Kevin Carroll, Michael Hyatt open up about Alton’s decision to talk on ‘Snowfall’
EXCLUSIVE: 'People have latched on to this idea of snitching and I think they're missing the point of the writing, which is about making difficult decisions as a parent, visionary and elder'
Kevin Carroll and Michael Hyatt don’t want fans to write off Snowfall‘s Alton Williams just yet.
The two co-stars, who appear as Alton and Cissy Saint respectively, told theGrio on Tuesday that Alton’s choice to speak with a reporter was motivated by his drive to be a good parent to son Franklin.
During episode 7 of hit FX series, Alton sits down with reporter Irene Abe to speak on the record about Franklin’s drug empire, funded by the CIA. When confronted with his father’s decision, Franklin pistol whips Alton before kicking him out, leaving Cissy in tears.
Many fans of Snowfall took to Twitter to call out Alton for being a “snitch,” but Carroll says that much of that disappointment is misplaced.
“That seems to be a real favorite on Twitter right now. Alton is taking the heat for the bad position that he’s in,” the 51-year-old actor explains. “Irene comes to him with receipts, and says that ‘If you don’t talk to me, I’m going to put the police on your family.’ We know that Alton’s background is with the Black Panthers. He’s dealt with COINTELPRO. He knows how deep the rabbit hole is.”
He continues,” So in many ways, I think he’s trying to get out in front of all the pitfalls that Franklin insists on running into, by saying, ‘I’ve been through this before. Your best way out of this is not to fight, but to move.’ Alton is saying we got to know when to walk away, and the time is now. So I really think they’ve been put in a horrible position.”
“He is making an executive decision for the family to walk away from the game while you’re ahead. But nobody seems to appreciate that. We live in snitch culture. So people have latched on to this idea of snitching and I think they’re missing the final points of the writing, which is about making difficult decisions as a parent, as a visionary, and as an elder.”
Hyatt echoes her co-star’s sentiments, adding that her experience as a mother makes her sympathetic to Alton and Cissy’s plight. According to the actress, “a parent does everything that they can to save their child,” and Franklin’s parents are no exception.
“As a parent, my understanding, my connection to Cissy has always been you try everything to save your child,” Hyatt, a mother of one, explains. “Cissy has certainly tried to walk away from her son. She has tried to separate herself from her son. She has tried to talk with him about the evils of it. It didn’t work. Then she thought if I walk away, then he will understand and he will stop. That didn’t work. He almost died.”
She continues, “Then it was, ‘Okay, let me help you get out. Let me help you launder this money so that we can eventually get out of this game.’ A parent does everything that they can to save their child. We all go about it in different ways, but the bottom line is that we are doing our best to save our children.”
Following Alton’s interview, Cissy finds herself torn between her partner and her son. Hyatt says that predicament isn’t one that can be easily remedied. “She just keeps waking up and praying that an answer will come. That’s all she has. How do you choose between the two men that you love most in this world?” Hyatt muses.
Most importantly, both actors hope that Snowfall will serve as a healing project for the parents affected by the crack-cocaine epidemic and the War on Drugs, which led to an increase in broken homes, deaths and incarceration in the Black community. According to a 2018 study, the crack epidemic contributed to the “doubling of the murder rate of young black males soon after the start of the epidemic, and that the murder rate was still 70 percent higher 17 years after crack’s arrival.”
“I hope Snowfall serves as a launching point for people to go back and look and try to get a little more clarity in what was going on with the Iran-Contra Affair, who Oliver North was, what [Ronald] Reagan did, who the Sandinistas were, who the Contras were, and start to really put the pieces of the puzzle together in a very clear way,” Carroll says.
“[The show] is answering questions for parents who did not understand how their children got ahold of Army-issued AK-47s, in Compton, when they were 12 and 13 years old. There are some parents that are still being healed by this show. There are some parents that look at Alton and Cissy and see themselves and see their struggle.”
He concludes, “I hope that Snowfall continues to answer questions for a lost generation of parents, who do not understand and did not have clarity on the connection, from the government sending drugs into our community and our kids and our community taking the blame.”
Snowfall airs on FX on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT.
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