Hot off of the success of The New Edition Story, BET has some more compelling dramatic offerings up its sleeve this year. One of those is The Quad, a new series about the trials and tribulations of the students and faculty of Georgia A&M, a fictional HBCU (Historically Black College or University). After seeing this short sneak peek of the series, what immediately grabbed me was the complexity of each of the characters, and I think you can thank the exceptional cast of The Quad for that.
Perhaps the reason why it seems like the cast of The Quad will be so successful is because it kind of has a little bit of everything. You have your veteran actors and your ingenues, your TV stars and your stage thespians. You've even got people who are musically inclined. Hopefully, the actor behind aspiring rapper Cedric Hobbs, Peyton Alex Smith, is one such performer.
Most importantly, every member of The Quad cast is talented, and it looks like they're going to give performances that are as nuanced as the series' stories and themes themselves. If you couldn't already tell, I'm pretty jazzed for The Quad to premiere myself, and I'm even more excited that I get to see these actors onscreen in a series of this caliber.
Anika Noni Rose As Dr. Eva Fletcher
I am so happy to see Anika Noni Rose in another starring role as Dr. Eva Fletcher in The Quad. Rose has wowed me as one of the Dreams, Lorell, in Dreamgirls and Tiana in The Princess and the Frog, as well as a whole host of TV roles in series like The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency, Private Practice, The Good Wife, and Power. She's also been featured in event series and other films like the recent Roots remake and For Colored Girls. But Rose has really gained acclaim for her stage work, winning the 2004 Tony for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for Caroline, or Change and earning a Tony nomination for Best Featured Actress in a Play for A Raisin in the Sun.
Rose will be calling the shots as Dr. Fletcher on The Quad. She's the new, smart, and straight-laced president of Georgia A&M. It looks like her ability to lead a HBCU will come into question. The fact that her daughter, Sydney, is a bit of a party animal is probably not going to help, either.
Peyton Alex Smith As Cedric Hobbs
Peyton Alex Smith is one of The Quad cast members who is relatively new to show business. He has appeared in a handful of projects previously, including Mad Money, The Longshots, Carter High, and Luke Cage. But it looks like Smith will really grab the spotlight in The Quad as Cedric Hobbs, a Georgia A&M student who hopes to be the next big thing in hip hop. As Smith describes in this behind-the-scenes clip on BET's website, Cedric hails from Chicago, and he experienced a tragedy before coming to Georgia A&M. The series will show him trying to adjust to life at a HBCU.
Jazz Raycole As Sydney Fletcher
Jazz Raycole may look young, but she has been acting for more than 20 years. Raycole has appeared in lots of different TV shows, including My Wife & Kids, Jericho, and The Soul Man. In The Quad, Raycole plays Sydney Fletcher, the daughter of Georgia A&M's president, Dr. Fletcher. It looks like Sydney is a bit wilder than her mom is — and probably more than she would like her daughter to be, too.
Ruben Santiago-Hudson As Cecil Diamond
You've probably seen at least one of the projects that Ruben Santiago-Hudson has been a part of prior to joining The Quad cast. He has appeared in everything from Law & Order to Devil's Advocate to American Gangster to Castle to Selma to Billions.
There seems to be more than meets the eye with his character in The Quad. Cecil Diamond is the director of Georgia A&M's prestigious band, the Marching Mountain Cats. Unfortunately for the band members and Dr. Fletcher, who will take him to task over how he leads the group on The Quad, it looks like he's going to be a little less like the titular character in Mr. Holland's Opus and a lot more like the jazz band leader in Whiplash. I don't want to know what happens if you don't play this guy's tempo.
Zoe Renee As Noni Williams
My face after the week I spent snuggled up with my people. 🌞❤️ pic.twitter.com/Pbzwxjw3xy— Zoe Renee (@thezoerenee) November 27, 2016
Zoe Renee plays a freshman hoping to walk on to the Marching Mountain Cats in The Quad. Similarly, The Quad is really Renee's first major acting gig. Here's hoping she lands many more auditions in the future, fictional and real.
Michelle Defraites As Madison Kelly
You may have previously seen Michelle Defraites in movies and TV shows like the legendary Lifetime original movie The Pregnancy Pact, House, Rizzoli & Isles, and Project Almanac. However, The Quad promises to be one of her most high-profile roles yet. Defraites plays Madison Kelly in the series, a student who has the unique position of being one of the only white students at this HBCU.
Jake Allyn As BoJohn Folsom
Similar to Defraites, Jake Allyn plays BoJohn Folsom, another one of the only white students at the school. BoJohn is a football player whose name will forever make me think of BoJack Horseman. Before The Quad, Allyn appeared as an actor in reenactments of Sex Sent Me to the ER, The Middle, and in a small movie called Drone Wars. Now that is an interesting career.
Sean Blakemore As Eugene Hardwick
Sean Blakemore has had a long career full of fascinating roles before joining the cast of The Quad. He's had a recurring role as Shawn Butler on General Hospital, appeared on CSI: Cyber, and on Devious Maids. He plays Eugene Hardwick on The Quad, who is the school's athletics director and head coach of the football team.
E. Roger Mitchell As Carlton Pettiway
Fans of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire film may recognize E. Roger Mitchell as Chaff, the ill-fated male tribute from District 11. But if that franchise wasn't really your thing, you may have seen Mitchell in Flight or Selma, as well as on your TV screen in shows like One Tree Hill, The Shield, or Devious Maids. In The Quad, Mitchell plays Carlton Pettiway, the dean of students who is not as big of a fan of Dr. Fletcher as he may initially seem.
Jasmine Guy As Ella Grace Caldwell
Jasmine Guy is a TV legend who made a name for herself playing southern belle Whitley Gilbert on The Cosby Show spinoff A Different World. Funnily enough, Whitley was a student at a HBCU, and Guy won six consecutive NAACP Image Awards for her work on the role. Guy went on to appear in Touched by an Angel, Dead Like Me, K.C. Undercover, and The Vampire Diaries.
Guy plays Dr. Fletcher's colleague Ella Grace Caldwell on The Quad. She'll be one of the few friendly shoulders that Dr. Fletcher can lean on among an administration that doesn't seem to respect her leadership so much, according to Yahoo TV.
The ladies of The Quad gotta stick together, but what's going to be interesting about this series is seeing everything at this HBCU fall apart.