black girl blogs · reviews · tv reviews

Boomerang: Tops, Bottoms, Vers, Oh My

Masculinity, femininity, individualism, and Blackness are just a few of the personal inner ideals that many in the Black community deal with on a daily basis. What does it mean for a black man to be masculine? How is toxic masculinity the one venom that seems to strike even the most open-minded people? Is there any way we as a community can change the hive mind that plagues us? Last night, episode four of Boomerang attempted to tackle a few of these questions and even dipped its toes into a pool of Barbershop Talk along the way.

Bryson’s been working his way through every eligible woman in the town like he’s Prince Charming trying Cinderella’s shoe on every girl. It makes him feel better about his breakup with Simone. But soon enough, after a rebound hookup with Simone, the other women start to lose their appeal. No one compares to Simone and his third head can definitely tell the difference. So he decides to take his mind off the entire situation by going to the barbershop. Where he gets the kind of advice he’s been needing but not wanting to ask for. On the other side of things, Ari gets a wake-up call after spending time with one of the guys he’s currently sleeping with. While he claims that he’s open to any and all things sexual wise, Ari’s quick to dismiss anything that he deems non-masculine. He won’t bottom, he barely gives head and he only wants to kiss when he needs some kind of comfort. He’s two steps away from being on the same side of nonsense that many heterosexual males live in. Whether he likes it or not.

It’s no secret that Ari is my favorite character in Boomerang. I appreciate the kind of representation he gives for black LGBT people. It’s not often we get to see a bisexual black man be himself so freely. And I’m not sure we’ve ever gotten to see one that is allowed to grapple with the fact he can be problematic too. There’s a disconnect when it comes to LGBT people and the controversial views they can hold. In a sense, LGBT people can find themselves placed on a pedestal for simply not being straight. When this happens the less than stellar things they say or do are swept under the rug and hidden with boosts of their sexuality being visible. It’s almost blasphemous to criticize someone who identifies as LGBT, but on the flip side of that when someone who is LGBT is being criticized the first insult usually thrown at them has something to do with their sexuality. It’s a double-edged sword that must be walked on and it must be acknowledged.

In thirty minutes Boomerang managed to touch on the subject of toxic masculinity and sexuality in a way that Black television doesn’t broach regularly. It’s well known that Ari is a fan fave, and even though the episode tonight shone a different light on him, he still ends the episode on a good note. Perhaps the new friend he made at the end is going to help him deal with some of the things he finds uncomfortable and unable to be curious about. I’m excited to find out. I’m even slightly hopeful that Bryson will get his act together after hearing from older men (which is what he needed) that he should fix things with Simone. The possibilities are endless.

Boomerang airs Wednesday on BET

-Danyi

Please donate to Danyi’s Cashapp or Venmo, they are a struggling writer looking to publish books soon. Plus, the coronavirus has its foot on their neck. Please help. Cashapp: $danyi13 || Venmo: @itsjustdanyi

black girl blogs · reviews · tv reviews

Twenties: And the Church Said AMEN

Quite possibly the hardest thing about being in your twenties is finding balance. In any and all situations solutions usually come once a balance is able to be pinpointed. Whether it’s finding a balance between work life and personal life or balancing a romantic relationship with the keep up of your friends; it all takes time and practice. Adulthood could be defined by how well a person is able to bring balance to their life. Six episodes into Twenties and our three friends push their way towards their life goals harder than ever. And it’s either going to work out or blow up in their faces.

After getting the cold shoulder from Ida one morning, Hattie is excited to get away on a trip with her mother. Only to have a wrench thrown in her plans at the last minute, Ida needs her help and Hattie seems incapable of telling her no. So the trip with her mother is passed off to Nia, a perfect solid friends do for each other. Meanwhile, Marie stresses over her latest assignment for work. Quintrell is not the average Black man that Zach is used to working with. He’s going to have to come with something new and unique if he wants Quintrell to sign with him. Marie knows a perfect way, they can seal a deal while sending praise to the Lord above. It would be a win-win situation if it wasn’t for the fact that Marie hates church. But she loves her job and is willing to do anything to keep it.

While this episode focused mostly on Hattie’s strained relationship with mother and the bridges she’s willing to burn for Ida, one of the most interesting parts of the episode was learning that Nia feels like she’s the odd one out of the three friends. After a small tit for tat, Nia pouts that Hattie never takes her side. Nia feels that she’s always telling Marie to be nice and always encouraging Hattie to follow her dreams, but they rarely do the same. After all, it’s Nia that Hattie wants to take her mother to the Anita Baker concert and it’s Nia that Marie wants to get her and Zach into the church service she doesn’t even want to attend. The two women rely on Nia, even more than they realize.

