Aisha Hinds (Under The Dome), Tequan Richmond (Everybody Hates Chris), Alex Henderson (Empire), Sierra McClain (House Of Payne), Olivia Dawson (Empire) and Jason Weaver (The Ladykillers) have been cast in Showtime’s Chicago-set hourlong drama pilot from Dear White People‘s Lena Waithe, Common, Clark Johnson and Aaron Kaplan. The project also has brought in The Bridge co-developer/showrunner Elwood Reid as an executive producer.

showtime4__140512213840Written by writer-producer-actress Waithe, the untitled drama is described as a relevant, timely and distinctive coming-of-age story of a young African-American male in which just growing up can be a matter of life and death. Waithe executive produces with Common, Kaplan of Kapital Entertainment, Reid and Johnson, who will direct, for Fox 21 TV Studios. The pilot will film in Chicago later this year.

Richmond, repped by ICM Partners, manager Leonard Torgan and attorney Allison Binder, will play Emmett, an attractive, young African-American teen who believes his sexual prowess is what defines him. But there are consequences, as he has fathered three children by three different women. However, his attitude about what it means to be a man will be challenged when he’s forced to raise one.

Hinds, repped by Greene & Associates, is Jada Emmett’s young, single mother. Jada is strong, smart, a survivor, with a surprising mix of honesty, anger, humor and love.

Henderson plays Kevin, an adolescent whose childlike innocence collides with his pent up aggression. Kevin has seen more in his twelve years than most people have seen in their whole lives.

McClain, repped by ICM Partners and Morris Yorn, is 18-year-old Jerrika, a tightly wound restaurant manager. She and her boyfriend, Brandon, are trying to pull themselves up in the world, but the southside does not easily let them go.

Dawson will play the mother of two of the main characters Brandon and Coogie (casting TBD). A hard-drinker, she’s a woman that has never received a lot of love from her parents so when she has her own children she has very little to give.

Weaver is Ronnie, a street corner philosopher and a fixture in the neighborhood, who must go to extraordinary lengths to try and win back the love of his life.

WME-repped Reid developed the FX version of drama The Bridge with Meredith Stiehm. The two ran the series the first season, with Reid serving as sole showrunner in Season 2. He recently sold a drama to Fox with Peter Berg producing.