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'The Chi' cast members from Chicago talk about hit show

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"The Chi" cast members Shamon Brown, Tai Davis and Michael Epps are all Chicago natives. (WLS)

Showtime's "The Chi," which is filmed in Chicago and depicts life on the South Side, debuted last month and has been embraced by viewers and critics.

And many of the cast members are Chicagoans.

The dramatic series delves into the lives of a group of people who become connected by circumstance, but it's the nuanced portrayal of the neighborhoods and residents that gives the show its appeal.

"We want our African American youth to be seen as beautiful instead of dangerous," said Shamon Brown, who plays "Papa."

Brown, 13, plays is one of a trio of adolescent friends who struggle with dodging the adult problems in their neighborhood.

Actor Michael Epps plays "Jake."

"He's trying to be friends and stay on the right track, but at the same time, his brother is pulling him down the wrong path and pulling him from his friends, which is hurting Jake because Jake still wants to be a child," Epps said.

Epps, Brown and Tai Davis, who plays "Tracy" are all Chicago natives.

"Tracy" is a mother who lost her son to violence, but her character is not sympathetic to many viewers.
"People who follow me on Twitter and some who don't, they'll say horrible things about Tracy and I'm like, 'Yeah, you're right. She's horrible. She's awful.' And they're like, 'OMG, it's you! That's OK because you're doing a great job."

The show was created by Emmy-award winning writer and Chicago native Lena Waithe, who wanted to show the complexities of growing up on the South Side.

"The Chi" has already been picked up for a second season.

"(Season 2 is) gonna be juicier than ever," Davis said. "I'm so excited about this Season 2, you have no idea."

Watch the series at 9 p.m. Sundays on Showtime.

For more about "The Chi," visit: http://www.sho.com/the-chi

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