Week after week, Twenties gives us comedy, drama, and something to think about all wrap up in one. Last night was no different. Hattie’s willingness to ditch her mother for Ida and Marie’s willingness to go the extra mile to ensure that Zach gets Quintrell to sign with their company are two of the biggest thought provokers of the episode. Hattie wants to make it, so badly that I can almost taste it for her. She wants to be Ida, but every time she tries it blows up in her face. Marie is making the right connections with Quintrell but it all feels very much like waiting for the other shoe to drop. Two steps forward and three steps back. All three friends might be fighting tooth and nails for dreams to come true but the biggest question still remains, is it even worth it at the end of the day?

Twenties airs on Wednesday on BET

-Danyi

Please donate to Danyi’s Cashapp or Venmo, they are a struggling writer looking to publish books soon. Plus, the coronavirus has its foot on their neck. Please help. Cashapp: $danyi13 || Venmo: @itsjustdanyi

black girl blogs · reviews · tv reviews

Boomerang: Don’t Forget Where You Came From

In the world of Boomerang, our divided friends spend some time apart and focus on themselves. Uninterested in her friends’ romantic drama, Tia returns to the strip club for a one-time performance. She comes in with bells and whistles galore but her reception on stage doesn’t match the atmosphere behind the scenes. Meanwhile, David struggles to fit into his new church. His old, barely standing church can’t compare to the flashy tech-savvy house of worship he’s found himself in. But David fears that his faith is distorted by his friends and he isn’t sure how to deal with it.

It’s still early in the season but after two episodes straight of Simone and Bryson drama, it’s particularly refreshing to have the spotlight shone on the other characters. Especially Tia who was a fan favorite of season one. Internet fame has quickly gone to Tia’s head and as her followers grow, so does her ego. But everyone has to be humbled every once in a while, so it’s no surprise that Tia is taken down a few notches when the local strippers read her for filth after her performance. She’s forgotten where she’s come from, even though physically she hasn’t really gone anywhere. It’s something she must address sooner or later if she wants to do any growing. Lala Milan makes Tia’s journey this episode all the more entertaining as she brings new complexity to the role and gives the audience a side of Tia we’ve been waiting to see.

On the other side of things, David is given the mother of all pep talks by his new friend Pastor JonJon. David, having given off the vibe of a lost puppy, finds himself taken under the pastor’s wing when he attends a Sunday service. The house is packed and the crowd engaged with every word that’s being said, they even have empath for the reluctant testimony David tells them. It’s what’s he’s been looking for, a congregation that truly believes and wants to follow the word of God. He’s given an even bigger push when Bryson and Ari call him because they’re too drunk to drive themselves home after getting tacos. They want a ride from David but didn’t even invite him in the first place, which makes David feel expendable. He needs friends that support his religion, and Pastor Jonjon can help him find just the kind of people he’s looking for.

Episode three of Boomerang reminds us that while Bryson and Simone may have had the spotlight for a little bit, this is still very much an ensemble show. Each character has a backstory waiting to be told, a dilemma waiting to be solved, and a life they’re trying to live. Tia might finally have found something to fight for in her recently exited stripper life and David might have found the group of people he truly needs. Both of them have a journey they’re about to embark on that will change them. It’s exciting to think about all the possible directions these two alone could go.

Boomerang airs on Wednesday on BET

-Danyi

Please donate to Danyi’s Cashapp or Venmo, they are a struggling writer looking to publish books soon. Plus, the coronavirus has it’s foot on their neck. Please help. Cashapp: $danyi13 || Venmo: @itsjustdanyi

black girl blogs · reviews · tv reviews

Twenties: Keep Ya Head Up

After an earthquake rocks their girls’ worlds, literally, the three friends spent our fourth episode of Twenties doing their best to find some sort of normalcy; whatever that looks like for each of them. Marie struggles to be heard still in meetings and finds an unlikely ally in Quintrell, the new object of her boss Zach’s eye. Hattie, given the keys to Ida’s home, can’t help but be drawn to the life she thinks the older woman has. And Nia struggles to find her groove in acting classes while worrying endlessly over Tristan and his non-phone having self.

