‘Lovecraft Country’ – The parallels Smollett sees between the ’50s and now

Jurnee Smollett of ‘Lovecraft Country’ – ‘Racism is such a demonic spirit’

Jurnee Smollett of ‘Lovecraft Country’ Sunday on HBO

Q: As an activist, what was it like for you to look back at the America that was, and still is, in preparing for this role?

A:  In preparation for this, it definitely required a lot of research and was quite sobering to see the the parallels. You know, the fact that the systemic racism that this nation’s been built upon (and) yet to be dismantled … I could relate to so many instances in the text. You look at something that happens during this period like an Emmett Till and you see a Trayvon Martin, you know.

And really the story is so ancestral. You know, our heroes essentially are going on a quest to bring down white supremacy, and we are still on that quest today in 2020 as Black Americans; because racism is such a demonic spirit, you know, it’s something that we are still fighting off. But I think one thing I love so much about the research process was going back to writings (by) James Baldwin or Gwendolyn Brooks or these great minds and thinkers like Lorraine Hansberry, and there’s such wisdom and knowledge that they provided then that we can gain from now. And it’s, you know, it’s humbling.

Q: The scripts cover such a variety of genres. Which episode did you find yourself loving to play the most?

A: Hard to say the most. …  Misha (Green, writer/executive producer) has this gift for maintaining varying degrees of tone so we really got to explore a lot. It’s hard for me to say what (because) there were so many different colors and different ways we got to play. So, I can’t really pick one.

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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