It’s Showtime

It seems like Showtime’s The Chi just premiered yesterday and now the season finale is upon us. When I first heard about the show, I was hype af to tune in because one of my favorite names in Hollywood, Lena Waithe, was the brains behind the show. But I’ve stayed loyal for nine episodes because I’ve fallen in love with a place and with people who are just trying to make it through their day like everybody else.

Kevin, Jake, and Poppa

(right, left, and center)

This group of guys has really grown on me since the first episode. We knew Kevin would be close to the action after the first episode, but the way his two bros, Jake and Poppa, have grown this season has been interesting to watch. Poppa is my fav, a true renaissance man. He’s got the moves, he whittles, and when it comes down to it, he’s a true blue friend.

Jake, Jake, Jake. So young, so misguided, so foolish and the sad thing is, he can’t even help it because his only guardian, his brother, Reg, is just as misled as he is. His boys are trying their best to look out for him but he might just be a little too hard headed to listen.

The Block Boys

Trice: Lieutenant

Trice is established as the HNIC early in the season. Trice’s block is the center of the action of The Chi. In many ways he’s your typical dope boy: flashy clothes, nice car, intimidating but he also likes yoga and apple juice.

Reg: Commanding Officer

Reg might not be my favorite character but as is the case most times, once you get to know him, you can at least begin to understand where he’s coming from. With a dad doing a bid in prison, an absentee mom, and a little brother to look after, that pressure would drive any well-meaning person to desperation.

The Outliers

Ronnie

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What we know of Ronnie from the first episode is that 1) He and Tracy (Jason’s mom) used to talk and refers to Jason as his son on several occasions. For this whole season, Ronnie’s been on a mission to get to the bottom of Jason’s murder, but he just might get himself killed in the process.

Emmett

If you’ve been following the season, Emmett is not the irresponsible, teen father we met in the first episode. He’s still got three baby mommas but when he’s forced to deal with the reality of having a child, after a baby is literally left on his doorstep, he begins to show signs that he has potential to make a great dad someday.

Brandon

The definition of a good kid in a mad city, Brandon, played by Jason Mitchel aka Easy E, is really a light in a dark situation. He’s just lost his brother Coogie, but he can’t let that stop him. Fuck a piece of the pie, he just wants his own thing, but no matter how much he tries to stay out of trouble, it seems to find him anyway.

Quentin aka Q: OG

Q’s back and no one knows why but everybody’s on guard. We don’t know much about Q when he’s introduced other than he used to run the block that Trice now runs and he doesn’t like what he sees.

The Mothers

The women in this show are phenomenal. This show is really a testament to the strength of black women and the integral ways that they hold entire communities together.

Jada: Emmett’s mother

Jada was my favorite from episode one. Not only does she lay down the law when it comes to her knuckle-head son, she’s resourceful, caring, and funny.

LaVerne: Brandon’s mother

Having just lost her son, LaVerne is just trying to start fresh but her biggest challenge is her own son, Brandon. She’s simply doing her best to hold her head up as she goes through the unimaginable reality where her youngest son, Coogie, isn’t with her.

Tracy: Jason’s mother

The murder of Jason Roxboro is the point of entry for the series and the woman left to deal with the fall out is Tracy Roxboro, his mother. She wants answers but has none. She’s searching for

Nina: Kevin’s mother

C’Mon LGBTQ representation! Though Kevin’s moms don’t make many appearances, it is understood that Kevin has two moms. Nina, the woman who birthed him and Karen, his mother’s partner. More than anything, their portrayal on screen goes to show that same sex partners are just as capable of raising smart, well-rounded kids as anyone else.

Ms. Ethel: Ronnie’s grandmother

The only silver lining in Ronnie’s life. She’s the only person that Ronnie’s got left and he looks after her best he can. Ms. Ethel is something of a moral compass for Ronnie, and though he takes the scenic route (i.e the entire season) to get there, he ultimately does right by her and as a result, everyone else in the neighborhood who he’s wronged.

This show is one of the most well-written, well-cast, and straight up well-done shows on television right now. It’s new, it’s refreshing and exciting. For people like me, who grew up in the South and only know of Chicago what I’ve seen on the news, this show is important.

A bullet doesn’t just hit the person it’s aimed at. It hits their families, friends, and community and alters their trajectories forever.

The Chi was renewed for another season earlier this year and I cannot wait to see where these stories go and how these characters continue to grow and evolve. As for season one, we’ve only got one more episode to try and put the rest of the pieces together. Last week’s episode gave us some answers, including who murdered Jason but the fallout of that initial murder has yet to be resolved. It’s been a stand out season for Lena Waithe and The Chi, and regardless of how it ends tonight, they’re just getting warmed up.

Oh, You Grown Now?

I remember last year when I made a post about new shows coming this year, and Grownish was among them. I was excited. Another dope spin off for the culture.

For what it was, I thought the first two episodes had potential. The sophisti-ratch twins, the super woke nigga, baby Basquiat, the first gen student of immigrant parents, that bitch who went to college and bloomed… in a bad way – archetypes of the millennial college student of which I can attest are more or less accurate. The thing about the super woke niggas is that I try to avoid them at all costs. And my mans has a rat tail, but it works, I guess.