As we descend deeper into the season, Twenties continues to provide character development that goes beyond its thirty-minute allotted screen time. The growing relationship between Hattie and Ida has gone in an unexpected direction. In the beginning, it seemed Ida would only be there to keep her foot on Hattie’s neck; never giving her a break. Yet the longer Hattie’s around Ida, the more apparent it becomes that perhaps there’s more to Ida than the hard mask she wears constantly. She’s opening up to Hattie in ways that are always unexpected and from left field. The relationship between the women jumps through hoop after hoop and occasionally loops back around on itself. There’s chemistry between them but whether or not it’ll be acted upon remains to be unseen. Sophina Brown continues to set Ida’s tone high above everyone else and does it so well that I myself squirm whenever she fixes Hattie with a look. Her presence is almost intoxicating it’s so good.

Meanwhile, Marie is drawn to the newly introduced Quintrell but still trying to hold up the image of a perfect relationship with Chuck. The easy connection catches her off guard but also gives her confidence a boost. It’s because of Marie that Quintrell agrees to work with the company, she could have quite possibly just made their biggest and best deal yet. It’s a move in the right direction, but there’s still Chuck and his continuous pouring out of hints to Marie that maybe he hasn’t told her everything. Their latest attempt to spice up their sex life leaves Marie with questions instead of satisfaction and the crack in her perfect facade widens. Which causes a rift between her and Hattie. In an ironic sort of fashion, it’s Hattie who is able to see that Marie and Chuck’s relationship is suffering. Perhaps it’s because she can’t keep a solid relationship of her own or the fact that she lives with them or maybe she just knows Marie that well. Either way, her knowing clapbacks that aren’t meant to carry any real heat get farther under Marie’s skin than she’s willing to tell.

Each week Twenties offers up a different perspective to be thought about. It’s usually tucked away in a conversation that happens so quickly most miss it. This week, I found the topic of bisexuality particularly interesting. In less than two minutes, Marie, Hattie, and Nia represent three different kinds of women and convey the stereotypes that go along with them. One that supports bisexual men but won’t date them, one that believes men can’t be bisexual and one that supports men being able to explore their sexuality as freely as women do. It’s a conversation that happens often in groups of women, it’s debated over and over again on the internet. Our three friends don’t get to have an in depth talk about it, but it was nice all the same to have the conversation there and on screen. It’s a subject I hope the show circles back around to in the future.

Between Hattie and Ida’s complicated relationship and Marie and Chuck’s rapidly declining one, Twenties is setting its audience up for some hard conversations. Many of which, I look forward to the show exploring more of.

Twenties airs on Wednesday nights on BET

-Danyi

Please donate to Danyi’s Cashapp or Venmo, they are a struggling writer looking to publish books soon. Plus, the coronavirus has it’s foot on their neck. Please help. Cashapp: $danyi13 || Venmo: @itsjustdanyi

 

black girl blogs · reviews

Boomerang: Friends Divided

Waithe Wednesdays continued with a new episode of Boomerang. Last night we went all the way back to S1 and took a closer look at Bryson and Simone’s breakup. Which wasn’t pretty then and definitely got worse now that the details are out in the open. It’s upsetting to see the friends having to figure out how they can keep Simone and Bryson in their lives while trying to not take sides.

While the friends try their best to comfort Bryson, immediately after he breaks up with Simone, they all give their opinions about how he should handle this situation. Crystal wants Bryson to put some logic in his head, instead of just alcohol. He doesn’t really know what happened except that Simone came home late and lied about where she was. She isn’t giving Simone a pass, but she doesn’t want the entire blame to fall down on Simone. She might have made a mistake but Bryson isn’t perfect either. David tries to give a reason as well, sticking to his faith he tells his friend that Simone and Camden probably just had a conversation that lasted too long. It’s a little childish but David really believes it and wants Bryson to believe it as well. Meanwhile, Ari thinks Bryson is overreacting because he has no proof of anything. He also laughs at the fact Bryson is this upset over what he thinks was just a kiss. If Camden and Simone didn’t have sex, then what is Bryson really tripping for? And Tia, well she isn’t really interested in Bryson’s pity party at all. Telling him to either step it up or get over it. However, none of their opinions honestly matter because when Bryson expresses that Simone is dead to him, they all turn to see that Simone has heard him. Effectively shattering any kind of reconciliation they could have had at the time.

I don’t have any gripes about the episode, but Bryson is the worst. I try to give him the benefit of the doubt over and over but he just continues to turn me against him. His unhappiness about Simone is very understandable but the way he’s handling is not. I’m unsure if the disconnect comes from the writing or if it’s just the way he’s intended to be as a character, but the more we see of Bryson the less sorry I feel for him. It will be blamed on him drinking so much, and I truly hope he gets better as a character. Right now though, Bryson sours my enjoyment of the show. This isn’t exactly a bad thing, having characters you dislike in a show is a given. I’m just not sure if Bryson will be able to redeem himself in any way.

