Snowfall officially returns to FX tomorrow night and if you don’t already know, this is must-watch television. A John Singleton creation, the late legend’s crime series is a retelling of Black American history as the show delves into the truth about the United States crack epidemic. Just before screening the premiere episode in Times Square last week, the cast dropped by the iOne Digital offices in NYC to talk about their own understanding and awareness of the crack epidemic, prior to taking on their respective roles in Snowfall.
“I was very aware,” Angela Lewis, who plays Aunt Louie on the hit series, told HipHopWired. “I from Detroit and I have family members and friends who were affected by crack. I was also aware that this was happening in most major cities, if not all the major cities, in the country. So, for me, it was important that I understood if I’m going to do this role: Why am I doing it? What am I bringing to the story? And, are we telling the truth?”
“It was such a humongous relief,” she continued. “After getting the role, meeting the creators, meeting John [Singleton], meeting my fellow cast mates — knowing that we were all on the same page, that we’re here to tell the truth of this story. We’re here to show the world that the Black community didn’t just inflict crack upon itself.”
Damson Idris plays Franklin Saint, the head of an emerging drug empire partly responsible for the widespread distribution of crack in Los Angeles. The English actor says he was aware of drugs plaguing our communities, but a trip to Skid Row in L.A. further opened his eyes.
“I was in London and I’d say crack cocaine came to my community in Peckham probably around ’92, ’93. But, more specifically with America, it was when I came in 2015 for the role and I took a walk Downtown LA, Skid Row, and I saw a kind of blend of crack cocaine addicts and the mentally ill,” Idris explained. “I learned that a lot of the mentally ill were released from institutions in LA and then dropped at Skid Row, where they begin to blend in with addicts. If you go to Skid Row today, I always say I don’t think anyone in their right minds in the ‘80s would have sold that drug if they knew what it would mean for 2019.”
Amin Joseph, who plays Franklin Saint’s uncle in the show, weighs in on that note. Tying his thoughts back to season 3 of Snowfall, Joseph says each character begins to see the consequences of their actions.
“Each one of these characters that we play are making their own self-centered decisions,” Joseph said. “They only see the universe through the perspective that they have. Hindsight is 20/20, so now some of our viewers understand the significance of these choices that people were making back then. But, even in our lives today, we don’t know what the ramifications will be for all the choices that we’ve made. I think they’re making the choices to empower themselves, based on what they know. That’s what this third season is about, too — conflict, choices, and starting to see some of the changes that are going on while we’re making this empire.”
Tune into Snowfall tomorrow night, July 10, at 10 p.m. ET on FX, plus a season 3 teaser up top if you missed that.