More Than Slaves: “Underground” Celebrates Black Heroes In New Series

BY: - 24 Aug '15 | Lifestyle

Share this article!


What do you tell your kids about the history of slavery in the United States? In recent years we’ve seen Hollywood’s perspective on history, telling stories from The Help to 12 Years a Slave with the perspective of Blacks as victims, inferior, or struggling to get by unless aided by a white savior.

However, in early 2016, WGN America’s new series “Underground” is looking to change pop culture’s perspective on slavery, while serving as a catalyst for discussion about Black history, self-perception, and where to go from here.

“The spirit of revolution was always with us,” shared Jurnee Smollett-Bell about the project who plays a lead role as Rosalee in the upcoming drama series. “Underground” centers on a group of slaves who take part in a bold and courageous 600-mile escape north to freedom via the Underground Railroad.

The show’s cast and creators shared exclusive content with the National Association of Black Journalists earlier this month and answered questions about the impact this show sets to make in popular culture, individuals, and families.

The series goes beyond the limits of history books and shows the pain, determination, and obstacles plantation slaves endured on an 1850’s Macon, Georgia plantation. For further depth, several members of the cast along with show creator Misha Green researched real slave narratives to develop characters with substance and heroism.

“We are finally coming from a point of strength. My family dealt with hard times but fought through,” said Aldis Hodge whose character Noah inspired him in his personal life. “It makes me appreciate my mother,” he adds.  “I admire my character and hope it transfers onto the audience to treat each other with positivity and fairness.”

While other stories, films and shows have opted for certain angles on slavery, Green shared that the show’s topics are what they refuse to sweep under the rug.

“We find that we’re not as far as we are yet,” said Joe Pokaski, creator and executive producer, regarding the progress of race relations in America. That’s something they kept in mind as they went through the year-long process of developing this unique series.”


So far the show has been gaining traction and it has been confirmed that Academy Award winner John Legend has signed on to the show as an executive producer along with Mike Jackson and Ty Stiklorius of his production team Get Lifted. Together they will also be overseeing the musical elements of the series.

To keep the forward progress of the discussion of race in America, the cast and producers of “Underground” encourage families to watch it together. “Absolutely…the parents should explain the context of what’s going on within the show,” suggested Smollett-Bell, whose parents encouraged her and her siblings to read and learn about Black history outside of the traditional school setting while growing up.


“The family is the knit,” shared Alano Miller, who stars as Cato, “on the importance of keeping family together”—another theme of the show. “There’s a goal at the end of this thing. We have to reeducate and then slowly break the bonds [of oppression] and rejoice.”

Miller added that children’s perspectives and stories are shared in “Underground” as well to give the younger viewers a chance to see heroes who look like them and make a stand for their family and their community. “We take risks by being honest [in a way] that’s digestible…a pedestal to give children insight,” shared Aldis Hodge.

Overall the cast and show developers are confident that “Underground” will do what it is setting out to do: to bring humanity to the untold heroes who were courageous enough to break free from the bondage of slavery for a better life. As Pokaski shared, the show’s theme of discussion for us all who watch is “what kind of world are we going to leave our children?”

You can learn more about “Underground” before its premiere in 2016 by following the series on social media at @UndergroundWGN.

BMWK, how much do you know about the history of the Underground Railroad?

About the author

Tatianah Green wrote 77 articles on this blog.

Tatianah Green is a multimedia content creator and editor with a passion for writing. In 2012 she launched the blog {Black Love & Inspiration for Saved Singles} to encourage singles in faith and love. She is also a contributing writer for several other websites including Culture and God, Single Matters, and The Wire Hanger By Winnie. She recently published her first book entitled Journey to 30: A Single Woman's Guide to Living Unapologetically Without Deadlines. As she embraces her thirties, Tatianah works, plays and lives unapologetically for Christ in Chicago. Connect with her on Twitter and Instagram at @tfortrendsetta


like what you're reading?

Start Shopping!


Facebook Wordpress

Leave a Reply

All Articles Delivered To Your Inbox Daily! Sign up below!

Sell Your Junk And Get Rid Of Your Debt in 15 Easy Steps

BY: - 26 Aug '15 | inspiration

Share this article!


When I was focused  on eliminating my graduate school student loans of $40,000, I entered into hustle mode. Hustle mode is when you focus on finding ways to increase your income through sales and entrepreneurship instead of through decreasing your expenditure, getting a second job, or hard-core savings.

Don’t get me wrong; both strategies (increasing income and decreasing expenditure) are paramount if you want to get rid of debt. However, there is a cap to how much you can save. There is no cap, however, to how much money you can make when you think about making money through sales and entrepreneurship.

One of the easiest ways to enter into the world of sales is through selling what you already own on your own property. And you can do that with a yard sale. Here are fifteen tips to making sure your next yard sale makes you some serious money.

Before the Yard Sale

1. Give yourself at least four weeks to plan the yard sale. With this amount of time, you get to really go through your closets, garages, basements, and attics in order to locate items that you can use for the sale. As you go through your house, make sure you are taking advantage of this opportunity to reflect on how much stuff you have, but never use.

