David Makes Man (OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network)
Moonlight, writer Tarell Alvin McCraney’s semi-autobiographical story of a queer black boy coming of age in a candy-colored South Florida housing project, transfixed audiences. McCraney brings that same sensitivity (and many of the same thematic concerns) to his first television drama, David Makes Man. David, his 14-year-old protagonist has to code-switch to navigate between the precarious and violent world where he lives and the more upward bound gifted class at the magnet school he attends. Across the series, David makes mistakes that have painful consequences for people he cares about and confronts adult choices that impact his family, his friends, and his community. His path is guided by a range of potential mentor figures, from the tough love teacher pushing him towards academic success to the drug dealers who want to pull him into their game, from an addicted mother who wants to do right by her children to the gender-bending and morally ambiguous Mx. Elijah. The extraordinary cast featuring Akili McDowell, Nathaniel McIntyre, Alana Arenas, Phylicia Rashad, Cayden Williams, Travis Coles, Ade Chike Torbert, Jordan Bolger, and Isaiah Johnson, helps us to see the raw vulnerability, the softness, the wounded pride and betrayed trust, which his characters find too risky to show each other. For its visually stunning interiority, its heart-wrenching, immersive world, and its contemplation of identity as fluid, plural, restrictive, and powerful, David Makes Man wins a Peabody Award.
Creator: Tarell Alvin McCraney. Executive Producers: Mike Kelley, Melissa Loy, Tarell Alvin McCraney, Denitria Harris-Lawrence, Michael B. Jordan, Oprah Winfrey. Producer: Wayne Morris. Directors: Cheryl Dunye, Michael Francis Williams, Kiel Adrian Scott, Daina Reid. Writers: Tarell Alvin McCraney, Lucien Christian Adderley, Richard ""Byrd"" Wilson, Allison Davis, John J. Strauss, Jaquen Castellanos, Denitria Harris-Lawrence. Editors: Sarah C. Reeves, Avril Beukes, Sasha Dylan Bell. Talent: Akili McDowell, Alana Arenas, Phylicia Rashad. Cinematography: Todd A. Dos Reis, ASC. Music: Gary Gunn.