The All American universe is expanding with All American: Homecoming. The new series follows Simone as she embarks on her next chapter at Bringston University, an HBCU in Atlanta. Right off the bat, Simone has become close friends with Keisha, played by Netta Walker.
Netta spoke EXCLUSIVELY with HollywoodLife about what’s ahead for Keisha as the season continues. She weighed in about Keisha and Cam’s flirtation and whether or not it could turn into something more. She also discussed what an “honor” it is to be on a show that showcases “so many variations of what it means to be a Black person in America.”
Okay, we have to talk about what’s going on with Keisha and Cam. What can you tease about a possible Keisha and Cam romance?
Netta Walker: I will say that Cam is a massive point of interest to Keisha. She is very interested in who this pretty man is, and she’s excited to get to know who he is. I’m excited for everyone to see how it all unfolds with all of the characters as well.
We already know about Simone’s backstory. As the season continues, will we learn more about Keisha’s history?
Netta Walker: Oh, absolutely. As the season goes on, you’re going to get to know a lot more about all of the characters, but in particular Keisha. You’re going to learn a lot about why Bringston is so important to her, who her parents are, why she values their opinion so much, and the importance of familial pride to her. Not only with her direct and immediate family, but with the family that she’s actually forming at Bringston as well. We talk a lot about Black excellence and the importance of that, but to teach excellence in general within this culture is really important. So you’ll see a lot of what that means and the ups and downs of trying to achieve what it means to make the people who love you proud.
What about Keisha and Nathaniel? They are such a dynamic duo.
Netta Walker: They really are. That’s also something that you’re going to see a little bit more throughout the season, especially in the next few episodes for sure. You’re going to see a lot more of what Keisha and Nathaniel have been through together and why their relationship is so important to each other. One of the most important things to me about these two characters is the fact that they’re so openly queer, and they also talk to each other pretty candidly about their experiences in the world as a queer person. I think that the relationship between the two of them developed their freshman year, especially just because they saw each other. They saw someone who was like them, and they understood how important the other person was no matter what they’ve been through, and they’re very supportive of one another this season. You’re going to see a lot of what that support does to a friendship and why they love each other so much. But I really do think it comes down to the fact that they saw each other in the openness and how present and active they are in their queerness. It’s really special. They have a really special relationship. They are such a dynamic duo.
Will the show dive deeper into Simone and Keisha’s growing friendship?
Netta Walker: Simone and Keisha are the girls that will always have each other’s back but will always tell the other person about themselves, which is something I really value in friendships. And then to see two Black women have this sort of impact on one another and be so supportive of one another, but also be real and honest and truthful with each other in the hard times. You’re going to see a lot of that throughout the season. There’s not a lot of push and pull in the relationship, but they definitely keep each other in the right headspace about whatever’s going on in life, and that sometimes involves brutal honesty.
I love how the show is not pitting women against each other. I love that they’re going to continue to be supportive of each other.
Netta Walker: I think that’s really important. There’s just so much more to explore in close female friendships. You see a lot more in relationships between women than just bickering and fighting each other. There’s a dynamic between the two of them in particular that not only is supportive but they’re sisters. You’ll see this growing relationship of what it means to be someone’s sister, and it’s cool to see that the show is about young Black people finding themselves.
The All American universe has such an incredible fan base. What does it mean to you to be on a network with an all-Black cast and exploring life for Black youth at a historically Black college?
Netta Walker: Doing the show is an honor, first and foremost. I believe we’re one of the first all-Black casts on The CW which is also pretty crazy. It feels surreal. Secondly, I grew up in the South. My middle school and high school were historically Black institutions, and my middle school was on an HBCU campus. So I grew up watching the Majorettes, I watched the drumline… I watched all of these things happen in real-time. So to honor this thing that made me want to start dancing, compelled to want to learn about African American culture. I went to James Weldon Johnson Middle School, which was in Jacksonville, Florida, James Weldon Johnson’s hometown. We were actively being taught Black history, like true southern Black history. So to walk into a show that is set in the South, where we focus on African American history, as well as what it means to be excellent as a Black person in contemporary society… It’s crazy being surrounded by these actors. Everyone’s so talented and so fun and so collaborative. Our showrunner Nkechi [Okoro Carroll] has done an amazing job of not only putting together this ensemble but creating a story that’s so relatable. I am so excited to think about the people, the teenagers, these 13-year-olds who get to watch the show and see themselves, like really see themselves and these characters run the spectrum through the Black experience. Blackness is not a monolith in this world. You see so many variations of what it means to be a Black person in America and what those experiences mean both positive and negative. Getting to be a part of a process like this is an absolute honor.