‘Underground’ cast on why you can’t look away


— The cast of “Underground” has a message for those who say they are tired of slave narratives: We don’t have the luxury to turn away from such painful stories.

“We live in a country that’s built on the foundation of slavery,” said Aisha Hinds, who joins the period drama this season as abolitionist, Harriet Tubman. “To really be informed about what’s happening contextually right now, it would behoove you to engage [in] this foundational narrative.”

Hinds, along with cast members Amirah Vann (Ernestine), Jurnee Smollett-Bell (Rosalee), Aldis Hodge (Noah), talked to CNN about Season 2 of “Underground” in a recent interview.

The group said they have forged a strong, familial bond filming the show, which does not shrink away from the brutal, soul-crushing reality of slavery in the Antebellum South.

Beyond authenticity, the “Underground” team said they strive to portray humanity.

“You can see through the window, if you will, to get a more intimate view of who these humans were and how how they existed,” Vann said.

Smollett-Bell credits “Underground” creators Misha Green and Joe Pokaski with “capturing the brilliance in the mundane.”

“The fact that [the slaves] lived and laughed and loved and had the audacity to dream despite their circumstances, they instinctively knew there was a better life out there,” Smollett-Bell said. “No matter what chains were on them, their spirit wouldn’t die.”

Hodge, who plays Rosalee’s love interest on the series, said “Underground” is part of a wave of strong, successful shows featuring African American experiences.

“Inclusion and integration are necessary for the survival of the entertainment industry all around,” Hodge said.

The second season of “Underground” premieres March 8th on WGN America.