'Grand Crew' television show promo.
Grand Crew television show promo. Credit: The Mrkt

Who doesn’t love a great television show that’s relatable, funny and features an all-around talented Black cast?

NBC’s Grand Crew returned for a second season on March 3 and the Defender had the opportunity to talk one-one-one with one of the stars of the show, Echo Kellum, who plays Noah, the hopeless romantic who’s eager to settle down.

If you haven’t watched season one, the comedy series revolves around a group of young Black professionals in Los Angeles who try to navigate the terrains of love and life, and unpack their lives at their favorite bar to “wine” down.

The show is giving modern day “Living Single” vibes with a mixture of TV sitcom “Friends” energy. And no matter what this group of professionals go through in each episode, they always have each other’s back.

This season viewers should expect to see more Black excellence, healthy friendship dynamics, comedy and a spotlight on Black winemakers.

Echo Kellum co-star of NBC’s Grand Crew.
Echo Kellum co-star of NBC’s Grand Crew.

Defender: What brings you into Houston?

Kellum: Houston’s a great city. It’s a great market. I feel like Houston always shows a lot of love. I got to do a couple press tours out in Houston and it’s just a good vibe. The culture is very diverse, and (the people) really show up.

Defender: Do you see your character (Noah) in yourself in some ways?

Kellum: We have a lot in common. We’re not exactly photocopies of each other, but I definitely am a person who loves love. If you’d ask me a question, would I rather have the perfect career or the love of my life, I would probably choose the latter. I think you can build so much when you have a good partner. You can really excel and have someone there to help you create a really dope home base and someone to bounce ideas off of. That’s something I’d share with Noah. I would say I’m more of a hopeful romantic than a hopeless (one).

Defender: What is your process as an actor?

Kellum: Our writing team is so good. They make it effortless as an actor. They bring so much to the characters and to the dialogue and jokes. I’m thankful for them. As far as my own process. I study lines before and try to dig deep into what the writers are saying, but I try to be as free flowing as possible. I think part of that’s my improv background. It such a wonderful environment to collaborate. We get to bring different pieces of ourselves to the characters. It’s like art imitating life. The show is based on our actual friend group that would meet every week in the wine bar for years. It’s insane to think we’re on season two. Most of us have known each other for over a decade. I feel so protected and supported by everyone in the cast, crew and network.

Defender: There is an emphasis on Black-owned wineries on the show. What have you learned about the wine business on the show?

Kellum: On the show, we had a Black sommelier who came through. They are so on point and they really helped us. I love that we do highlight a lot of Black-owned wineries. We are very much into giving back to the culture. It’s a blessing to showcase a lot of people of color’s work and talent outside the show. My knowledge of wine has grown tenfold in the last five years.

Defender: What can we expect to see in season 2?

Kellum: Season one ended on a few cliffhangers. The comedy’s been heightened, and obviously it still has some heart there. We talk about real issues without begin too preachy. I feel like season two is better than season one, and season one was phenomenal.

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Laura Onyeneho

I cover Houston's education system as it relates to the Black community for the Defender as a Report for America corps member. I'm a multimedia journalist and have reported on social, cultural, lifestyle,...