'Grown-ish' star talks new show and similarities to her real life

The "Black-ish" actress talks to "GMA" about the spinoff show in which her character Zoe will head to college, as she prepares to do the same in real life.
5:31 | 01/03/18

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Transcript for 'Grown-ish' star talks new show and similarities to her real life
Our next guest is an activist and actress, scholar soon heading to Harvard after getting a college recommendation letter from none other than Michelle Obama. We've watched her grow up on ABC's black plaque and now she's starting in her own spin-off show called "Grown-ish." Please welcome Yara shahidi. Hey, girl. Hello. Hi. Nice to see you. Hi. Good to see you. Good to see you. We're both big fans of "Black-ish." Beau of us. Thank you. Each and every week. Saw it last night but you are heading off to Harvard. Yeah. My goodness. As George said and, you know, you're not just picking any major. What are you going to study. I'm double paiging in social studies and African-American studies and social studies -- -- Is an interdisciplinary sociology anthropology, economics and philosophy major. Wow. Covering the waterfront. Giving you a good base. It does so I chose it because so many people I worked with in the nonprofit space ended up being social studies majors at Harvard and I thought it was a sign so I decided to work backwards. They have jobs I love so that's the major. Not even 18 yet. We also share a birthday. February 10th, yeah. But tell me about this new thing you're starting. 18 by 18 is an initiative that in the short term is focused on midterms and focused on increasing voter turnout and youth voter turnout in midterms especially for my generation who like me is turing 18 by 2018. And the importance of it is really to help us understand the political system and help us understand what policies we should care about, what we should be paying attention to because so many times we fee cuss on the major election and what's been lost for so many of our peers first time voters in the 2016 election was focusing on the local things because I feel like the presidential election took up so much space that these other policies really, I mean, went unnoticed and so it was important for me going into midterms to really stress the importance of what midterms does for the 2020 election but just in terms of establishing policy. I don't know how you find the time to do it. She does. This little TV show. "Grown-ish" will premiere tonight on freeform. Want to see a little bit of it. Let's do it. This is socially conscious photography based on the work of James Weldon. Is it or just sad photos of little black kids holding melted ice cream. I also saw a couple of sad photos of tiny black hands holding on to chain link fences. This is what I love about the writing. Did you write the James Baldwin line? Okay, so that was the writer's personal homage to my obsession with James Baldwin. I compare -- that's actually a picture of me on James Baldwin's birthday. My parents got me a gift on his birthday. But I compare my obsession to that of someone with a boy band obsession in that I have I think two James Baldwin shirt, signed copy of "Go tell it on the mountain" and James Baldwin candles, pillow. It's insane. You really went there. Going with a theme and went with it. Oh, yeah, definitely. But also a great influence on your family, prince, your father was his photographer. Yeah. Yeah? When he worked with prince as his personal photographer for a decade and in total their time together was about two decades, working alongside each other so much of my life was within the context of my father being on tour and me tagging along with my momma and my brothers. He had a picture of you, prince did, on his desk. Yes. There's -- oh, there it is. It's says to Mr. Prince. To Mr. Prince. Which really kind of summed up our relationship. He was so family oriented. I even remember when "Imagine that" came out, I was 7 when we filmed it he rented out theaters for people to go see it and also later would buy copies just to have to hand out to people. So to say that he was a supporter of our family would be an understatement. What do you hope people G out of "Grown-ish"? Honestly, "Grown-ish" has quite honestly a messy narrative and the stories that we tell don't always have clean endings but they're nonetheless our attempt of basing college experience and a semblance of reality and I'm hoping somebody gravitates to a character or maybe two or hopefully three or hopefully all of us but most importantly I think what "Grown-ish" really does represent are a group of people that are trying to figure out who they are within this new context of their life and so I feel like it's relatable no Matt whether you're in college or out of college and I think people will pull away whatever they wish to take away from it and we cover a plethora of things in our 13 episodes. What's so great, Yara -- You live that. You live that by what you said originally about the work that you're doing and it's just so wonderful to see. It's been great to watch you grow up. Now you're owl "Grown-ish." You see "Grown-ish"

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