Sunday, April 23, 2017
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Aisha Hinds takes Hollywood by storm
By Lapacazo Sandoval Contributing Writer
Published April 17, 2017

Aisha Hinds (Kate Zatmari photo)

Hinds stars in “Underground” as Harriet Tubman and Foxs “Shot Fired” as Pastor Janae James.

Aisha Hinds is ebullient, alive, gifted and woke. Those distinctive attributes set her apart in Hollywood where displaying intelligence and political awareness is not often witnessed and often frowned upon when it does make that rare appearance.

Long before mainstream television audiences could match her name with her face, the creative community was buzzing about Hinds acting, adding that she possessed that “it factor” a component that is not be easily defined.

In High School, Hind’s tap teacher noticed her free-blowing spirit and helped her secure a place in the famed High School of the Performing Arts in New York.

Hinds learned her craft—well—and her resume began to grow, landing roles in ”Detroit 1-8-7” and guest appearances on “Boston Legal,” “Medium,” “CSI: NY,” “Judging Amy,” “Crossing Jordan,” “ER” and “NYPD Blue,” and earning recurring roles on “HawthoRNe” and “The Shield.”

The power of television is undeniable. It helps bring stories into the most intimate places in a viewers life.  For some, Hinds is best known as the charismatic Pastor Janae James in “Shots Fired”— created by Reggie Rock Bythewood and Gina Prince-Bythewood—starring Sanaa Lathan, Stephan James and Mack Wilds.  While others might know her work from her jaw-dropping performances as abolitionist Harriet Tubman in WGN’s hit series “Underground” —co-created and executive produced by Misha Green (“Sons of Anarchy”) and Joe Pokaski (“Heroes”) with executive producers Oscars® winners John Legend and Akiva Goldsman— Hinds is turning in.

On April 12th WGN will air an extended episode (206) entitled “Minty”— written by Green and Pokaski, and directed by Emmy and Golden Globe Award® winner Anthony Hemingway.

In episode 206 Tubman (Hinds) delivered a monumental and definitive speech about her life, her divine purpose and the perilous but necessary fight for freedom. Set in 1858 against the backdrop of a nation deeply divided by race, class and gender, Tubman makes a passionate plea to abolitionists to shift their thinking as she challenges them to take swift action against those who are determined to oppress others. In a career defining move,

Here is a brief excerpt with Aisha Hinds on portraying Harriet Tubman in WGN’s “Underground.”

L.A. Sentinel (LAS): Objectively, if you saw yourself playing Harriet Tubman — what would you say?  Please, don’t be modest.

Aisha Hinds (AH): (laughing) I have to be [modest]. Are you kidding?  We are talking about [the] Harriet Tubman here!  The last person that we are talking about his Aisha Hinds; the last.  Aisha Hinds is only relevant here because it is “the” Harriet Tubman, you do understand this, right?

LAS: Yes but you’ve added something extra to something already wonderfully unique Misha Green and Joe Pokaski are bold storytellers?

AH: Misha Green and Joe Pokaski are doing something that honors Harriet Tubman. Telling her story by the way she did it.  They are taking a huge risk by going against the convention of television. That’s amazing to me.

I live and love for the way that “Underground” has approached this era and has dealt with this history, and has been so willing, so courageous to be so edgy and revolutionary in the way they tell these stories.

LAS: Was it hard finding the character—“the” Harriet Tubman?

AH: Yes. It was very difficult. Very. I had much trouble feeling like I was worthy enough to tell her story.

So, I am still, very much, perpetually in a posture of gratitude and reverence.  I am also in a posture of praise and excitement that her story gets to be shared with this generation.  That it gets to be told as such a time as this.  That her spirit re-visits us in the Right Now.

(crying) The performance while I am happy for what I experienced while we were shooting it was something that was otherworldly for me.  It was something that truly transcends the limitations of my human understanding because it should not have been possible to do what we did.

LAS: To quote Dolly Parton from “Steel Magnolias”: “laughter through tears is my favorite emotion.”  Let it out Miss Hinds.

AH: (crying) But her spirit consumed me and it pushed me across the threshold from impossible to possible. I had my experience with it. I had my transcending experience. I had my elevated experience. I had that moment where she gave me permission and she made me feel worthy enough to tell her story (crying} — you know what I’m saying?

I feel great because she [Harriet Tubman] said that it was ok to tell her story.

So now I sit back and I just wait and I hope that our audiences will get and feel what we felt while we were shooting.

“Underground” — Wednesday — WGN America www.wgnamerica.com/series/underground/

 Next up Aisha Hinds will appear in the pilot, for USA, called “Unsolved” by Emmy and Golden Globe Award® winner Anthony Hemingway which is about the unsolved murder of Biggie Smalls and Tupac Shakur.  Hinds plays Mrs. Wallace, Biggie Small’s mother.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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