says makes this show so unique. Matilda’s (played by Kayla Cromer) NYC experience, who is on the Autism spectrum, was taken from someone’s real life story, who also is on the spectrum and found navigating life in the big city to be too much.

ADAM FAISON, JOSH THOMAS
EVERYTHING’S GONNA BE OKAY – ADAM FAISON & JOSH THOMAS (Freeform/Ser Baffo)

Faison, who is a bi-racial gay male, also, at times, feels the pressure to represent well for minorities and the LGBTQR+ community, but working on this show, he’s seen it has more to do with just sharing one slice of a story, rather than trying to embody everyone’s perspective. 

“He made it a lot less daunting for us. Josh was like I want you guys to just play this how you would normally play it in your real life,” explained Faison. “Which I think that would make it even more authentic because he never wanted us to play like a caricature. He was like, I just want you to be you.”

Being allotted that freedom, has allowed Faison to come into his own and not feel he has to over do it with trying to represent for every black gay man out there.

“It makes them [the characters] even easier to represent [for], because it’s just a byproduct of yourself,” he said.

That is how the show approaches all its characters’ stories. This new season, tackling topics like the pandemic, has given each character an opportunity to respond authentically. And with Autism Awareness Month coming up in April, it seemed fitting that the show kick off its second season premiere with a two-episode exclusive in that time.

“Now, that I’m older and we hear statistic like it wasn’t until the 80s that people actually realized that women could be on the spectrum, that was wow to me. Facts like that [I’ve learned on this show],” said Faison.

EVERYTHING’S GONNA BE OKAY
EVERYTHING’S GONNA BE OKAY (Freeform)

Faison’s mother, who was diagnosed with ovarian ancer at the start of the series and now is in remission, worked with kids who were special needs and always taught him treat people with the same compassion and love. While he has had many friends who are on the spectrum over the years, he too, feels he’s expanded his capacity of understanding for those living with autism through working on the show and hopes others will do the same.

“We did a talk back for the pilot and there was a kid and he stood up and was like, ‘I see myself in Matilda. I do music, I have trouble with social cues, I’m very type A’…and it was so cool,” recalled Faison. “I hope that it continues to connect people more and in this season we go even deeper.”

Season two of “Everything’s Gonna Be Okay” will premier Thursday, April 8 at 10pm on Freeform.

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