For the leading fellas of Freeform’s college comedy-drama, grown-ish, graduation season is quickly approaching, forcing Aaron (Trevor Jackson), Doug (Diggy Simmons), Vivek (Jordan Buhat), and Luca (Luka Sabbat) to come to grips with what life after Cal-U will have in store. As the beaus find themselves crossed between self-induced drama and campus tea, the forthcoming season will bring the cohort of lads closer to the reality of the end of one chapter and the start of something new.
Through the ups and downs of managing hook-ups, mending broken hearts — and a few egos, while discovering who they are as Gen Z figureheads, their stories each paint, in broad strokes, the sort of illustration that arch the boyish behaviors of an adolescent, with the real-life decisions that most guys come face to face with as they cross over into manhood.
For Trevor Jackson, his radical, pro-Black portrayal of Aaron continues the second half of season 4 having to come to grips with the aftermath of a luau party that turned ugly, where he and Luca (Luka Sabbat) got Lei-ed and caught a fade. With emotions and testosterone levels high, it’s not always easy to see things clearly, so fans will be pleased to unpack how each character manages conflict when choosing the high road isn’t always the easiest choice.
As the grown-ish actor reflects on his character's progression, Trevor shares his sentiments on what it’s been like to play a character who’s actively exploring his vulnerabilities through introspection. “I think it’s awesome, I think it’s true, and I think it’s honest.” With that, Jackson meditates on just how much his own journey of self-discovery as a young Black man, mirrors that of his on-screen persona. “I think I’ve definitely experienced similar situations as Aaron — you kind of know what you want to do from a young age, but then you just start dealing with being human and realizing that at [some] point what you wanted might change, and who you are might change,” he tells xoNecole.
"You kind of know what you want to do from a young age, but then you just start dealing with being human and realizing that at some point what you wanted might change, and who you are might change."
As seen in the trailer for season 4B teases, Aaron’s successes as a socially-involved TA are opening doors that could put distance between him and his love interest, Zoey (Yara Shahidi). Although it’s not always easy to step into something new when what you’ve known lies within your comfort zone, Trevor tells xoNecole how the toughest choices can lead to the greatest growth. “[When] you’re younger, decisions were made for you but when everything lies on your shoulders, and you’re responsible for your own life, it definitely hits home a litter harder.”
As much as college can serve as a test drive to pre-adulthood, there are some matters of the heart that you want to learn and grow from before the pressures of real adulthood kick in. For the charming and mildly-toxic Doug, played by Diggy Simmons, balancing friendships and a new flame, while attempting to keep things cordial between his ex, Jazz (Chloe Bailey) in the show, brings up the question of what it takes to prioritize your relationship so that all parties, including yourself, are considered.
Still, as Simmons shares, “You have to put yourself first, especially coming out of a relationship.”
He continues, “All of us do that - we have the old saying of, 'I gotta focus on myself,’ but that’s a true thing.” Being that he’s had practice with this balancing act through his character, Doug, it comes from a place of deposited wisdom when he shared how setting parameters around your relationships can ensure the best possible results for you, and all parties involved.
Diggy tells xoNecole, “I think when cultivating a new relationship, that isn’t so committed yet or doesn’t have a title, you have to create your own boundaries that you're comfortable with and see if that person is comfortable with those same boundaries that you hold for yourself.”
Watch new episodes of grown-ish on Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET on Freeform and the next day on Hulu.
Featured image by Freeform/Jabari Jacobs