The original series All American is based on the real life of the American football player Spencer Paysinger. The show debuted in October 2018 and continues to grace our television screens, thrilling fans with each episode.
Of the many things that have come out of All American, All American: Homecoming is probably the best so far. The spinoff bears some resemblance with the original series as it centers on the athletic lives of its characters.
But, the storyline moves away from Spencer Paysinger and his football career and introduces new characters with their own story.
So, is All American: Homecoming based on a true story? Read on for all the deets.
Is All American: Homecoming Different from All American?
Both All American and its spinoff, All American: Homecoming, are created by Nkechi Okoro Carroll. The two CW series revolve around typical family drama themes such as love, heartbreak, strained relationships, and community. But competitive sport is the overarching theme in both shows.
In July 2021, CW featured a short pilot for Homecoming, but viewers did not notice because it aired as though it was part of All American. In the pilot episode, Simone is shown visiting Bringston University, a fictional Historically Black College and University (HBCU), and decides to apply there.
We are also introduced to the scene where Damon changes his mind about joining the MLB draft and instead chooses to play basketball for Bringston.
All American: Homecoming carries over some of the cast members from the parent series, for example, Simone Hicks (Geffri Maya), who is featured as a competitive tennis player. But some new faces exist, such as Imani (Ari Beverly Carter) and Kevin Richardson (Kareem Lewis).
The original series was loosely based on the life of Spencer Paysinger, who grew up playing football for Beverly High. Paysinger moved schools from South Central Los Angeles to Beverly Hills after the school head coach recruited him.
On the other hand, Homecoming is a college scene instead of a high school one. The show is centered on Simone Hicks as she pursues her tennis career at a historically black college. The story also loops in Damon Sims (Peyton Alex Smith), who plays the character of a basketball player who works his way through the ups and downs of college life.
Homecoming Explores The World of HBCUs
Homecoming is not based on a true story. It might be a spinoff of a series inspired by a trust story, but the new show is different, independent, and seeks to tell a separate narrative.
Simone, Homecoming’s main character, debuted in All America during the second season. In the parent series, Simone dated Jordan (Michael Evans Behling). When she got pregnant, she opted to give up the baby for adoption so she could go to college and pursue her tennis career.
As a college freshman Simone faces the usual challenges and dramas that come with being a young adult. But, life is a little more bearable with her besties, Nathaniel (Rhoyle Ivy King) and Keisha (Netta Walker), by her side as they, too, navigate college life.
The spinoff also introduces us to Damon, an amazing baseball player trying to figure out life as a young adult in an HBCU. Cam Watkins (Mitchell Edwards) is a familiar face and series regular from All American. In the new series, he is still pursuing his football career at Bringston.
According to writer and Homecoming creator Nkechi Okoro Caroll, the most exciting part of creating the show was having the platform to explore and spotlight the world of historically black colleges and universities, which she says are completely underrepresented and not shown enough in the film industry.
“With Homecoming, I am hoping I can highlight the HBCU experience. Hopefully, this will help our youth open their eyes and minds to other opportunities,” Carroll said in an interview.
She added, “I am surrounded by people who attended historically black colleges and universities, and they are driven by a need to find themselves and to be in places where they are free to be whatever the version of Black they want.”
“It really matters to me that I am part of something monumental. These black students and kids who look like m deserve to be motivated, inspired, and celebrated,” said the showrunner of the American drama television series.
Geffri Maya, who plays Simone Hicks, is an alumnus of Clark Atlanta University, and being part of Homecoming holds a special meaning for her.
In an interview, the actress said HBCUs promote tenacity and the perseverance to face whatever challenges come your way.
She added, “Attending an HBCU is not a scene or script. It is an actual lived experience, a part of their lives. Homecoming is special as it allows us to convey our dreams, vision, and aspirations.”
The new spinoff series also showcases Black excellence making it all the more interesting. From the successful athletes to the professors and even the university’s president, there is a lot to admire in these black models.
Seeing different cultures represented in the young adult drama series is heartwarming. For example, Keisha is Filipino and Black, while Simone’s other friend, Nathaniel, represents the queer community, bringing to the table often difficult conversations about the challenges and biases faced by members of the LGBTQ+ community.
“The show is about representation, our culture, and of course, Black excellence. We are about pushing people to embrace themselves fully, “Carroll said.
She added, “I want to push the envelop and encourage people to think outside the box when it comes to conversations about acceptance and inclusivity.”
In addition to Geffri Maya, Peyton Smith, and Kelly Jenrette, the new series features Keisha McCalla( Netta Walker), Marcus Turner (Cory Hardrict), Sylvester Powell, and Camille Hyde.
All American: Homecoming might not be based on a true story. But many of us can relate to the series’ themes, and you do not even have to be Black to nod to these themes.
Showrunner Nkechi Carroll and the entire cast have done an excellent job of highlighting underrepresented narratives, such as the HBCUs experience, as well as the experiences of mixed-race young adults and, of course, the lived experience of members of the LGBTQ community.
The series is not just another sports drama, although that sports theme is also an interesting angle for any sports buff. It is also about supporting inclusivity, conquering bias, and highlighting the importance of acceptance in our communities.