After six seasons on NBC’s “Chicago Med,” former “All My Children” actress Yaya DaCosta (ex-Cassandra Foster) has joined the FOX drama “Our Kind of People” inspired by the book by Laurence Otis Graham and produced by Karin Gist (“Star,” “mixed-ish”) and Lee Daniels (“Star,” “Empire”). The first two episodes of the series, including the pilot, will be directed by Tasha Smith, the multi-hyphenated actress, director, producer and coach.
“After six amazing seasons of working with some of the most dedicated people in the business, learning wild medical jargon, growing as an actor and as a person… my time as April Sexton on ‘Chicago Med’ has come to a close,” wrote DaCosta on Instagram following the news of her exit. “I am so grateful to Dick Wolf, Peter Jankowski, showrunners Andy Schneider and Diane Frolov, our producers (and stellar directors) Michael Waxman and Michael Pressman, and the entire Wolf Entertainment team for believing in me from the show’s very inception, and for giving April wings to explore such dynamic storylines. The cast and crew were so good to me and the background actors gave me so much energy and love, even in silence.”
According to Deadline, “Our Kind of People” finds DaCosta portraying single mother Angela Vaughn who is set to reclaim her family’s name and make an impact with her revolutionary haircare line that highlights the innate, natural beauty of black women. However, she soon discovers a dark secret about her mother’s past that will turn her world upside-down and shake up this community forever. The series takes place in the aspirational world of Oak Bluffs on Martha’s Vineyard, a historical stronghold where the rich and powerful black elite have come to play for more than 50 years.
As part of her role on “Med,” DaCosta has also appeared on “Chicago Fire” and “Chicago P.D.” during their epic crossover events. In 2015, she portrayed Whitney Houston in the Lifetime made-for “Whitney,” which told the iconic singer’s story from her early career to the end of her marriage to Bobby Brown. In 2008, DaCosta was cast as Cassandra Foster on “AMC,” the adopted daughter of Angela Hubbard and Jacob Foster during their time on the short-lived soap “The City.”
“Magic is something you create, and showrunner Karin Gist has given new life to the special story that is ‘Our Kind of People,'” said Smith on news of her directing for the new series. “I am honored and thrilled to bring Karin’s work to life alongside executive producer Lee Daniels, who is a wonderful producer and mentor to me.”
In addition to the upcoming FOX drama, Smith has also directed episodes of ABC’s “Big Sky,” STARZ hit drama “P-Valley,” several episodes of FOX’s “911,” and The CW’s “Black Lightning.” Additionally, she’s helming the upcoming STARZ series, “Black Mafia Family,” where she also serves as executive producer, directing the pilot along with multiple episodes.