Akili McDowell (‘David Makes Man’) on awards recognition for Peabody-winning drama: ‘It’s been a whirlwind to take in’ [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW]

The acclaimed OWN drama series “David Makes Man” recently won a Peabody Award, which followed nominations at the Gotham and Critics’ Choice Awards. For the show’s lead actor Akili McDowell, “it’s just been a whirlwind to take in. It’s amazing when us artists put in so much hard work into building these characters and telling these stories … It’s just so fulfilling and rewarding when we’re acknowledged for it.” Watch our exclusive video interview with McDowell above.

“David Makes Man” was created by “Moonlight” Oscar winner and “Choir Boy” Tony nominee Tarell Alvin McCraney. Like “Moonlight,” it tells the story of a teenage boy raised by a single mother (Alana Arenas) in a poor Florida neighborhood. But the series also explores David’s struggle to balance that home life with an elite education at a magnet school where he hopes to escape the cycle of poverty his family is in.

“It immediately connected to me,” says McCraney about the story. “David is raised by a single mother, just like me. From a small town. And even though we face so many challenges, we still have to push to be better and know that our dreams can come true. And when Tarell writes it, you know it’s going to be amazing, so I was just ready to get to work.”

The actor hopes that “when people see the struggle that David goes through … just know that you’re not alone in this.” And not just David, but other characters on the show like his friend Seren (Nathaniel Logan McIntyre), who has abusive parents, LGBTQ members of his community, and even dealers in the neighborhood trapped in the drug trade. “We are together. We are one. Even though it may feel like that sometimes … go to somebody, don’t hold it in. We’re all in this together.”

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