"All American" is bringing the heat for season 2!
"We just had our first table read and the mysteries and some of the deceit continues. You've got family drama and then obviously that's going to fall into team drama, and friendship drama as well," he said about show, which returns on Oct. 7. "We're still dealing with very contemporary and pertinent issues that youth are dealing with today, with race and social dynamics."
"All American" always had a loyal following and positive reviews, but it was an early launch on Netflix that breathed new life into the show. The ratings boost helped to seal a second season for the teen drama, which gave Taye and the rest of the cast a sigh of relief.
"We had such a great time shooting the first season and thankfully, because of Netflix, they've got the show out there and we've got a huge fanbase now," he shared. "It was a mixture of relief—because we all wanted to continue shooting the show—and just proud. We knew that what we were working on was quality. It was just a matter of getting people to put their eyes on it. So, we felt vindicated as well. We knew that we were putting out material that we thought people could, should and would enjoy. So, we feel very grateful."
Taye plays an educator on screen, but he is also a teacher in real life. The 48-year-old star taught master classes at Santa Clara University in the performing arts and was raised by a teacher as a child–an experience that lead him to partner with Burlington Stores and AdoptAClassroom.org on a school funding campaign.
"I love being around kids, I love the energy. I love being in a classroom because it played such a major role in my upbringing," he explained. "I've always had a passion for kids. I have one of my own, so it starts there, but even more importantly I was raised by educators. My mother was, and still continues to teach, I have a sister that teaches and now, I've started teaching myself. So, I know the importance of education and part of that is having the necessary school supplies."
The "Best Man" actor stressed the importance of properly funded classrooms at a New York event where he surprised teachers from six Manhattan school districts with a $100K donation, funded by Burlington, on July 16. There, the father of one shared how he wouldn't be the accomplished actor he is today without education.
"[I remember] how excited I was to go to school when I had the proper supplies because there was something about being able to bust open that new packet of pencils, the new trapper keeper. I don't know if you remember Erasermates—those were like the sneakers of back then—everybody needed to have the latest in school supplies. I remember the years when I wasn't kind of prepared and just that feeling that you bring into the classroom."
He continued, "That obviously has an effect on how you learn. You're in a better mood when you're feeling more confident. You're open to being educated in a better way. That played a major role–for me I couldn't wait to get into the voice classes, the dance classes."
Burlington customers are encouraged to support the campaign by donating $1 or more at any Burlington store nationwide through Aug. 17. Funds will be donated to a nearby classroom where there is a Burlington store.