Ava DuVernay is a mastermind of emotional storytelling. She’s taken us on enriching journeys in the likes of Selma, When They See Us and the ongoing Queen Sugar, exploring mesmerizing people, imperfect lives and sometimes arduous journeys both real and fictitious. Now she introduces us to a softer, slow-burn love story with her new anthology series Cherish the Day. The series follows the romance of one couple over five years, with each of the eight episodes uniquely focused on just a single day in their relationship.
Xosha Roquemore (The Mindy Project) stars as the independent, free-spirited Gently James, who makes her living caring for the famed performer Miss Luma Lee Langston (played by the trailblazing Cicely Tyson, now 95). Gently’s got a bit of an attention deficit when it comes to her men — none of them can quite hold her attention — until she meets Evan Fisher (Alano Miller, Underground), a successful, well-mannered business analyst who seems to have it all, but his life lacks passion and purpose. Here we get deep with Alano and Xosha …
He Said / She Said
When you first heard about Ava DuVernay’s new project — and eventually read the script — what excited you about it?
Alano Miller: I’ve always been a fan of romance and rom-coms. I really grew up on R&B, and was just a true romantic. So to have the opportunity to be a part of adding to the lexicon of black love was a no-brainer. I thought the idea of doing an anthology and exploring moments big and small through a relationship sounded like a fun challenge. Love is not only what we need, but it connects each and every one of us.
Xosha Roquemore: First and foremost, I was excited to work with Ava! I mean, what a dream. It didn’t hurt that the character, Gently, was unlike any character I’d seen in a black love story. Just good storytelling and great, multifaceted characters.
The dialogue between your characters at times is so poignant, it makes you pause and reflect on your own life. What’s a line that still sticks with you?
Alano: “People want to be around happy people more than people who aren’t happy. So why not try our best to make each other happy. In every interaction … in every moment.”
Xosha: “That’s just who I am.” The line Gently says during her and Evan’s first hard conversation in Episode 2. This resonates with me because we often feel so isolated because of our past. This is a moment where Gently owns herself and her sordid background.
The series follows your characters’ relationship over five years, each episode sharing one day in their life. What’s your favorite year in their relationship and why?
Alano: There’s a moment in the third episode where Evan says “I love you” for the first time. It’s not necessarily saying it aloud that spoke to me, but how Evan makes love a verb by standing up for his love of Gently. He turns it from a sentiment to an action, and that gesture — those sustained gestures — are what love is all about.
Xosha: My favorite time would be when they first meet because everything is new and fresh. And I love watching people get to know each other.
Offscreen, what gives you happiness and purpose?
Alano: I think for me right now, the unknown really excites me. One thing I share with Evan is a sense of order, and I’ve been challenging myself not only to grow accustomed to not knowing what’s next, but being excited by it. Being the architect of my own life’s experience. It’s been a beautiful challenge being present and appreciating every surprise that life has to offer.
Xosha: My daughter gives me happiness and purpose every day!! She’s my favorite person in the world.
Cherish the Day
Two-night premiere Wednesday, Feb. 12 and Thursday, Feb. 13