'Grown-ish' star Yara Shahidi talks tackling tough topics in new show

Shahidi discussed her new show "Grown-ish."

ByABC News
January 3, 2018, 3:04 PM

— -- Yara Shahidi, break-out star of “Black-ish,” discussed how her new show “Grown-ish” is taking on tough topics for young adults.

Shahidi told “The View” the new show confronts prescription drug use on campus -- and more broadly, “different views … on drug addiction,” normalization of drug culture and how students are “inheriting … these pre-set up institutions.”

She agreed with co-host Sunny Hostin’s description of the show as “a learning experience,” especially because her character, Zoey Johnson, is older in the shows than Shahidi is.

“There’s certain things she's experiencing before [they] even become a reality in my world,” Shahidi said.

Shahidi said she has done “fact-checking” about the show’s depiction of college experiences by “calling friends … and asking, 'Does this happen!?'"

She also spoke about the pressure for young women to send explicit photos in college.

“It speaks to the infrastructure that a lot of young girls have been placed in -- whether it's pressure from other people around them or even pressure from social media,” she said.

“I think there's a message that's being sent about our bodies and our bodies being sexualized at such a young age…. It's seemingly insane. It’s like, ‘I just got through puberty and now this!?’”

She described the shame and condemnation women face when explicit photos of their bodies are published as “a double standard.”

“We have a society that objectifies women's bodies and at the same time, when these images come out, images that many people have been pressured into taking, then they're punished for taking them,” she said.

Shahidi also sat down with “Good Morning America,” where she spoke about similarities between herself and her character Zoey, including their love of writer James Baldwin.

“I compare my obsession to that of somebody with a boy band!” she joked, continuing to list her remarkable collection of Baldwin memorabilia: “Two James Baldwin shirts, a signed copy of ‘Go Tell It on the Mountain,’ I have James Baldwin candles, [a] James Baldwin pillow … it's insane!”