The Producer-Director team behind Season 6 of “The Chi” dishes on their love for Chicago and working with show creator Lena Waithe.
Deondray Gossfield and Quincy LeNear Gossfield show us that partnership, tenacity and laughter can make for a fantastic life when paired with authenticity. The producer-director Hollywood husbands exude what it means to be truth-tellers and light-bearers.
As they gear up for the Season 6 premiere of Showtime’s The Chi, they share with The Chicago Defender the joys of being a Chicagoan, being creative voices in television and what it means to stay rooted in a timeless artistry.
Chicago: The Capital of It All
“Chicago is ENERGY! It gives me everything I need, from the architecture to the people. There is no place like it on the planet. What I really love about Chicago is that it is a city of activism. There is a lot of noise here. This is a city of doers (they make things happen, especially the black folks),” said South LA native Deondray.
Added native Chicagoan Quincy Gossfield, “Chicago, for me, is a fertile crescent of art. It’s at the crossroads of the United States and embodies all of the elements of the people who migrated here from the South.”
“We brought the stories, culture and experience to the city of Chicago and created some of the greatest black artists today. So to me, it is an arts city, and as an artist growing up here, I owe that artistry to Chicago. From Jazz and Blues to spoken word, visual art, and even culinary art, Chicago is the capital of it all. It’s a live city, and when I’m home, I feel plugged back into my roots and bloodline,” Quincy said.
Grounding ‘The Chi’ in The Truth
Quincy speaks of Chicago in the kindest way, being raised as a Southsider and forever inspired by the arts. He always wanted the opportunity he has access to now.
For Quincy, it was not easy dreaming of a life as a full-time artist. So it was up to him to create the desired community where he could develop and grow. He was grateful for the lights that gave him hope along the way, awaiting his chance to do the same in the neighborhoods he grew up in.
For Deondray, being authentic ensures his work is valued and heard on television.
“Quincy and I have always grounded our work in telling the truth! We are not afraid when Hollywood tries to redefine who we are, and because of that, we can push back with, ‘I know this character. I’ve lived it. You can’t argue with my experience.’”
“When you move from a space of knowing that you are confident, there is no need for additional discussion.”
The Gossfields say working with Lena Waithe, who created “The Chi,” is fantastic.
“She approaches all her work in a genuine way, and because of that, we don’t have to do much fighting for voice and choice. She doesn’t take any mess, and she knows who she is. Her work speaks for itself and is rarely challenged, if ever, on creative, so it’s great to be a part of her team.”
The Chi: ‘This Is Us’
(L-R) Luke James as Victor and Thomas Mackie as Quincy in The Chi, Season 6, Ep. 601 (Photo, Elizabeth SissonSHOWTIME).
When authenticity is paired with intention, it produces a great product. Deondray states that “when your intention is to be authentic in your body of work, it oozes out in anything that is produced, and in our case, that is, The Chi.”
“Quincy had a great way of bringing that on-screen in one of our first directed episodes he showcased Chicago. It was essential to feature —the people, places, and streets they walked on. For any Chicagoan watching that episode, it was clear: This is us.”
Quincy adds that remaining collaborative has also aided in their success.
“No one person is a singular voice. This show is Lena’s baby. This is her idea as she created this world and these characters,” he said.
“But then she empowered her showrunners and writers to write for these characters, her directors and producers to bring life to these scripts and maintain that integrity and authenticity as we shepherd each person who pushes the intentionality of Lena’s brainchild,” said Quincy.
As for Season 6, fans can look forward to the adulting that comes with these characters. Each character is undergoing the transitions that come with life. You’re in for a treat!