At The CW’s Upfront 2022 Red Carpet, I spoke with Geffri Maya and Peyton Alex Smith about All American: Homecoming, which has been renewed for a second season. The series will start off the week on Mondays for The CW’s 2022-2023 schedule.
We discussed the fan response to the show, what storylines they would like to see, their characters, and more. Keep reading to find out what they told me!
All American: Homecoming is the next chapter in the “All American” saga. Fans immediately responded to the new show with love, so I asked the actors what that meant to them. “It’s been a little crazy,” Peyton Alex Smith told me. “I know that people love All American and I know she came from that original show, so I know that the fanbase was huge for them. So just kind of actually getting to see it for myself now, I was like, ‘Woah.’ The response has been crazy. It’s been really dope, people really love the show. I was doing an interview like two weeks ago and the guy interviewing me told me that him and his daughter watch it on Mondays together. So it was cool to see that it was kind of bigger than entertainment, like families bonding and watching our show, so I think that’s dope.”
Geffri Maya continued, saying, “I can agree. I mean, I would be lying if I said that I didn’t know that it would affect people because to feel seen and to be reflected on a screen or just to identify, I know how much that meant to me, like growing up, watching television, and seeing Black woman tell stories that I felt I connected to, that I felt was relatable, or familiar. That means a lot, so I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think that it was going to hit or affect people in that way, but for us to get a second season, I’m grateful that people loved it enough. Not necessarily to give it another chance, it’s not about chances, you know what I mean? It’s not about chances, but real stories that exist. I’m just very grateful. I’m very happy that people felt it and they loved it, and they were excited about it. That feels good to know that we did something good, we did a good deed, and we did something strong. I’m just grateful and I’m happy that people believe in what we’re doing.”
In terms of dream storylines or topics they’d like to see explored on the show, they’re just happy to tell these very real stories. “That’s tough. I feel like Black people are not all the same, so it’s kind of like, what I would like to see does not necessarily mean that needs to be reflected because there are other problems that I have never faced that are also important,” Maya answered.
“I think that the writers have done a great job in establishing the characters that we have, whether it’s the teachers, the coaches, or the students,” Smith added. “I just want to see where Simone ends up because I got to see her before in high school, now as a freshman, and I just want to see where that journey takes her, whether it’s graduating or it’s going pro-tennis, or wherever that takes Damon, or what happens with Keisha or Cam, is he going to sing? So I just kinda wanna see– I’m glad we got a season two so now we get to see more of those storylines because I think we have great stories and we’re telling a lot of great stories, like even with the defunding of our school. We just learned that that’s a real thing that’s going on, sorry to hear that with Lincoln. So I’m glad that we’re telling those stories.”
Geffri Maya portrays Simone Hicks, and the actress shared some challenges and what it is like to bring her character to life on screen: “I would say the hardest part has been tennis. I didn’t know the sport at all. I learned once I found out that this was even a possibility because I just wanted to honor the sport. But I also kind of love just going through the motions of evolving with the character, evolving with stories, evolving with a show, a new show. So it’s kind of like I don’t want to think too much about it, I try not to because then you take away from the present moment of just me. So it’s fun to just be and see how far this goes, how long this goes, what stories, and even how I receive it all. It’s been fun.”
As for Peyton Alex Smith, who plays Damon Sims, he reflected on working with the talented cast: “I’ve really enjoyed the cast, it’s been one of my favorite casts that I’ve worked with. I went to the HBCU, and so did Geffri, so I feel like I’m back there, getting up every morning and seeing people that like look like me. We all laugh and joke like that every day. We’re next to the All American cast as well so I get to see them. I just love coming to work and seeing people that look like me, and who are still acting and are professional at the highest level.”
When I asked if there was any message the two wanted to share, they both wanted to offer their condolences to those affected by the Buffalo grocery store tragedy, which had happened the week prior. “I want to send my condolences out to the people in Buffalo,” Smith said. “My heart goes out to those families for sure.”
Maya didn’t hesitate to agree, “That was very nice. I agree, I wanna give my condolences, and send my love and support for just remaining uplifted as a community, as Black people. As much as is done to us, as much wrongdoing is done to us, being Black is so so beautiful. But my heart also extends to the victims and the lives loss for that awful, disgusting, violent act. We, as a country, have to figure out gun control. We have to have some sort of gun law and things just have to change, and we’re tired of saying it. Things have to change.”