Snowfall is, without a shadow of a doubt, one of my favorite television shows on air. Returning to TV with its third season tomorrow, the FX crime series is not only gripping to watch, it’s John Singleton‘s rewriting of Black American history, as it tells the truth most of us never knew about the crack epidemic in the United States and the country’s war on drugs. Before the late and legendary Singleton would pass away, he left us all with a piece of himself, but also a piece of our own history. Therefore, I can’t express enough how powerful this show is — for prior generations, for our generation, and for generations to come.
Just before a star-studded screening of the premiere episode in Times Square, NYC last week, the cast hit up the iOne Digital offices to talk all about this third season and more. I pointed out that in the official Snowfall trailer, it appears Damson Idris‘ character Franklin Saint is on top of the world and loving his rise to power in the drug game. But Idris tells Global Grind his climb is not without its pitfalls. Idris says the reality of Franklin’s personal relationships, and the effects of his business on the surrounding community, begin to weigh heavily on the South Central drug dealer.
“Ohhh, ‘we gonna see him on jets and he’s gonna enjoy that money’ — nope!,” Idris tells us with a laugh. “Franklin Saint… he’s understated, he’s not flashy. He’s in South Central and what we know from this story… crime, the war on drugs… these are all topics and huge themes in the show, but it’s also about family and bonds, that were broken in the previous season, being brought back together. Franklin and his dad Alton. Franklin and his mom. And yes, he’s running the business in the corporate manner, but he’s also having to face the hard truths of what it’s doing to his community. That’s what we explore this season.”
Does Franklin explore love this time around? Personally, I had to know after watching him and Melody (Reign Edwards) play cat and mouse for two seasons straight.
“I had to wear the sock a couple of times! Let’s just say that,” he tells Global Grind. “Sorry momma,” he added lightheartedly, pointing to his TV mom Michael Hyatt who was also in the room, sitting alongside fellow Snowfall stars Amin Joseph and Angela Lewis. Joseph, who plays Franklin’s uncle Jerome Saint, reveals Hyatt’s on-screen “love affair” with Franklin’s TV dad is what’s really “awesome” about this season, though, and he doesn’t have to tell us twice!
Moreover, Hyatt, Lewis, Joseph, and Idris all say they can relate to their characters in some way. “Being a single mom raising a growing man is something I can relate to. The friendship that I think is important between Franklin and Cissy, the thing that saves them throughout all of this, is something I hope I have with my son. Because I believe that when you have that as a foundation, when sh*t gets tough, that is what you rely on,” Hyatt said with tears in her eyes.
“I relate to Aunt Louie being tired of being told ‘no,’ wanting other people to see her how she sees herself. What’s hard for me and what I’m learning from Louie is to not be so coy, to not be afraid to go after what it is that I want. I admire Louie — to a degree,” Lewis said of her character.
“The biggest thing I have in common with Franklin is his relationship with his family, most particularly his mom. When I look at Michael Hyatt, I see my mom. My mom raised six kids all by herself; I’m the youngest. And friendship? Me and my mom, we’re best friends. She’s coming to [our NYC screening today]. She tells me she’s proud of me and I feel fulfilled. I feel like I’ve already accomplished everything in life just because she told me that she’s proud of me. That’s how I feel Franklin feels. In his relationship with Cissy, that’s what he longs for — to be accepted, to make his mom feel proud,” Idris told us, his remarks clearly tugging on Hyatt’s heartstrings.
Like Amin Joseph I was raised in Harlem, so his thoughts on how he relates to Jerome Saint hit me on a personal level. After joking about his TV wig being difficult to glue on, he told us what was on his heart.
“Playing Jerome Saint, there’s a lot of men that were perhaps born in the mid-to-late ‘60s. Men that have been disenfranchised and they live within the four corners of their neighborhood and are, sort of, lost souls walking. I could throw a rock and hit a middle-aged Black man that’s living in a shell of himself and I feel like that’s where we meet Jerome. Yes, he’s jovial and he’s fun, but that’s a man that has been broken by the system, has been incarcerated, he’s seen some of the nastier parts of living. That’s a challenge and, I think, a circle of truth — to portray those type of men who are, perhaps, voiceless. We’ve never really seen them on television in a three-dimensional way. You just see ‘em on the corner, wasting their lives… without the back story, without the explanation of the dreams deferred. That’s something to live up to with the character that I play. I relate to my voiceless cousins and uncles and grandfathers that spoke a certain way and strutted a certain way, from the walk to how they talk. Even Jerome’s tumultuous relationship with his common law wife Louie — we go at each other for real, but there’s a love underneath that. A lot of people wouldn’t understand. You can judge Jerome’s character but I’ve seen men like that.”
Tune into Snowfall tomorrow, July 10, at 10 p.m. on FX and may John Singleton rest in peace knowing his loved ones are carrying on with his dream.