What I loved about the episode were the parodies of other shows used to describe how each friend pictured Simone’s time with Camden. From the Cheaters parody to Tia’s wild mashup of the book she’s reading (a parody of the movie Belly) and how it mirrors what Bryson’s going through, each friend is able to give us a clear picture of what they think happened but also whose side they’re really on. My personal favorite was Crystal’s black and white imaginative that felt very 50’s I Love Lucy while the dialogue stayed modern. Things like that make me giddy to see.

In our second episode of S2, our in-depth look at Simone and Bryson’s breakup sets up the season to be spectacular. With the friends split, this year the tone of the show isn’t will they, won’t they; it seems to be more of a close look at how friendships can mature, grow and possibly fall apart. And whether or not all friendships are worth saving. I can’t wait to see just how deep we’re going to look into these things.

Boomerang airs Wednesday nights on BET

-Danyi

Please donate to Danyi’s Cashapp or Venmo, they are a struggling writer looking to publish books soon. Plus, the coronavirus has it’s foot on their neck. Please help. Cashapp: $danyi13 || Venmo: @itsjustdanyi

black girl blogs · reviews

Twenties: Superwoman Hattie

Hey, ya’ll! I’m back for another review, this week has been rough. With most of us trying to social distance from each other the internet is losing its mind while the streets feel like ghost towns. Fear not though, Twenties returned last night for another episode and it was such a great distraction from life.

Hattie’s hasn’t lost her assistant job yet, she’s really working hard to try and get herself in the writer’s room. So Marie suggests taking the initiative and asking for more responsibilities from Ida B. If she sucks up to the boss lady, shows she can handle it, she just might find herself right where she wants to be. Maybe. Meanwhile, Nia has her first acting audition in a really long time. Yet it’s nothing like she thought it was going to be, perhaps acting is a bit out of her reach still. And finally, Marie who we don’t see much of this time around is still stuck trying to figure out what to do about the job promotion she wants and whether or not her relationship with Chuck is going anywhere. I personally don’t think it is, but that’s a discussion for another time.

In this fourth episode, we’ve started to settle a bit. Now it’s not so much of a set up for characters, places, and situations but more of the starting layout of character development. I say this because this is the first episode where the flaws of the characters are starting to get more spotlight. Hattie is trying her hardest, but at the same time, she’s not. She wants to be in Ida B’s writer room and she wants to be a writer herself but she has yet to sit down and actually write. She always has an excuse, including the incredibly lame one that she needed to go on a mini-vacation with her sorta girlfriend so she could get her mind right. Hattie has dreams, but she has more excuses right now than anything. Even though she manages a win in this episode, the ground is still too unsteady for it to go to her head. It probably will though.

We don’t see much of Nia and Marie in this episode but what we do see is very telling. Nia wants to be an actress but the reality of it does not match what she thinks acting should be. Her audition for the web series was horrible and she didn’t get the part but she learned a lot. The girls in line with her spill the tea that dark skin actresses are still fighting tooth and nail to get any kind of parts. And if Nia wants to act, she better be ready to fight. Which she isn’t. Marie, on the other hand, seems to be sinking under pressure. Her job might be hard but to me, the stress of not knowing where her relationship with Chuck is going seems to be worse for her. Every time she and Chuck are on screen together they’re fighting, or the mood between them is tense. Since the couple can only seem to poke jabs at each other and never really talk about the issues they’re having, I wonder how long Marie will sit and let her unhappiness fester?

As someone in my late twenties, I pretty much love everything about his show. However, my favorite part of episode four was Hattie going to buy tampons for Ida B. She meets a guy in the store who misgenders her, Hattie doesn’t trip about it but as he spirals into a bunch of LGBT terms she doesn’t know she leaves him hanging and hurries to checkout. I love this scene because while it may seem irrelevant to some, things like that happen to a lot of queer people. And they happen constantly. Once someone knows you’re queer and you aren’t going to get offended if they say anything they start to throw out all sorts of terms, opinions, and information that wasn’t ever asked for. It’s common and even though Hattie didn’t take offense to it, it’s still not okay. The tone of the scene was light and comedic but I appreciated the way Hattie’s growing uncomfortableness was easy to see. It gives me a lot of hope that the topics of discussion in this show are going to be things I thought I’d never see. And it’s exciting as hell.

