BET Show “The Quad” /Bet.com
by Twins of Media
The BET drama series The Quad centers on college President Eva Fletcher (Anika Noni Rose), her administration, and the students of the fictional HBCU campus—Georgia A&M. Here we speak with show creator, Felicia D.Henderson ahead of tonight’s debut episode.
Season 2 of The Quad premieres Tuesday, Jan. 23. What can fans expect in the first episode?
They can expect a lot of fun, drama and beautiful and deeper characters. Season 1 started in the fall semester, but in the first episode of season 2— we are in the spring semester of the same year. We pick up from some of the previous story lines while also creating new ones. I think the fans will be happy about the new direction of some characters and a deeper direction with the others. They can also expect really great music! Chyi is the musical guest star this episode and will open the show with a wonderful performance. It’s going to be a lot of good stuff!
Writer/director/producer & NAACP award-winner Felicia D. Henderson
What was the creative inspiration behind this drama series?
There are so many great inspirations but it started when film director, Robert “Rob” Hardy asked if would be interested in a show at an HBCU. I had think about it and once I did, I liked the idea. Fans saw the show debut in 2017, but we had been developing the concept for 2 – 3 years prior at that point. I first started writing the show when Hillary Clinton had just lost to Barack Obama. I was very interested in what it meant to be a woman at the top of her game in a man’s world. I wanted to do an exploration of the first female president at this school and to show as black people we are not monolithic and that a woman can thrive at the top of her industry. That was the really big inspiration! Then, of course, inspiration comes from the world of HBCU’s and knowing what that world is and all the people I know who have gone to one. There’s also the sorority experience. Me: I’m a proud Delta (Delta Sigma Beta), a lifelong member. And I’m also a professor so I know the politics of the faculty and the administration. I taught at UCLA for several years and currently at UT Austin. So all of those experiences are a part of the show.
“A Different World” changed the way black people viewed college. What are you most proud of with “The Quad” as it deals with the HBCU college experience?
A Different World was a show where I never missed an episode. I learned enrollment in colleges went up as a result of the show being on the air. That was amazing to me and it’s something that stays with you forever. I had nothing to do with the show but I felt very proud all the same! I believe exploring the world of the HBCU is absolutely necessary. We are so interesting and unique in all our ways and putting a show on an HBCU campus makes it in some ways easy to say, we’re going to show you all of us! There is not just one type of person; there is a different class, social-economic status and politics all within the black community. That’s one reason I think it’s wonderful! Another reason, it’s simple—I love having a show about black people getting their education. It’s something that is so important to me—something I preach to my nieces and nephews and the kids that I mentor. Particularly, kids from working class or disadvantaged backgrounds where I can say to them—Education is a great equalizer! So doing a show where that’s what it is about…I love it! It’s a very important landscape of The Quad. I’m very proud of the work with the show! If you like the first season you will enjoy season 2.
Let me say this before I go…I do hope that in the way “A Different World” inspired people in its time, “The Quad” will do the same. I want students to be inspired to follow their dreams and to know that people who look like us are behind the scenes as writers, producers, editors, cinematographers or directors. If I can do it. You can do it!
Season 2 guest appearances include Jasmine Guy (“A Different World,” “School Daze”) rapper and producer Antwan “Big Boi” Patton Sr., RonReaco Lee (“Survivor’s Remorse,” “Let’s Stay Together”), Sheryl Lee Ralph (“One Mississippi,” “Ray Donovan”) and Debbi Morgan (“Power,” “All My Children”).
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