From the moment Zuri Adele read the script for Freeform’s Good Trouble, she knew the role of Malika was meant for her. A spinoff of The Fosters, the show chronicles Callie and Mariana a few years after The Fosters end as they relocate to LA to begin the next phase of their lives. Living in a communal apartment building called The Coterie, Callie becomes a law clerk working while Mariana becomes a software engineer. The two navigate their young adult lives while interacting with their new neighbors and friends.
Malika is a bartender and political activist who befriends the couple. The show is now its third season and Adele says there are not many differences between herself and her on-screen character, most notably in terms of their activism and fight for equal rights for the people.
“Her passion for liberation, for Black liberation, collective liberation is something that I’ve been passionate about for several years for all of my life and having been raised in a household where that is a passion,” she tells Shadow and Act in a recent interview.
Growing up with parents who were writers and educators, Adele says a curriculum on Black history was non-negotiable. Like many students attending PWIs throughout elementary and high school, her school history books barely touched the surface of the African diaspora’s impact on the world. But at home, she learned the real deal. Going to a historically Black college furthered her worldview on Black excellence.
“When I got to Spelman, I got to learn theatre from our perspective of way before slavery and the ritual of storytelling and that’s where I really tapped into my purpose as an actor and a storyteller - or even some of my classes outside of my major like biology from a Black woman’s perspective and the perspective of what’s happening from our bodies as Black women,” she explains.
Now, she’s living out those dreams and understands the shoulders she stands on. Adele takes it seriously. When asked specifically about what the famous term “good trouble” coined by the late great John Lewis means to her, she dug deep.
“Getting into good trouble means living my most liberated and authentic life, period. Without apology. that means speaking up, that means resting when needed, that means receiving - especially for people who are descendants of the oppressed - it means receiving luxury and continuing to climb and know that we will be ancestors as well,” she says proudly.
As for what she wants to do next, Adele says the sky is the limit. She wants to take on more challenging roles, primarily in the sports film world or an action-packed role that will require a full physical transformation.
Check out the full interview with Adele where she talks about what she’s learned amid the COVID-19 quarantine, more about Good Trouble and her character, how the show mirrors everyday life with Black Lives Matter and what inspires her most.
Good Trouble airs Wednesdays on Freeform.