Twenties airs on Wednesday nights on BET

-Danyi

Please donate to Danyi’s Cashapp or Venmo, they are a struggling writer looking to publish books soon. Plus, the coronavirus has it’s foot on their neck. Please help. Cashapp: $danyi13 || Venmo: @itsjustdanyi

 

black girl blogs · Movie Reviews · reviews

Queen & Slim: Black Love In Its Truest Form

Not often am I’m moved to the point of tears by a movie. Very rarely does a film make me want to stand up in the theater and pace. Never has a piece of cinema made my heart pound in my chest from the moment it starts until the credits roll. Queen & Slim is now the only exception to this.

When a young Black couple goes on a rocky first date, they figure they probably won’t ever see each other again. Until they are pulled over by a police officer with a stick up his ass who decides that even though they haven’t done anything wrong, he’s going to press them. The situation escalates and the cop ends up dead. In a split decision, the couple decides to make a run for it. No use in just waiting around for the other cops to come and shoot them dead where they stand. Thus they are propelled into a journey of a lifetime and fall in love along the way.

Admittedly, I’m very wary of “realistic Black movies”. Simply because we always spend the whole movie hurt or degraded or being made to suffer under the illusion that some kind of pain is the only way we as people will find joy. I want very much to one day make fantasy Black films with Black witches and Black vampires and Black werewolves and Black existence that is beyond how much hurt we can take. However, something about the Queen & Slim trailer caught my attention. Something about the love between Queen and her Slim made me yearn to see this film. No matter how it ended. So since June, I have been hyping myself, and others, to see this movie.

The moment the film started, I was in awe. From the lighting of their dark skin being perfect the whole time to the soundtrack and score soothing us along as we run with them. In the hardest moments, I felt comforted by the way they took solace in each other. The funny moments of the film weren’t there to give us a break from the urgency of the situation, they flowed right at its side and showed that even in the bleakest of times Black people can find genuine joy. Whether or not that’s a good thing is still up for debate.

It’s not just the big messages of the film that stuck with me. In fact, it’s the smaller details and the nearly overlooked themes that I find myself thinking back on. The way Queen had certain “things” that got on her nerves, and how she never really truly let her guard down. She softened towards Slim of course but the sense of being closed off stayed with her the entire time. Her need to take charge from the moment the cop was killed and how she denied any kind of comfort for about the first half of the movie plays very well into the strong Black woman trope that is so often dropped on us. With Slim, I was very intrigued by the reactions he got from the audience. There were many instances were Slim’s masculinity was put into question or taunted and teased. And it disappointed but didn’t surprise me the way the audience laughed at him. Toxic masculinity runs rampant in the Black community and to me, it was portrayed in a very real form with him.

What sticks with me the most about Queen & Slim is how the Black Community is portrayed in such an authentic form. We take care of each other, we look out for each other, we encourage each other. Seeing Queen and Slim taken in with open arms across several state lines filled my heart. The way people were doing everything they could to protect them and were rooting for them. The implication that all we need, as a community, is to see people who look like us stand up and stay standing will resonate with me for a very long time. I also really loved that the issue of not all skin folk are kinfolk was addressed and not just swept under the rug. Black people may all be connected but we are not all a monolith, we do not all believe the same things. And we most certainly do not all agree with each other. Sometimes, we even turn against each other for the sake of a dollar bill. And that’s something that cannot be ignored about us. On the flip side, a part of me really appreciated that help came to Queen and Slim from non-Black folks too. Because even though it can seem like everyone is against Black people, there are those of different races who want to help us, who want us to be great. Who believe in us.

With a runtime of 2 hours and 12 minutes, there are one or two places where the pacing felt off. The film is a slow burn that seems to zoom by. Small details that were overlooked or sped by so quickly that they didn’t register to me until later. These issues are minor in the grand scale of things. This movie made me feel some type of way, it kissed me sweetly and held me close when things got tough. Jodie Turner-Smith absolutely commands every scene she’s in. Acting opposite Daniel Kaluuya, who is a fantastic actor in his own right, the two weave a beautiful relationship that is intimate and familiar.

I admit I knew how Queen & Slim would end. There truly is no other way for it to conclude, but it’s the experience and the journey to the end that makes the film worthwhile. I’ve been a fan of Lena Waithe since her Emmy winning Masters of None episode and I knew of Melina Matousakas from her Grammy-winning music videos. So I was all in with this film immediately after learning of it. I expected the film to beautiful. What I got was not only beauty but a feeling of my existence being justified. I left the theater in tears but my heart felt lighter.

9.5/10

-Danyi