R&B singer Mya is hitting the small screen in Urban Movie Channel’s (UMC) gritty new series 5th Ward.
The singer and actress plays Mina, a single mother of two who is trying to take care of her sons in the historically Black neighborhood of 5th Ward in Houston.
“[The show] basically captures the gamut of problems that you can definitely see displayed in a lot of inner-city communities,” said Mya. “I really loved the script when I read it and I have a personal connection with that area.”
The “Lady Marmalade“ singer recorded her 2009 mixtape Beauty & the Streets Vol.1 in the 5th ward.
The Grammy winner channeled her experience looking after her younger brothers as a way to relate to her character.
“Dealing with the peer pressure that sons have to go through, as well as their struggle to find their manhood, was definitely something that I took into consideration,” she said. “As far as their influences in understanding them, but also as a single mother who has to crack the whip when I know my sons may be in trouble. All of that played a part.”
The series, which also stars Martin’s Carl Anthony Payne, Thomas “Nephew Tommy” Miles from Think Like a Man and Gary Sturgis, touches on race in the inner-city and is being released during a time in the country when there’s been a call to action for police reform.
“Black young men are at risk for temptation, which leads to murder, arrests, as well as the assassination by police officers,” the star said. “That is a great concern for their mothers taking that into consideration. [Mina] has to be the mother, the father and the enforcer and … not [excuse] anything, and that’s tough.”
Mya says she hopes people walk away with the lessons that the show is trying to impart.
“I would love for people to connect to the human experience,” she said. “When your back is against the wall and you feel like you’re losing faith and hope because so many things are coming at you at once, hold on. Faith, love and hope are the lessons.”
5th Ward premieres tonight on the subscription streaming service UMC, which caters to fans of Black and urban content.
Check out a trailer for 5th Ward below.
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Teddy is a multimedia journalist who serves as the culture and political writer for EBONY. His work has appeared in NBC's Owned and Operated stations, as well as DNAInfo, which covered local neighborhood news in New York City. He received his Masters in Journalism from the Craig Newmark School of Journalism at CUNY in 2017.