If you've been paying attention, then you know that Yara Shahidi is starring in the new Black-ish spinoff titled Grown-ish. Grown-ish follows Shahidi's character, Zoey, on her journey through college. When I first caught wind of this series, I almost cried. Partly because I am so attached to Dre and Zoey's relationship, but mostly because I was so taken aback by seeing a girl who looked like me going through the same experiences and struggles I went through in college.
The boys, the booze, the opportunities, the setbacks – all coming together to make way for life-changing experiences. For so long, it felt like the only people I could relate those experiences to were lacking in diversity or the late-night reruns of A Different Worldthat lent itself to our culture. But now, with Grown-ish on the map, there is room for a new, more full depiction of what it's like to be in college as a woman of color.
Here's why I am counting down the hours until Grown-ish makes its season premiere tonight on Freeform.
1.Grown-ish Is Revolutionary for Women Of Color
When I was looking at colleges, I remember walking around campus feeling isolated by the lack of students of color on what seemed like every campus. When I finally got to college, I felt even more isolated, wondering what it would take for my roommate to understand why I could NOT go to sleep without my hair scarf on after a long night out.
Though it seems simple, Grown-ish has given young women the opportunity to see themselves on the screen. In doing so, it will inevitably liberate college women into sharing and talking about their experiences, without having to hide the parts of themselves that might seem different. Between the special appearances from Dre and the rest of the Black-ish cast, plus the oddly realistic depiction of college life (did they read my university diary?), it seems like Grown-ish really hit the nail on the head with what it's like to be in college as a woman of color.
2.The Previews Are On Point
Between the colorful trailers and the social media buzz, I've never been more hyped for a show. The previews themselves have so much black girl magic in them I feel like I'm a star by the end of it. Aside from the fun, the teasers and clips make it clear the Grown-ish will be a show that addresses the issues society is facing today, whether it be the president, prejudice on campuses, or general hook-up culture, Grown-ish is bringing it. I'm so ready to relive my younger years and sip the Grown-ish tea. It's definitely the A Different World of our generation. Watch some clips below and you'll be sucked in too.
3.Not Gonna Lie, I’m Also Here For The Hairspiration
The hair and style inspiration on this show is about to be lit! Between Shahidi herself, and the kickass Chloe x Halle, there is no reason your curls or your locs shouldn't be on fleek after taking some notes on their stylish tresses. Shahidi's character Zoey's hair changes as much as her mood, and I am so here for the diversified styling of her natural hair. And by the way – look at all that black hair rockin' primetime television! Revolutionary AF. Try to tell me it's not.
4.And OK Yeah, Here For The Eye Candy Too
Cool, cool, I'll keep this one short - I can speak for us all when I say that Trevor Jackson is Bae. I mean… just look at him. I'm watching it over and over until tonight's premiere. And Luka Sabbat, we see your fine ass too.
Be sure to tune into tonight's premiere on January 3 at 8/7c on Freeform.
Featured image by Giphy
At her core, Natalie considers herself to be a storyteller. When she's not writing or singing in the shower, she can be found eating endless amounts of pizza or reclaiming her time with a good book and a scented candle. Keep up with Natalie's shenanigans on her IG @Natatat122 and blog here.
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'Power Book II: Ghost' Star LaToya Tonodeo Talks Breakout Role And Shooting Her Shot At 50 Cent For An Audition
Actress LaToya Tonodeo demonstrated the power of speaking up as she recently recalled how she secured her breakout role in Starz's Power Book II: Ghost.
The hit show, a spinoff of the original series Power, follows the journey of college student Tariq St. Patrick (Michael Rainey Jr.) as he tries to escape his father's tainted image while running a drug operation.
In Power Book II: Ghost, Tonodeo portrays the role of Diana Tejada, the daughter of former kingpin Lorenzo Tejada and Monet Tejada, played by Mary J. Blige.
The series debuted in 2020 and became an instant hit as viewers were glued to the screen weekly due to its captivating storylines. Power Book II: Ghost is currently in its third season and has been renewed for a fourth.
Although Tonodeo has been a part of the entertainment industry for over a decade by appearing in various television shows and films, the 26-year-old's star shined a lot brighter after landing a role in Power Book II: Ghost.
In an IG Live with xoNecole, Tonodeo opened up about how her dream opportunity came to fruition and the rumor that she boldly asked Power's executive producer, Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson, to participate in one of his projects.
LaToya On Previously Working With 50 Cent
In last month's discussion, Tonodeo revealed that before landing Power Book II: Ghost, she was already working alongside Jackson for his Sony/Crackle series The Oath.
In the show, the actress played the character Tara Byrd. Tonodeo shared that as the red carpet premiere for the first season of The Oath occurred in 2018, she missed her opportunity to connect with Jackson because she was working on another project. But as fate would have it, The Oath was renewed for a second season.
In 2019, as Tonodeo reprised her role in the show and attended the red carpet premiere for the second season, she briefly chatted with Jackson, who at the time acquired the rights to the BMF story.
"Well, what's crazy [is] I was already on a 50 Cent show. So at that premiere, it's called The Oath. It was the season two premiere of The Oath on Sony/ Crackle, and he was there," she said. "Season one, there was a premiere, and 50 Cent attended. I wasn't there because I was doing The Fosters, and I'm like, 'man.' When I got to go to the season two premiere, I saw him, and it was around the time when he got the rights for the BMF story."
The Bold Move That Helped 'Powerbook' Star LaToya Tonodeo Land the Role
LaToya On Asking 50 Cent To Audition For a Role And Landing 'Power Book II: Ghost'
Tonodeo explained that during her conversation with Jackson, she congratulated the mogul on obtaining the rights to the BMF story and expressed her interest in wanting to be a part of the project.
Tonodeo added that although she is unclear if Jackson remembered their encounter or "if it meant anything," when a Power Book II: Ghost role came along, she auditioned and landed the job.
"I was like, 'Oh my God, like I want to be a part of it.' But I don't know why I did it. I just walked over there, and I was like, 'Hey, congratulations on getting the rights. I would love to audition.' I don't know why I did that. I don't even know if it meant anything or if he remembers or not. I do know that I did my thing in the audition, so yeah, we are here now," she stated.
Either way, with that story, Tonodeo has displayed the perfect example of "closed mouths don't get fed."
Power Book II: Ghost is now streaming on Starz.
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Feature image by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for STARZ