‘Underground’ cast defends use of n-word in slave series

The cast of 'Underground' discusses the n-word's inclusion in new slave series...

Tonight the highly anticipated slave drama series Underground debuts on WGN America.

Underground takes center stage as plantation slaves band together in the fight of their lives for their families, their future … and most importantly, their freedom.

Filmed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Underground is executive produced and scored by Oscar-winner John Legend.

Stars of the series Adina Porter, Amirah Vann, Theodus Crane, Johnny Ray Gill and director Anthony Hemingway talked with theGrio’s Chris Witherspoon about the authenticity of the series and the inclusion of the n-word.

“We would be not authentic if we don’t use the word,” Porter said. “I think that it was like water. It was used all the time. I’m not afraid of the word. I think it’s just too honest or just too true. I think that it’s an easy out to just concentrate on that word.”

“It’s very important to honor, respect, do justice, and be authentic to the period,” Hemingway added. “We’re not looking to tell a history lesson. We’re looking to be honest and real, but we’re also looking to make this an experience. Bring the spectators and the viewers in and allow them to be an eighth runner on this journey… on this race to freedom. ”

Crane believes there still is an important discussion to be had about the n-word, as it is still rampantly used by black and white people today.

“People are still dealing with how to deal with that word,” he said. “Whether it’s okay if you’re black to say it or if you’re not black to say it. The fact that it’s still coming up is proof enough that it’s something that should be addressed and it’s something that should be brought to light in Underground.”

Be sure to watch the series premiere of Underground tonight at 10/9c on WGN America.