A First Look At John Singleton’s FX Series ‘Snowfall’: “This Is How Crack Began”

SNOWFALL -- Pictured: Damson Idris as Franklin Saint. CR: Michael Yarish/FX

It was an epidemic that began in South Central Los Angeles in 1983, slowly festering until it ravaged inner city Black communities across the country.

John Singleton’s forthcoming FX series, Snowfall, is set in the early 1980’s and chronicles what really went on during the early days of the crack cocaine rage. Crack came into South Central and then went everywhere else, changing everything that it touched forever.

Set to premiere on FX this summer, Snowfall follows a series of characters who collide violently on their quest for power during this turbulent time. Newcomer Damson Idris leads as Franklin Saint, a young street entrepreneur. Rounding out the cast is Gustavo Zapata (Sergio Peris-Mencheta), a Mexican wrestler who finds himself in the clutches of a notorious crime family, Lucia Villanueva (Emily Rios), the haughty daughter of a crime lord and Teddy McDonald (Carter Hudson), a CIA operative running from a dark past. The series is will open in the summer of 1983, and by the end, we will find ourselves in 1984, which was essentially the war zone depicted in the opening sequence of the N.W.A biopic, Straight Outta Compton.

At the Television Critics Association earlier this year, Singleton said of the dark and gritty series, “If you went to South Central [before the crack epidemic], there weren’t any bars on windows; there were less fences. This happens, and Snowfall prevails on neighborhoods, changing alliances and families.”

Academy Award-nominated Singleton and his writing staff did not rely on any source materials for the series, however they did use consultants to make sure they got the period just right. One of their main sources was Los Angeles Poet Laureate Luis J. Rodriguez, who was a former gang member and drug user during the 1960s and 1970s. Snowfall’s executive producer and showrunner, Dave Andron said of the series, “People described the period like a bomb being dropped.”

Snowfall is the second highly anticipated series from the Boyz n the Hood director to premiere this year. John Singleton’s Rebel premieres March 28th at 9 PM ET on BET.