Chloe x Halle and executive producer talk season 2 premiere of ‘Grown-ish’
Chloe and Halle Bailey came back home to Atlanta for a college tour of sorts to promote the upcoming season of Grown-ish where they play twin sisters in the Yara Shahidi hemmed spin-off of the hit show Black-ish.
The songstresses whose angelic voices caught the ear of the Queen Bee herself Beyoncé and earned them a record deal, are making major moves on-screen, stealing scenes as the feisty track stars Jazz (Chloe) and Sky (Halle) whose clap backs keeps Zoey on track.
Last season the characters Halle and Chloe tackled topical conversations including dating as black women and the cutthroat world of college athletics. Outside of acting, the duo are Chloe x Halle, musical prodigies who recently opened for Beyoncé and JAY-Z’s “On The Run II” tour, and are signed to Beyoncé’s label Parkwood entertainment.
The sisters attended two Atlanta events and was joined by social media influencers and college students at Morehouse to talk about campus life and the conflicts that keep college students sidelined but makes for great story lines on the hit show which premieres on Freeform for its second season January 2.
The show’s second season will feature the return of your favorite characters, with Shahidi returning as Zoey, Trevor Jackson as socially conscious Aaron Jackson, Francia Raisa as outspoken conservative Latina Ana Torres, Emily Arlook as openly and actively bisexual Nomi Segal, Jordan Buhat as troublemaker Vivek Shah and Chloe Bailey and Halle Bailey as twins and sporty-savants Jazz Forster and Sky Forster, Luka Sabbat as mellow and fashion-forward Luca Hall, and Deon Cole as eccentric and unpredictable “Professor Charles Telphy.”
The ladies and the Grown-Ish EP Jenifer Rice-Genzuk Henry sat down with TheGrio to talk the new season and lessons learned from their first go-round on a hot TV show.
Years ago, I remember seeing you both sing at a Polow Da Don event before Beyoncé signed you both. How has that journey for you both and how did the opportunity with Beyonce come about?
Chloe: The journey has been a complete process of growing and learning ourselves not only as musicians but as human beings. And it’s been so fun because we have been doing this for a very long time. We were born and raised in Atlanta and we’ve been singing around town like forever. We finally uploaded Youtube covers and everyone started recognizing that and then the Queen Bee came knocking! It’s been cool to see how the universe works and to see how the opportunities and blessings come through. We’re so happy to be here and now doing Grown-ish we’re so happy.
Being able to produce and write on your first album is such a rarity in this business. How were you able to finesse and get who you are and your wants into your music and be able to do that?
Halle: Ever since we were young girls our parents have always said to us, you can always do it yourself, you can figure things out. We would be little girls around time and sometimes we weren’t old enough to go in the studio with big time producers. So we were like, ‘OK, we’ll make our own stuff.’ And learn how to play our own instruments and do it ourselves and our dad taught us song structure and sat us down and taught us how to use our tools like similes and metaphors in order to create stories that people can relate to. Really it just happened with us growing and getting to know ourselves as young girls and young women. It was just a beautiful thing and we just feel like we can do anything we put our minds to. Especially as young girls we’re so much more powerful than we think. When we put our minds to it, we can get it done. And that’s why I’ve always been inspired by her (points to Chloe). We just jam it out. And being sisters it’s easier for you to mesh together. It’s a really fun process. Throwing paint on the wall and seeing what sticks.
You two have been fan favorites on Grown-ish. What did you both learn from this experience going into it for the first time and now afterward?
Chloe: Even though we have acted before, this was our first TV series that we were regulars on… and first and foremost the energy is just so fantastic, and electric and positive and we’re around our friends. Before this show we were good friends with Yara (Shahidi) and Trevor. So to be reconnected and grow even more as a family on set has been super fun. We’re always laughing and it never feels like we’re working.
Halle: I think we learned how to be ourselves more on camera. Which is really fun because our characters Jazz and Skye are like the ratchet parts of us. So it’s real fun when it gets to come out. We’re from Atlanta and that’s in us, but we don’t show it all the time.
Chloe: All of the feedback has been positive. I think because we’re perceived as these polished teen girls, people like to see this different side of us and I think that’s pretty cool because we’re all human beings and none of us are perfect and it’s important for the world to know that and have kids around to see proper representation and to know that you can be perfectly flawed and that’s OK.
Halle: And it’s funny because we’re adults now and sometimes lots of people see us as still being 13-year-olds. But I’m 18 now and she’s 20 (point of Chloe.) And so the things we’re saying on the show is kinda not out of the normal for our age so it’s real fun to do.
This season what issues did you wanted to touch on did you get any feedback from the cast on the first season?
Jenifer Rice-Genzuk Henry: I think last year we spent a lot of time focused on the Zoey character, her love life, her relationships, so this year I think we get to see what a powerhouse cast we have and some of the young actors and actresses we work with. We decided we wanted to explore a little bit more of those characters so I think you’ll find this year we’re stepping into a little more of their backstory, their lives, they’re relationships. We just try to remain authentic and try to keep the language, the energy, fresh and authentic to what’s happening out in the streets.
What subject matter do you touch on this season?
Jenifer Rice-Genzuk Henry: I think we start off this season with the idea of kind of where we pick up from last year. The idea that you know everything and so we come back bigger and better and sequels, which you’ll see in the first episode. Zoey has in mind that she’ll come back in and everything will be perfect and she knows everything and I think the reality is, and it’s a universal concept for young people, you kind of have to fall before you walk so I think she realizes almost immediately that her expectations might not land exactly where she wants to, but that’s OK. We do some really interesting stuff with their (Chloe and Halle) characters, kind of the social media world. Kinda that fine line we play as women where we’re professionals, and athletes and people who have talent and then also stepping into our sexuality, and social media and how those two things aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive and or multi-layered. We have one character who is exploring her sexuality and her fear of coming out to her parents and coming to terms with rejecting relationships because she’s afraid of tapping into who she is so there’s many different thing.
One of my favorite is we tap into genius. Apparently one thing I found, I had no idea is that all kids now think they’re geniuses! It was interesting because we had this conversation early on. We have some young interns who come and hang out in the room with us and and we were like, ‘do you think you’re geniuses?’ and they all were emphatically like, ‘oh yeah!’ We’re exploring what genius is and how people gravitate toward it because it’s different and we don’t understand it.
Season Two of Grown-ish premieres on WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 2 at 8p.m. ET/PT.