After struggling to balance her professional political career with her activism, Malika (Zuri Adele) finally rediscovers her voice in the “Good Trouble” Season 4 finale.
In attending a protest to protect a community of unhoused folks from being displaced, she not only reignites her own passion for on-the-ground activism, she also encourages the city councilwoman she works for to take a stand as well. It’s a triumphant moment for Malika, who has been longing to be back on the front lines instead of sitting at a desk.
“It’s actually a major growth spurt professionally, and I really liked seeing her take charge,” Adele told TheWrap. “It makes me excited to fantasize about Malika having a lot of political power in Los Angeles.”
In a new interview with TheWrap, Adele chats about what she’s learned from her character’s journey and where she hopes to see Malika in Season 5. (And yes, she’d also like to see Malika and Isaac reunite).
TheWrap: Season 4 was really big for Malika’s growth professionally and personally. How are you feeling about where we leave her this season?
Adele: I really love seeing and experiencing Malika’s professional development, and I love she’s exploring multiple ways of being an abolitionist. She’s working with from within the political system. It’s actually a major growth spurt professionally, and I really liked seeing her take charge. It makes me excited to fantasize about Malika having a lot of political power in Los Angeles, because [she can] make a difference from a place of having been unhoused, a place of having been marginalized and being raised by a woman who needed a lot more support who was impacted by incarceration. All of the pressing needs of the Los Angeles communities that she wants to serve, she’s experienced firsthand. And now she’s learning from Lucia, whether she likes how she’s learning it or not, she’s learning how to be a boss. She started to feel and visualize herself as more and more of a leader. I’m excited to see over time what type of leadership role she takes on because she clearly wants to be the boss. I grow alongside Malika, so I’m learning all of those lessons more and more at the same time as my career starts to blossom thanks to ‘Good Trouble.’ We’re on a journey.
I also thought it was really nice to see her finally decide where she was going to draw the line when it came to her personal values. That protest for the unhoused community was important to her, and it was great to see her really stand her ground.
There’s so much crossover with young professionals [and] how and when we decide to take a stance for something and leverage the platforms that we have. So I love that Malika get is moving through that. The writers are giving her such great permission to not be perfect. That helps me while I’m portraying her to remember that it’s okay to stumble through it and learn as we go, like in my own life. I hope that Malika does that for other people, because she’s definitely learning to also be accountable when she doesn’t do things right.
Yeah, you previously mentioned to me how it’s easy to forget that these characters can resonate so strongly with other people.
I mean, we film in such an intimate space, in many ways. Even though we’re filming, like, crazy protest scenes with a crowd of actors, there’s so many times where we’re filming it with [just] the same creative community we’ve established on set. So I forget in in that moment, which I think is a good thing to be really present while doing it. It’s such a pleasant reminder that so many people are watching and digesting this in particular.
So as Zuri, what has been your biggest takeaway from going on this journey with Malika?
My biggest takeaway has been to release perfectionism. What I admire about Malika is that she will follow her passion and ask questions later, and she doesn’t need everything to be planned out perfectly before she takes a stand for something. I’m learning to do that as well. I love how thoughtful she’s been, while also giving her permission to learn as she’s going. She’s also learning to be responsible for her own energy. [In the finale], Malika shows up to speak to this group of unhoused people, and however faithful she is about it or negative she is about it, she’s the one delivering the message and being the liaison between the city council and this community. No matter how distraught or distracted she might be in other areas of her life, she does take the responsibility to, as best as she can, show up with a lot of passion and hope and faith. That’s something that I’m constantly learning to do, like no matter what’s going on in my personal life, not in a way to ignore it, but to also remember that when I show up to set or show up to conversations or show up to any space, I’m representing this show and what the show represents. My energy will have an impact on everyone. It’s really important to me, being empowered to know that we’re the leader of whatever energetic experience we want to have in a space. She is the leader of a lot of spaces right now.
To your point, there’s multiple moments in the finale where she really chooses her energy and she sees the positive effects of that almost immediately.
It was also authentic. It wasn’t like a fake positivity. She was still in her feelings, but like you said, choosing to highlight the positive and be solution-oriented.
What are you looking forward to with Season 5?
Malika for president at some point. I want her to keep growing in the political world from the perspective of someone who has worked so much in the nonprofit activism space. This time period is such a perfect time to explore that. I don’t know if it’s entertaining enough, but I do hope that she gives herself a little time with herself romantically like, maybe takes a pause. I hope she takes some time to get really clear on what she actually wants and needs in her personal relationships, platonic and romantic. I am excited to see her continue to cultivate like her chosen family without being attached to what the societal norms are. I love that she’s already doing that by exploring polyamory. And I definitely want her to call Isaac again.
I’m so glad you said that, because Malika and Isaac were truly my favorite couple.
[Laughs]. I was like, ‘Should I say it?’ It’s my truth. I love that she took space from Isaac. That was so empowering for her. After the things that have transpired through Season 4, I am excited for her to have a conversation with him. I mean, it doesn’t have to be romantic, but they have a lot to learn from each other. They have really different perspectives about how to approach activism and how to approach their work and their passions. I feel like there’s something unfinished there that would somehow clear some space for her.