As I am not a heterosexual, the whole budding romantic dynamic between Zoey and super woke nigga doesn’t really do much for me. I’m not invested in that at all, but they’re likable. They’re cute.

The best part about the first episode was Charlie. I’m glad his character was apart of the spin off. He’s by far, the wittiest of the show. My favorite character, overall, is Luca. We have the same hair and also partake in the same recreational activities.

My biggest gripe is how they dealt with the whole drug situation. As someone who has dabbled in the weeds and the addys and allat, the second episode was almost patronizing.

This is what happens when people who are not millennials write a show about what they think life as a millennial is like. Why do old people think young people are incapable of making their own decisions. My god, give us some credit. Yes, we know, peer pressure is bad, now what?

That’s not to say that drug use is not a serious and valid topic of focus. It’s important that people be educated about drugs before they decide to ingest/inhale them. But that second episode really gave me some Nancy-Reagan-just-say-no vibes and I just wasn’t here for it. The drug discussion is way more nuanced than what they made it out to be.

And yes, I know they only had 30 minutes. But you can do a lot with 30 minutes. If you’ll recall, A Different World covered shit like binge drinking, consent, and safe sex with the same amount of time and I didn’t feel like I was being preached at.

All in all, the first two episodes get 6 out of 10 stars, for me.

But we’re only two episodes in so, I’ll guess we’ll see how this goes.

Screen Time

I didn’t watch much television as a kid. One, my mom wouldn’t let watch it on school nights and the parental controls were such that all I could watch was the Discovery channel, animal planet, travel, history, shit like that. I mean once I got to high school BET and MTV were staples in my life. But I also grew up in the age of trash tv, which never managed to hold my attention long enough for me to become invested in it.

But today’s a new day, a new era. Dare I say it, a renaissance. Television ain’t just for the living room anymore. The majority of the shows I watch are usually on a screen not exceeding 15″.

I don’t watch much tv, but when I do, I really only watch a handful of shows. I like quality, comedy, and drama and when these things are done well, there’s real potential for making some magic.

I recently got into GoT. I’m surprised at how much I like it. I like finding shows that are a few seasons in. Perfect fodder for binging. And I get to develop my own opinion outside of the social media hype.

On the other hand, I lived for the hype for Insecure. Every interview, every press release, every promo. Plus Insecuritea with Crissle and Fran. Bitch I was here for all the coverage. You can’t deny that Insecure is a moment. The show is revolutionary in so many ways.

I’m ready for season three.

Netflix and Justin Simien gave us Dear White People this year. Hot fye, hot fye.

I feel like Chewing Gum was an extremely underrated show. The second season premiered on Netflix at the top of the year and I legitimately cried laughing more than once. It’s witty, provocative, and just fucking good.

The “Thanksgiving” episode of Master of None. Just… fucking… yes.giphy

The rest of the show is good too but before this episode, I had never been interested enough to actually watch the whole series. I eventually went back though.

As far as I’m concerned, She’s Gotta Have It is a must watch. I enjoyed Spike’s original film by the same name. I thought the concept was ahead of its time even then and when I heard it was being remade I was excited. When I first heard about the remake I admit I was worried about the execution, but Spike had a true blue team behind him with this one and dammit, I think he struck gold. This show is giving me Do-the-Right-Thing-Spike tease. It’s contemporary, thoughtful, and a great moment for the culture.

I’d be remise if I neglected to mention Blackish. I’m a fan. I really didn’t know where they were going to take the show after the first season. I was honestly scared to watch when it first aired but after it survived its first season and had to see what the hype was. And it didn’t disappoint.

2018’s got a hot line up. After the first season of Atlanta, Donald Glover took a break to film Star Wars or whatever, but Atlanta’s back for season two next year and I’m simply overflowing with anticipation.

History is repeating itself yet again with another (hopefully) iconic spin off.

Everybody knows the first season of A Different World was the worst season, but I actually think Yara Shahidi has what it takes to carry a show. I’m excited to see more from this young lady.

The final season of GoT is set for next year. While I’ve enjoyed the ride, I can’t say I’m too sad to see it go. It was a moment. I lived for all that blood and gore and medieval shit.

I’m sure I missed some stuff and knowingly neglected others. I don’t watch much television but when I do I like it to be good. Fresh faces, fresh voices, and some not-so-new faces that have been consistently out here serving it to you girls with the fierceness. I live for it all.

Prediction: Endless Netflix and Chill-athons 2k18

This is my brain on drugs #1

I have a real interest in power.

No, not the show, like the concept.

I’ve been watching a lot of Netflix lately. Mostly shit that I’ve seen at least 100 times over like Parks and Rec and The Office. But recently I got into El Chapo.

I’ll spare you the details of this guy and his real life exploits. There’s wikipedia for that.

