Star of legal drama ‘Delilah’ says her character champions the voiceless

Brad Ogbanna Maahra Hill, star of legal drama “Delilah” on Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN)

Maahra Hill stars in “Delilah,” a legal drama on the Oprah Winfrey Network, created by the same team behind its popular drama “Greenleaf.”

Hill plays Delilah Connell, a woman the actress describes as “a voice for the voiceless. She would be in the forefront defending people like George Floyd. She would be fighting on behalf of the majority of the world for sure.”

More than a fierce legal eagle, Hill’s character is a family woman, a divorcee, mom of two biological children, and caregiver of her nephew. “She’s very much for family. I think she is similar to most women in that she’s wearing multiple hats, being many things to many people,” Hill stated.

“For Delilah,” said Hill, who delayed her own acting career until her daughter was almost an adult, “parenting is on the forefront of her life. She wants to be available for her kids, similar to what I wanted to do for my daughter; able to drop them off, pick them up, have dinner with them.”

Wanting to give her daughter as much attention as she needed, Hill was a stay-at-home mom for many years. “Fortunately, I was in a position where I didn’t have to work.”

A somewhat nomadic existence as a child living in Illinois, Ohio, and Texas made Hill comfortable with change. “Change is a constant in life. I’m always prepared to adjust and adapt.”

Traveling to the subcontinent of India as a child also shaped Hill’s worldview. “My mother went for spiritual journeys. We went to Puna, although it might have a different name now. As an adult, it’s cemented in me as much respect for Eastern philosophy as I have for the West.”

During high school in Illinois, Hill was on the speech team where she won the state championship for dramatic interpretation. “That was where my love for acting grew,” she shared.

Once her daughter started college, Hill began flying out to Los Angeles and doing commercials, then moving into guest spots on TV shows about five years ago. She points to working with Laurence Fishburne on “Black-ish” and Viola Davis on “How To Get Away With Murder” as the highlights of her career prior to landing the lead role on “Delilah.”

It isn’t lost on Hill that she is part of the same club as Davis and other women like Meghan Markel, African-descended women who have played lawyers on TV. “Following in their footsteps in any way,” she said, “is an honor.”

Comparing her character to Davis’ Annalise Keating, she stated, “For sure, Delilah and Viola’s character have a lot in common. They’re both strong, intelligent women who are passionate about their work.” That, however, is where the commonalities end for Hill. “I don’t want to be judgmental, but Delilah has a very strong moral compass and leads with integrity.”

One of the great things about “Delilah,” is the sprawling network of family, friends, and colleagues with whom the lead character interacts from the outset. There’s always someone for Delilah to spar or commiserate with. One of those characters is Tamara, also a lawyer and Delilah’s best friend, played by Jill Marie Jones of “Girlfriends” fame.

Hill shared that the veteran TV actress has been invaluable to her as she tackles her very first starring role. “It’s been great working with her. She and I have developed a real friendship. She has a wealth of experience and is too happy to share.”

With a relationship that may remind viewers of Molly and Issa of “Insecure,” the two intelligent strong-willed, passionate friends’ bond is tested when they end up on opposite sides of the courtroom. “They’ve been friends since middle school and it’s the most intense experience they’ve had in their friendship.”

It isn’t just her lawyer character that draws Hill to discussions around the law. “I was interested in political science as a major in college. I’ve always considered social justice.” She added, “Most important is knowing that your vote counts. You want to put people in who will fight for the things that are important to you.”

Hill also said that having real-life lawyers like Michelle Obama and Kamala Harris in positions of visibility is important for all Americans. “Wherever we can have an image of ourselves in an empowered position, who is also nurturing and compassionate, it is great for young girls and hopefully increases feelings of empowerment for the whole community.”

About Nadine Matthews

Nadine Matthews is a contributing writer at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder. She can be reached at nmatthews@spokesman-recorder.com or on Twitter at @deeniemedia.

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