A sea of press gathered inside of Manhattan’s Metrograph Theater on Wednesday night for the Hulu series premiere of Wu-Tang: An American Saga.
As the cast and crew began to make their way into the building, the energy inside of the room started to feel even thicker than the summer humidity outside. Check out The Knockturnal’s exclusive coverage below to find out just why the Wu-Tang Clan ain’t nothing to f**k with.
If you’re not yet convinced, take it from T.J. Atoms who plays the role of the late Wu-Tang rapper, Ol’ Dirty Bastard. “I’m feeling amazing!, T.J. exclaimed when asked about his reaction to playing the iconic role of Wu-Tang Clan member, ODB in the series. “The energy is a vibe right now… I’m feeling like I’m 6 feet [tall] right now!, T.J. said with a toothy grin before heading into the theater.
T.j.’s celebratory glee was found to be contagious amongst the cast and crew throughout the evening and for good reason. The name alone of the 10-episode series has already cast quite the buzz among long-time Wu-Tang fans of all age ranges, as it shows the gritty, raw and uncut origin story of hip-hop’s most influential rap group in history.
“I feel super good, super excited, super nervous, and super proud”, RZA said before continuing on to say, “I’m striving to inspire, while I entertain [the viewers].” Equally expressive and proud of Wu-Tang: An American Saga was a fellow clan member, Raekwon, also known as “The Chef”. “It’s like a birthday party for me”, Raekwon said with a smile. “I didn’t know all this was going to happen”, Raekwon said before continuing, “dreams can really happen, that’s what I recommend [to] all my peoples…keep believing in your dreams, yo.”
While the high-profile Hulu series may have brought back warm feelings of nostalgia for the cast and Wu-Tang Clan members, it also portrayed the mounting cocaine epidemic, crime, and gang wars in the ’90s, and its relevance within today’s society.
“I’m telling the story that’s just not nostalgic for me – I lived it”, Erika Alexander began when asked how she prepared for the role RZA’s mother, Linda Diggs. “It was a war zone, and there was a lack of education, mass incarceration; everything that we talk about now, existed” Alexander said before continuing onto say, “we’re all glad we survived it and we thrived in it, but… for all that beautiful music and creativity that went around it – there’s a lot of blood on the dance floor.”
In a similar emotional response to the series, Julian Elijah Martinez, claimed that simply finding out he would be playing the role of RZA’s brother, Mitchell “Divine” Diggs brought him to tears. “I called my mom and just [broke] down in tears”, Martinez began before addressing that the series highlighted that while New York is progressive, it’s important to be mindful of not ”[falling] too far back into our history.”
While it appears Wu-Tang: An American Saga can serve up a harsh, but honest dose of history, it also seems to have given members of the cast a sense of home, like Johnell Young who plays the role of GZA. “I was with a group of guys [whose] talent was already there but they made me feel comfortable, Johnell young said before continuing, “I would love waking up and going to work with them!”
Overall, while Wu-Tang: An American Saga may have only just premiered, it certainly seems to be a stand-out series, and definitely one to Bring Da’ Ruckus.