Watching WGN-America’s first season of Underground was a delight in so many ways, and Amirah Vann was one of the main reasons for tuning in each week. Fans of Vann know her as Ernestine, the intelligent, strategic “mistress” of her master Tom Macon, whom (spoiler alert) she killed after he killed her oldest son Sam just for political gain. Last we saw her, Macon’s widow Suzanna sold her to get back at her. Now, we don’t know who what will happen to Ernestine or her youngest son, James, who is back at the plantation under Suzanna’s care.
What you might not have realized is that Vann wasn’t listed as a regular during the first season. For as much script and scenery she was given, apparently she was still just a recurring actress. During the second season, though, she’s been upgraded. Vann is now a regular on the show.
Vann’s role on the show will continue to be one of the shining lights of the series; last season, critics praised her for the levels she provided her character. To quote the release:
Vann, who portrayed the head house slave who will do anything to protect her children, was heralded for her performance by critics as “one of the breakthrough roles of the season” (Huffington Post); “captivating as Ernestine, the duplicitous and wise head house slave and Rosalee’s mother” (Essence Magazine); “spellbinding” (Wall Street Journal); and “tremendous” (Entertainment Weekly).
Vann’s promotion to regular status comes on the heels of the official casting of Harriet Tubman, Aisha Hinds. Hinds’ Tubman will take Rosalee on as her apprentice of sorts, enlisting her to help with the trek of going back to the south to save more slaves. Also, the upcoming season will see America getting closer to the beginning of the Civil War. “The new season of the 10-episode Underground Railroad thriller follows an unremitting struggle for freedom within a divided America on the brink of civil war, each side vying to enact their own justice,” states the release.
Here’s more on Underground:
“Underground” delivered 3 million Total Viewers weekly, and made history as WGN America’s most-watched original program ever in its freshman season. The series was honored with screenings across the country including the White House and ranked as the #1 most discussed cable drama on social media each week it aired. From creators and executive producers Misha Green and Joe Pokaski and executive producers John Legend, Akiva Goldsman, Tory Tunnell, Joby Harold, Mike Jackson, Ty Stiklorius and Emmy® -nominated director Anthony Hemingway, “Underground” season two will premiere in early 2017 on WGN America.
Starring in the celebrated “Underground” season two cast are Jurnee Smollett-Bell (“True Blood,” “Friday Night Lights”) as Rosalee; Aldis Hodge (Straight Outta Compton, Hidden Figures) as Noah; Christopher Meloni (“Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” Sin City: A Dame to Kill For) as August Pullman; Alano Miller (“Jane The Virgin”) as Cato; Jessica de Gouw (“Arrow,” “Dracula”) as Elizabeth Hawkes; Amirah Vann (“Girls,” And So It Goes) as Ernestine; Aisha Hinds (“Under the Dome,” “True Blood,” Star Trek Into Darkness) as Harriet Tubman; and Marc Blucas (“Blue Bloods”) as John Hawkes.
This summer, “Underground” was featured at the NAACP National Convention, where the series and its stars received a standing ovation at the National Underground Railroad Center in Cincinnati, Ohio. “Underground” was also highlighted at the National Association of Black Journalists and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists Conference in Washington DC with a panel discussion on the social movement “Underground” has become.
“Underground,” which tells the unflinching story of some of America’s valiant heroes—enslaved people who risked their lives to reach freedom—was recently honored with three CableFax Awards, including Best New Program, Best Historical Show/Series and Best Showrunners, Misha Green and Joe Pokaski.
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