Created and written by Lena Waithe when she was in her early 20s, BET’s Twenties could be viewed as a fictionalized telling of the Emmy-winning writer’s early days in Hollywood. But Waithe and her series have a lot more on their mind than just giving us another comedic coming-of-age autobiography. At this winter’s Television Critics Association press tour, we sat down with Waithe’s co-showrunner, Susan Fales-Hill, and their cast—Jonica T. Gibbs, Christina Elmore, and Gabrielle Graham—to talk about bringing Twenties’ vision to life. The group discussed how the series’ studio lot settings and sweeping classical music cues are meant to create a dialogue between the romanticized ideal of “Old Hollywood” and the realities of contemporary life for black people in Los Angeles. The cast also shared their own LA stories and weighed in on a pivotal point of debate from the series’ first episode.