‘This is Us’ Star Sterling K. Brown is Excited About the Future of Black Stories on Film and TV

By Sameer Rao Jan 09, 2017

In a new Undefeated Q&A, Emmy-winning actor Sterling K. Brown ("The People V. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story") compares the variety of Black stories in contemporary film and TV to the 1970s heyday of sitcoms with predominantly Black casts.

"I always thought the right time was back [when] Norman Lear was doing everything," says Brown about the creator of "Good Times," "Sanford and Son" and "The Jeffersons." "I feel like finally we are reaching a place again, and it’s not the same story being told over and over again. ‘Black-ish is not the same story as ‘Atlanta.’ There’s room and space for the diversity of the African-American experience to be shown on television and on film."

The "This Is Us" star elaborates on this diversity to The Undefeated, citing "Creed," "Moonlight" and "Fences" as recent cinematic examples: 

What my man [Ryan] Coogler did with "Creed," he was like, "Well, let me show you something. I can make a popcorn movie that’s an artistic movie that will move you and make you cheer at the same time. How do you like me now?" Ranging from something like "Creed" to something like "Moonlight," which is so quiet and so beautiful, like a poem unfolding to someone who basically just took a stage play by one of the great African-American playwrights and said, ‘Not only is this a great play, I’m going to show you it’s a great movie.’ To be alive. To be African-American and alive—it’s a good thing.

Variety reported Thursday (January 5) that Brown joined the cast of Marvel‘s upcoming "Black Panther" film, directed by Coogler. While Brown does not reveal much about his character, he does relay a telling conversation between Coogler and "Black Panther" producer Nate Moore ("Captain America: Civil War") about the film’s casting: 

I was having this conversation with Nate and he’s saying that Ryan was asking him, "So how many White people are going to be in this thing?" And Nate was like, "Well, it’s going to take place in [the main character’s homeland of] Wakanda, so probably it will be majority African." He’s like, "Can we do that? Can we do that?" And [Moore’s] like, "Well, that’s the world, and that’s what we’re gonna do."

Read the full Q&A here