After wrapping up five seasons of Greenleaf for OWN, creator Craig Wright said he and his creative team were ready to tackle a larger project that addressed broader issues that black women face.
“We just wanted to make something bigger and more broader and we wanted to ask more questions about where society’s headed, and how Black women and Black Americans are going to continue being a major part of the unfolding of American history,” he said.
‘Delilah’ Cast and Plot
Kontrol was given access to OWN’s CTAM panel on Wednesday. During this event, Wright joined Charles Randolph Wright, Maahra Hill, Jill Marie Jones, and Devan Renea to tease the new OWN legal drama “Delilah”.
Hill is officially a leading black woman on a major platform. Her character on the new series follows Delilah Connolly, a headstrong, highly principled lawyer in Charlotte, North Carolina who left a demanding white-shoe law firm a decade ago and hung up her own shingle so she could make raising her kids her #1 priority. Now she takes on cases the big firms ignore and finds herself, more often than not, going head-to-head with the powerful and privileged as she fights for the disenfranchised.
Like Wright, Hill sees ‘Delilah’ as more than just a new and exciting project in the works. During the panel, she revealed that her character is a reflection of “women who are trying to balance their lives” and who are fighting “for things that are important to them.” To help set the character, Hill said that she not only drew from personal experiences but even spoke with Black women lawyers from Charlotte, North Carolina, where the series takes place.
Upon her conversations with the practicing lawyers who share similar experiences with her character, Hill said she had to put Black women’s resilience and hard work in “front and center” of her portrayal.
However, just showing the professional and motherly sides of both Delilah and her friend and legal rival Tamara Grayson (Jones) wasn’t enough to make for authentic characters, Wright added. After consulting with Cheryl Dunye, who directs the first two episodes of the series, both of the women have to be involved in their Charlotte communities. Jones made it clear that this story was going to “the highest corridors of power.”
“(Cheryl) wanted to make sure that the truth of the scene was Black women like Tamra and Delilah do not exist in a vacuum – they are part of communities, they’re part of neighborhoods, they’re part of extended families,” Wright added. “One of the great gifts TV can bring right now is specificity… the more we can put those details in and make them part of the story, the better.”
‘Delilah’ and the ‘Greenleaf’ Connection
Wright will executive produce the series in addition to writing. Charles Randolph-Wright and Cheryl Dunye will serve as directors on the series, with additional directors to be announced at a later date. Dunye will direct the pilot episode. Randolph-Wright, who previously worked on “Greenleaf,” will also executive produce along with Oprah Winfrey. The series is produced by Warner Bros. Television and Harpo Films and will air on OWN in 2021.
“It’s an honor to work for Ms. Winfrey and OWN and to serve the network’s devoted fans,” Wright said. “‘Delilah’ continues the work we started on ‘Greenleaf,’ namely, bringing untold stories and fresh perspectives to our audience.”
“Greenleaf” aired for five seasons on OWN, with the final season recently wrapping up with the series finale on Aug. 11. Other current OWN dramas include “Queen Sugar,” “Cherish the Day,” “David Makes Man,” and “The Haves and Have Nots.”