When I think about the people who have shaped history, it’s not the guys in the textbooks who I tend to admire (for whatever reason). It’s the “villains” of history that make the story so great in my opinion. The traitors, committers of treason, the down-right insane, the Jacobins, the Henry the 8th’s, the Hitlers, the , the Stallins, the Guzmans, the Escobars.

I guess in a sick twisted way, all of them thought they were doing the right thing. And when emboldened by a cause, anyone can do anything.

I really like shows like “El Chapo” and “Narcos” that show the methodology to the madness, if you will. The men behind the machine. And the more I watch and study, the easier it is for me to see how anyone of us, if given an inch, can take the whole damn mile – if one is ballsy enough to do so.

Sidebar: I feel like, a lot of the movies that I think of as some of the best in (recent) cinema history are movies that kind of play with the same ideas. The Godfather, Scarface, Citizen Kane… I’ll even throw Training Day in there.

And y’know, I am in no way glorifying these people for what they did. Obviously they brought danger and harm to vast swaths of people throughout history and that is something I don’t condone.

But I am saying that the shit happened. Not once, but multiple times throughout history.

People tend to discredit the villain and say “don’t be like that,” but villains are people too and there’s a little bit of villain in everybody. Sometimes, I even think the “villains” in the story tend to teach us more than the heroes ever do.

But ion know… I’m just talking my shit over a blunt.

Backshot Heard Round the World

Bitch.

Insecure season 2 kicked off on Sunday and…

Wow. Wow. Wow.

Issa Rae is truly a treasure.

So season one: We get to know Issa’s world. Her friends, her relationship, and the dynamics of both. Even though Insecure was becoming its own thing, I couldn’t help but compare it to Awkward Black Girl, an ABG 2.0, if you will.

But now, in season 2, Insecure definitely feels like its own entity. Where each of the characters has a niche in the world that they occupy and cope with.

Shout out to Dustin from The Friend Zone podcast! When I saw his face in the trailer, I screamed like a boy band stan and I’m not ashamed of it.

Issa’s out here dating, trying to get back into the swing of things after her break up with Lawrence. But dating, quite honestly, is much. She’s doing that “where are you from/what do you do” bullshit and I was cringing for her.

Meanwhile life don’t stop and Molly, Issa’s bestie, finds out this white nigga makes more than her at the law firm that they’ve both been at for the same amount of time. I get my life when she checked that bitch at the dinner party and reminded Trevor (or whatever the fuck) of his white and male privilege.

She’s still not fully feeling this therapy shit yet though.

And last but not least, Lawrence.

I really don’t know how to feel about him yet. I really don’t.

He trash as fuck for leaving that raggedy ass shirt in the closet and taking the pillow. And him and that girl Tasha… I just…

She needs to sit the fuck down somewhere.

Of course, the fun didn’t end with the season premiere. The internet and its commentary made for lots of fun.

Say what you want about Charlemagne, but the nigga is good for a laugh.

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I see where his allegiance lies. Typical.

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All in all – that was a damn good premiere. In the coming weeks, I look forward to Issa’s hoe-ventures and hang-ups. This is gonna be a wild one.

Buckle up.

Cynthia is my Soul Mate

If you haven’t been watching Chewing Gum, I don’t know what you’re doing with your life.

It’s so fucking funny.

I take so much delight in knowing that I was on this shit before it got popping. I was watching season one on YouTube when it was still only on BBC programming. I feel like if someone made Do The Right Thing into a comedy series set in modern London, it would be Chewing Gum. Aesthetically, the show works. So many colors. So many interesting locations. Interesting character. It makes even Tracy’s estate (I assume what we’d call project housing, here) look appealing and vibrant. It makes you want to be in her world, if only for 22 minutes.

Plus, I’ve developed a new appreciation for British slang and comedy. It’s so unique, yet vaguely familiar.

It’s just something about that melanin. Lately I’ve really been exploring the whole idea of this “African diaspora,” the dispersion of melanated people across the globe as a result of centuries of colonization. And it is continuously becoming evident that no matter how far spread across the globe black folks are, it’s just something about that melanin that’s interesting, exciting, and worth exploring.

Chewing Gum gets two thumbs up.

Endless Woman Crushes

2016 was the year of the Awkward Black Girl. Hands Down.

Issa Rae is everything. Just Google her. I remember the ABG days as if they were yesterday and I’m extremely happy for everything she’s accomplished since then. Her HBO debut, Insecure, landed her a Golden Globe nomination and even though she didn’t get it, you better believe, 2016 was just Issa getting her feet wet.

If you follow her Instagram, she just announced that she’s back for blood with season 2 of Insecure is back on July 23.

JULY 23, people. Mark your calendar.

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My new obsession is this show on Netflix called Chewing Gum and it is FUN-NY!! Like open-mouth cackling. It’s written by and starring the beautiful Michaela Coel from the UK. Excellent casting. Excellent story. The show is black excellence and I can’t wait for season/series 2.

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I also like to give YouTube a browse every (other) day. There’s some interesting stuff happening on the the interwebs. Another web series, Ackee and Saltfish, is dope as hell. Just two best friends chopping it up about (not-so) serious shit on the streets of London.