When it comes to having that it factor, Danielle Pinnock is truly that girl.
From recurring roles on CBS’s Young Sheldon, HBO’s A Black Lady Sketch Show and EPIX’s Get Shorty, to epic guest spots on ABC’s Scandal and NBC’s This Is Us, Pinnock has truly been a force to be reckoned with. Now, she is bringing her talent to a CBS’s coveted Thursday night comedy block as Alberta in the new comedy series Ghosts.
Pinnock brings a Prohibition-era lounge singer-turned-ghost to life as Alberta navigates life as she’s trapped in a modern-day country estate that was recently inherited by two tenants who certainly didn’t expect to be greeted with a few friendly guests.
She spoke to S&A recently to talk about navigating a creative career as a first-generation Jamaican American, her role as the only Black person on the show and what’s next as she continues to evolve as a classically-trained stage actress.
A dream come true
For Pinnock, none of this would be possible without the support of her family.
“First of all, I just want to give a shout-out to my mom and my grandmother,” she chuckled. “I was raised in a women’s only household. Three generations of women raised me and I just have to shout them out because as Jamaicans, the career is always to be a doctor, be an engineer, or be a lawyer. They really took a chance on me with this acting moment.”
It was an acting moment that started early but was always met with a large family who knew how to show up and show out.
“I’m so glad that they truly believed in me and were just the most supportive family ever even throughout my school plays in high school,” Pinnock recalled. “They would all hop on the church bus. My mom has 12 brothers and sisters and I have a ton of cousins so everyone would come and bring food and do all of these things.”
She remembers her roles in “Bye Bye Birdie” and “Peter Pan” during her high school years where her family would be front and center applauding her no matter how small or big the role.
“I just am so grateful for the family that I was born into because they truly are the most supportive people I’ve ever had in my life…truly.”
Being a Black character in the 1920s
As the only Black person on Ghosts, Pinnock credits the writers for ensuring that people can actually see themselves within her character.
“I would have to say shout out to the writer’s room because everyone in the cast is represented in the writer’s room,” said Pinnock. “We have a Black female writer, Lauren, who is incredible and when we first got into the process of goals, they allowed the entire cast to meet the writer’s room and it was then that we just shared our personal stories and how we truly felt about that time period.”
The 1920s, much like today, were not set up for Black people to win because while our people were fabulous and gorgeous back then, racism, much like today, was still loud and proud.
“I think a lot of times what can happen on network television is that diversity is used as a decoration where it’s like we have a diverse cast, but for seasons, we don’t have any background information on who these people truly are, if they even have families,” she expressed. “I mean a lot of times they are just in place to serve the white story and for something like this, that’s not the case with this show at all. We’re going to get into these deep flashbacks, obviously with a comedic twist.”
Checking off the bucket list
Not only is Pinnock bringing her comedic expertise as Alberta in Ghosts, but she continues to check off her bucket list.
It was recently announced that Unmentionables, the adult-animated series that she co-created with Punam Patel of Netflix’s Special is currently being developed for television by Emmy award-winning producer Anthony Hemingway and Taraji P. Henson.
Watch Danielle Pinnock on CBS’s Ghosts each and every Thursday at 9 p.m.
Check out the interview below: