The creative team behind Greenleaf has higher aspirations for the series than mere entertainment. While the show is exciting and compelling in keeping with the tradition of fine dramatic television, there’s also a deeper message that Oprah, an executive producer of the series, hopes to get across.
Oprah, who also co-stars as Mavis McCready on Greenleaf, says she really appreciates the opportunity to do this kind of work and promote her mission to accurately represent African-American families. “It’s always been my dream to use the platform of drama and storytelling to reflect the lives of people of color onscreen in such a way that we can accurately see ourselves,” Oprah says.
“Not melodrama, not soap, not over the top, but just you see a family sitting around a table and there’s something about the connection in that family, the way that family looks, the way they respond to each other, the language they use, the nuances in their being with each other, when they’re not even speaking, that you feel and see yourself.”
Oprah says she loves that the story is written as a reflection of life. “It’s a different kind of pacing that feels more like life, or like you and me,” Oprah says.
Additionally, in the latest episode of Greenleaf, Lady Mae has the opportunity to show off her preaching skills at a Women’s Day event held by Calvary. Creator and executive producer Craig Wright says this moment really displays a side of Lady Mae viewers have yet to see.
“I think that when you see Lady Mae’s resistance to Grace over the course of the season, you never believe that Lady Mae really has a deep, spiritual substance to her,” Craig says. “You think, ‘Well, she’s just angry.’ Right? So, I really love that she gets up there and you see that she is able to preach.”
To Craig, the great thing about that scene is that Lady Mae is better than you thought she was—and yet things still don’t go her way. “She really could run this church, and then things just break down,” Craig says. “To see her deal with that chaos really makes me feel for her.”
Finally, the latest episode reveals a new wrinkle to Lady Mae’s relationship with Mavis. “Mavis has reasons for being upset with Mae that we’ve never heard a thing about yet, and so when you see those two actresses going for it in that scene, it’s not just about what happened in Season 1. There’s something that you’re going to find out in Season 2, and that’s really what’s making the scene crackle,” Craig says. “But I can’t tell you what it is.”