2. Create a marketing plan. The only way that you will make money with your yard sale is if you have paying customers. Start with the free marketing: let everyone know on social media (Facebook and Instragram) and in your personal email list about your event.

You can also create an Eventbrite to get the word out about your event. There are also community newspapers that allow you to post advertising for free. You can also let people in yard sale Facebook communities know about the sale.

Outside of digital promotion, I’ve seen success in calling neighbors, putting flyers in neighbors’ doors, and making bold signs at high-traffic intersections that alert people to the address of your yard sale.

3. Be strategic about your date and time. Try to avoid holiday weekends or days with extreme or unfavorable weather. While you want a date that works for you, you REALLY want a date where most people will be available.

Also, aim to have it spread across two days. As for times, I suggest that your window of time allows for early risers and late comers. From personal experience, my yard sale times were from 7am-6pm. I got a lot of business from the beginners and the end-of-sale hagglers.

4. Come to your yard sale prepared with singles. There is nothing worse than making your first sale, a big sale, or closing a hard sale and prolonging the process because you don’t have change. Be smart and have at least $50 in singles ready for those that want to bundle, negotiate, or who want to use the excuse that they have a “big” bill for not buying.

5. Organize your tables by category. This is important for keeping track of your inventory as well as monitoring what sells and what doesn’t sell. During one of my yard sales, I noticed that sheets and curtains were more popular than clothes. So, I found more sheets and curtains to sell, increased their prices, and reduced the prices on clothes.

6. Figure out how much money to want to make. This will help you figure out your pricing and what times you will want to push.

During the Yard Sale

7. Remember your goal. I promise you that you will encounter the person that wants everything for a $1. (You have a new pair of Nine West heels set at $10, they want it for a $1. A nice dress from Banana Republic, never worn priced at $8, they want it for $0.50 You get my point).

At the beginning of the yard sale, I would recommend that you consider being flexible, but not stupid. Be open to coming down on prices if they have a lot of items to buy or the offer isn’t insulting. At the end of the yard sale, your feelings about price may change when a difference of $5 may mean getting rid of the stuff or schelping it back through the house and into the attic.


On the flip side, don’t get too caught up on the sentimental value of the items that you are selling once you see them in someone else’s hands. (You haven’t used that incense holder in 5 years. You have no intention of making fresh bread. It’s been eight years already.) In other words, let it go. You want the money to get rid of your debt.

8. Keep an eye out for sticky fingers. I lost a few dollars at a yard sale because some of my items were stolen. Get your friends to volunteer to play security on the days of your yard sale.

9. Don’t promise to hold an item for too long. People that attend yard sales are a special breed. They can be fickle bargain-hunters. They say that they want an item, get you to lower the price, say they will be right back with the money, and never return.

I’ve been burned a few times like this trying to be nice. Enforce a 30-minute rule policy: If in 30-minutes you don’t return and someone else shows interest in the item, you will sell it to the other person.

10. Continue your marketing efforts. If you can, take pictures of you slaying it at your yard sale. But this time, let them know that time is running out and that there are only a few more items. That sense of urgency and social proof will get people to move to your sale.

11. Create a sensual experience. Consider having water or playing music at your yard sale. Those little niceties will help people linger and hopefully buy more.

After the Yard Sale

12. Go online to sell what’s left. Once you’ve sold all that you could, you can post pictures of your remaining quality items on sites like OfferUp, Poshmark, or even those area specific Facebook groups so you can keep the sale going.

13. Call specific people and tell them about what have left. This worked well for me. Call Friend X or Acquaintance Y and say, “Hey Girl, I know you were looking for an _______________, I have it here at my yard sale. If you have (insert the price), it’s yours. You can even sweeten the pot by offering to drop it off to them (if it’s possible).

14. Try not to buy more stuff. One of my biggest realizations when I had my first yard sales was that I had a lot of stuff that I didn’t need. It also dawned on me that no matter how much money I made during my yard sale, it was only a FRACTION of the original cost of all of those things. So, while it might have been great to sell your Michael Kors bag for $100, you paid over $300 for it, so you only made a third of your money back.

15. Immediately deposit the money into an account and schedule payment for a bill immediately. Remember, your goal for the yard sale was to make money to pay off some debt. It totally and utterly defeats the purpose of having a yard sale and making money if you are going to go to the mall or online to waste it. Do yourself a favor and get the money out of your hands as soon as possible so you can move serious money moves toward financial freedom, not disaster.

Getting out of debt is a worthwhile goal. Using the yard sale strategy with its online and offline components can have you raking in the dough to put toward your debt without you putting out any real money to do so.

About the author

Kara Stevens wrote 150 articles on this blog.

Kara is a motivational speaker, life coach, and founder of the personal finance and lifestyle blog The Frugal Feminista .


like what you're reading?

Start Shopping!


Facebook Wordpress