More and more people are paying attention to women-led athletics, and finally, there’s a show that puts such at the center. Spectrum Originals’ latest sports drama Long Slow Exhale is set in the high-stakes world of women’s college basketball. The 12-episode series follows J.C. Abernathy (Rose Rollins), a successful Head Coach of a competitive women’s college basketball team who finds herself in the middle of a sexual abuse scandal that could shake her career for the worst. As she tries to find the truth among the many secrets she uncovers, she has to make hard decisions that will affect her, her family, and the team of female athletes who all rely on her.
The series also stars Josh Lucas (University Athletic Director Hilman Ford), Ian Harding (Assistant Coach Eddie Hagen), Famke Janssen (Dr. Melinda Barrington), Lyriq Bent (Garrett), Shalini Bathina (Emily), Tony Gonzalez (Desmond), Enajite Esegine (Jordan), Brittney Elena (Corrine), Jazmine Stewart (Verdell), Isabella Star LaBlanc (Elfrina), Carmen Flood (Nikki) and Erin Croom (Lorna).
The series will also make its way to BET as well. In the meantime, the cast sat with Shadow and Act to speak on the show, its complex storylines, and its relevance to social conversations happening in real-time.
For Tony Gonzalez, it’s a mixture of the subject matter being centered on female athletes, as well as the specific story arc of his character and daughter. Gonzalez says such stories haven’t been told in this way before.
“It’s very relevant with a lot of stuff in collegiate sports, the competitiveness. I love that it showcases female sports at the highest level in college basketball. The relationships that go on between the girls on the team, the structure behind what it goes into to run in a powerhouse college, and then the stories with them,” he told us. “The story between Brittney and I have in there as a father daughter relationship and the pressures that come with that wanting the best out of her. Her wanting to find her own way to get out of the shadow of my character is so much goes, and I love the whole story.”
Rose Rollins feels the show tackles what’s happening in terms of not just female athleticism, but also the overarching issues that women face daily. With the #TimesUp and #MeToo movements being a recurring theme, the show comes at a perfect time.
“I think it’s very current and I think a lot of the issues that it tackles, for instance, sexual assault and how we’re now in a time where we are speaking up, where it’s no longer acceptable, where we’re getting rid of the shame involved in there is there – There’s support,” Rollins explains. “I think this show gives a voice to so many who have been silenced for so long. And I think it’s a very powerful place to be right now where we are.”
Watch the full interview with the cast above.