John Legend will be playing historical abolitionist Frederick Douglass in the upcoming season of WGN America’s Underground, Variety reports. The singer is also the executive producer of the period drama show, which will premiere its second season in early 2017.
“We are in a moment now where we have a major candidate for office that is being very racist and divisive,” Legend said in reference to Donald Trump at Variety‘s TV Summit prior to the casting reveal. “I feel the need to call that out all the time because I don’t want us to feel like it’s impossible for our nation to go back to another dark place.”
Underground's performers include Jurnee Smollett-Bell (True Blood), Aldis Hodge (Straight Outta Compton), Jessica De Gouw (Arrow), Alano Miller (Jane the Virgin) and Law & Order: SVU's Christopher Meloni.
Along with working on the show, Legend will star in the movie La La Land, out in December. Below, watch the singer reveal if he listens to his own music to set the mood: