Winthrop Welcomes Cast from 'The Wire'

Cast members and special guests of HBO’s ‘The Wire’ mixed and mingled with members of the Harvard community at a reception in the Winthrop House Tonkens Room Monday as part of Winthrop’s Perini-Woods Memorial Speaker Series.

This is the second year the cast of the popular television drama centered on Balitmore’s drug and crime scene has come to Harvard’s campus.

Cast members in attendance included Jamie Hector, who on the show plays the leader of a West Baltimore drug network, and Gbenga Akinnagbe, who plays the drug leader’s best friend. Chad Coleman, who depicts reformed criminal Dennis ‘Cutty’ Wise, also attended the reception.

Earlier on Monday, the cast served as panelists in Law School professor Charles J. Ogletree, Jr.’s “Race and Justice: The Wire” class—one of two courses offered this year at the University on the HBO series.

Jowanna R. Malone ’13, a student in the 25-person seminar African and African American Studies 115: “HBO’s The Wire and its Contribution to Understanding Urban Inequality,” watched the first four seasons of the show for class assignments.

“We’ve been seeing these characters for the whole, entire semester, so when I heard about ‘The Wire’ reception and dinner, I definitely wanted to come,” Malone said.

Nyamagaga Gondwe ’13, Malone’s friend, was similarly inspired to attend the reception by a course she took her sophomore year on race, class, and education.

“A lot of the actors on the show currently run or are part of non-profits that either operate in Baltimore or operate in low-income neighborhoods, and I was interested in learning more about their work in those areas,” Gondwe said.

Wire cast member Akinnagbe said he felt “very welcomed” by the Harvard community and appreciated Harvard’s academic approach to the show.

Both years the cast has visited Harvard, they have also attended events at Winthrop House.

Winthrop House Master Ronald S. Sullivan Jr. said the actors of ‘The Wire’ fit into his vision for the Winthrop speaker series, which attracts a wide variety of people ranging from politicians to actors to artists.

“We bring people whom the students are interested in,” Sullivan said. “‘The Wire’ has made such an impact culturally that so many students watch and love it.