“Delilah” Creator Craig Wright Says Black Women Holding Everything Together Was Show’s Inspiration

“Delilah” is the new exciting original drama debuting on the OWN network. The new series is the brainchild of award-winning “Greenleaf” creator Craig Wright and Executive Producers Oprah Winfrey and Charles Randolph-Wright.

Shot on location in Charlotte, North Carolina, the show centers on a lawyer and newly divorced mother, Delilah (Maahra Hill – “Black-ish,“How to Get Away With Murder.”) 10 years ago, Delilah left a demanding white-shoe law firm to start her own practice, to make raising her kids her number one priority.

She chooses to concentrate on cases that the high-powered firms ignore.  This usually ends with her going to battle against the powerful and privileged as she fights for the disenfranchised. In addition to raising her two kids, Maia and Marcus, Delilah also cares for her young nephew Dion; manages her relationship with her frustrating ex; and to top it all off, she’s about to go up against her best friend Tamara (Jill Marie Jones – Girlfriends) in court for the first time. Delilah has always represented the underdogs. Tamara represents the wealthy and powerful. But this case is different: Delilah’s most cherished friendship is on the line, and there are lives at stake. But Delilah does what she always does – she seeks justice for those who need it most.

The African-American Film Critics Association held a roundtable discussion with the stars of the show- Hill and Jones, plus producers Craig Wright and Charles Randolph-Wright (no relation.) I talked with Hill about the traits that stand out to her about Delilah, and Craig Wright shares the story about the inspiration behind the show.

Maahra Hill on what she loves and relates to in the character of Delilah:

Her commitment to motherhood is similar to mine. She put her children first. She worked at a high-powered law firm and turned towards hanging up her shingle so that she could be there for them, drop them off and pick them up. Or ask them questions about their day. That, and her being a voice for the voiceless. Just the way that she is committed to making sure the underdog is seen and heard and spoken for. Also, the way that she is in friendship with Tamara (Jill Marie Jones,) the way she is in friendship with herself and her integrity. She leads with integrity. I think that’s in general in every relationship. Her work relationships, her friendships, her family, she leads with integrity. That was powerful for me.  

Series creator Craig Wright on the inspiration behind the show and character of Delilah:

I’ve never told this story. After that chapter of “Greenleaf” was starting to wrap up – you can look forward to another one coming soon- Oprah asked what we wanted to do next. We wanted to expand the pallet a little bit and get beyond the Black church, and do something that could be more about Black womanhood in general. It wasn’t a simple answer, it took a while to find it. I had acquired a lot of ideas after listening to Black women after five years working on “Greenleaf.” I live in Altadena, California, a city that is north of Pasadena. Historically it has a pretty large Black population for the size of the town. It’s about 42% Black.

There is a Black-owned business on Fair Oaks avenue called “The Little Red Hen.” I was at my wit’s end, I didn’t know what to do. I went in and order a cup of coffee. I asked a woman if I could ask her a question- she doesn’t know what I do. I said, what do you want to see on TV. She launched into an answer that had nothing to do with television. She said you know what, you should make a show about me because I’m doing this at home, I’m doing this with my kid, and I’m doing this in this workplace. I’m holding all this together, and nobody sees how much I’m doing. And I was like thank you God, you just told me what to do. I went away and thought, “Delilah” has to be for her. It has to show that. About how hard she thinks she’s got it, and nobody sees how hard it is. And really, that was my answer to Oprah’s question, “what are we going to do next?” After I talked to the lady at “The Little Red Hen,” I knew what to do. And that’s Delilah, and that’s Maahra, and she delivered it.  

Head over to the AAFCA channel to watch the entire roundtable discussion.

“Delilah” premiere’s Tuesday, March 9.