Los Angeles, July 20, 2016 – WGN America’s Underground Railroad thriller “Underground,” called a “smash hit,” by the New York Times and “the most powerful show on TV,” by Ebony, was hailed at the 107th NAACP Annual Convention in Cincinnati, Ohio with a standing room only event at the National Underground Railroad Center’s Harriet Tubman Theater on Monday afternoon. “Underground” creators, writers and executive producers Misha Green and Joe Pokaski, and stars Aldis Hodge, Alano Miller and Amirah Vann, headlined a panel discussion punctuated by applause as they delivered impassioned remarks about the heroes of the Underground Railroad. NAACP President and CEO Cornell Brooks praised “Underground” for its timely message of hope, commenting that it “excites and ignites the imagination and the creativity of our young people…and we, as a country, need to draw upon our history that we might find the sole sustenance for the facing of this hour.”
During President Brooks’ reception attended by more than 1,000 NAACP delegates, the “Underground” stars, who co-hosted the evening, shared their thoughts on the series’ relevance to today. Aldis Hodge said, “We all want two things, growth and change…not only for our generation but for generations to come.” Alano Miller remarked, “We stand before you as a unified front because unity is power.” Amirah Vann added, “We are so proud to be a part of ‘Underground,’ because it depicts the same movement of courage.”
The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center President Dr. Clarence Newsome, who participated in the panel with the cast and creative team, gave them an awe-inspiring tour of the Center that depicts the struggle, perseverance and history of the people portrayed in the critically acclaimed series set in the 1857 Antebellum South.
Prior to the panel and reception, on Sunday, the “Underground” stars hosted the NAACP’s Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO) Awards ceremony where 1,000 of the nation’s best and brightest high school students turned finalists after competing against thousands of other students in the year-long achievement program.
Produced by Sony Pictures Television and Tribune Studios, "Underground” took the country by storm this year, sparking a nationwide conversation and igniting Twitter as the #1 most social cable drama each week it aired. The series trended worldwide on the same day the U.S. Treasury Department announced Harriet Tubman would replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill, a move applauded by the cast and creative team who have traveled the country speaking about the Underground Railroad’s relevance to today.
From executive producer John Legend and creators and executive producers Misha Green and Joe Pokaski, “Underground” tells the unflinching story of some of America’s most heroic freedom fighters—slaves who risked their lives to reach freedom. The first season of “Underground” delivered 3 million Total Viewers weekly, and made history as WGN America's most-watched original program ever. Season two will begin production this summer for a 2017 debut.
The freshman season of "Underground" featured an acclaimed cast, including Jurnee Smollett-Bell (“True Blood,” “Friday Night Lights”), Aldis Hodge (“Straight Outta Compton”), Christopher Meloni (“Sin City: A Dame to Kill For”), Alano Miller (“Jane The Virgin”), Jessica de Gouw (“Arrow,” “Dracula”), Marc Blucas (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer”), Adina Porter (“The 100”), Mykelti Williamson (“Justified,” “24”), Amirah Vann (“Girls,” “And So It Goes”), Johnny Ray Gill (“Rectify”), Chris Chalk (“Gotham”), Reed Diamond (“Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”), Theodus Crane (“The Walking Dead”), James Lafferty (“One Tree Hill”), Renwick Scott (“Treme”) and Jussie Smollett (“Empire”).
“Underground” is created by Misha Green ("Sons of Anarchy," "Heroes") and Joe Pokaski (“Daredevil,” "Heroes,") who executive produce alongside Academy Award-winner Akiva Goldsman ("A Beautiful Mind," "I Am Legend") of Weed Road Pictures; and Joby Harold ("King Arthur," "Edge of Tomorrow") and Tory Tunnell ("King Arthur," "Holy Rollers") of Safehouse Pictures. Visionary artist and producer John Legend, an Academy Award, Golden Globe® and multi-Grammy Award winner, and his Get Lifted partners Mike Jackson and Ty Stiklorius,executive produce. Additionally, Get Lifted oversees all elements of the show’s music. Anthony Hemingway (“The Wire,” “Treme”) directs andexecutive produces the series.