Skip to content Skip to footer

The Express Way With Dulé Hill


Actor Dulé Hill takes viewers on a creative, artistic journey in new docuseries The Express Way

From sea to shining sea, Americans express their creativity, and the new, four-part documentary series The Express Way With Dulé Hill looks at the ways self-expression and creativity are intertwined. Featuring artists from four different corners of the United States, the series looks at the ways these individuals use art to make connections within and outside of their communities. As host DulŽ Hill joins artists in California, the Appalachian region, Texas and Chicago to learn how they use their artwork to challenge views and blaze a trail for others to follow in the future, viewers appreciate the lengths to which art goes in breaking down barriers and making room for everyone to be included.

Known for his roles in The Wonder Years, Psych and The West Wing, Hill shares his cross-country journey to meet with local artists, receiving an inside look at their work and the place it holds in their communities.

The Express Way With Dulé Hill on PBS. Pictured: Singer-songwriter Amythyst Kiah meets with Dulé Hill in Tennessee.
Todd Roeth

“The power of the human spirit is really an inspiring thing. There are many people in this world who create space out of nothing. They are the ones turning on the light, setting the path, and then guiding others along the journey,” said Hill. “As a lifelong dancer, actor and singer, the arts are what drive me. There’s something about when you see yourself reflected that allows you to believe that you exist.” 

Shaheem Sanchez, known for his performance in the 2019 film Sound of Metal, is a deaf dancer based in Los Angeles. Hill meets with Sanchez in the first episode, connecting over a shared passion for dance before getting to know other artists across California, including the Grant Avenue Follies, a group of senior-citizen cabaret performers who use their art to combat anti-Asian hate while celebrating San Francisco’s historic Chinatown. Before he crosses the country, Hill meets trailblazing musicians in Los Angeles’s own Mariachi Arcoiris, the world’s first LGBTQ+ mariachi group.

The Express Way With Dulé Hill on PBS. Pictured: Dulé Hill dances with members of the Infinite Flow Dance Group in Los Angeles.
Larkin Donley

Then, visiting the Appalachian region, Hill gets a thorough musical education. In Kentucky, he meets first with Doug Naselroad, the founder and director of Troublesome Creek Stringed Instrument Company. His program, The Culture of Recovery, teaches people to make stringed instruments as an assistive outlet while they recover from opioid addiction.

In Johnson City, Tennessee, Grammy-nominated bluegrass musician Amythyst Kiah (“Black Myself”) teaches Hill about the history of Black artists in traditional American music. The founder of “Latin-grass,” musician Joe Troop (“Red, White & Blues”), shares how he fused folk music with bluegrass instrumentation and continues to innovate with his latest collaboration with Venezuelan musician Larry Bellorin (“Caballo Viejo”).

The Express Way With Dulé Hill on PBS. Pictured: Mimi Chin, a member of San Franciso’s Grant Avenue Follies.

Next, Hill makes his way down to Texas to meet artists who are leaders within their local communities. Hill meets Abuela M’api Rainflowa, founder of Houston Aztec Dance & Drum, who shows him the “Mexica” handshake, as well as the Aztec Sun Dance and a sweat lodge ceremony. Rainflowa only learned about her Indigenous identity when she was a young adult, and the discovery led her on a spiritual journey from devout Catholicism to Indigenous beliefs and practices.

At his next stop in Texas, David Lozano, executive director of Cara Mia Theatre, welcomes Hill to Dallas, sharing with him some of the theatre’s productions that focus on the Latino experience. In Denton, John Bramblitt, a man who lost his vision taught himself to paint again using touch. Bramblitt creates vibrant paintings and murals, leads workshops and helps foster artistic abilities in other people with vision impairment.

The Express Way With Dulé Hill on PBS. Pictured: Dancer Shaheem Sanchez celebrates his art.
Joe Bressler

In the final instalment, Hill blows into the Windy City to meet artist activists. In Chicago’s South Side, Hill watches on as the Andre Theatre Collective casts its first play written by incarcerated playwrights. The production explores crime in the city and its impact on Black communities.

Elsewhere in the city, Vershawn Sanders Ward’s Red Clay Dance uses African Diasporic dance to make a space for People of Colour in her community to feel seen. Hill later meets musician Bassel Almadani, of Bassel & The Supernaturals (“Smoke”), who spreads awareness of the Syrian civil war and refugee crisis with his platform.

“For me as a filmmaker of colour, art has not only been a way to be seen, but a deeply transformative force in my life,” added the series’ director, Danny Lee. “As a pillar of American culture, PBS has always impressed upon me the importance of the arts. So to be able to craft a moving series that shines light on the power of creative expression, alongside such a phenomenal talent like Dulé Hill and my team at CALICO, is a dream come true.”

The Express Way With Dulé Hill airs Tuesday, April 9, on WTVS and KCTS

Leave a comment

Sign Up to Our Newsletter

Ritatis et quasi architecto beat

Whoops, you're not connected to Mailchimp. You need to enter a valid Mailchimp API key.