Just think about this..(slight spoilers, btw)
When P-Valley first comes on, you are kind of paying attention but you are kind of doing other shit. You know, like you are watching scenes from the previous week and maybe the first two or three minutes of the current episode, but you are also doing shit with your phone, or maybe dealing with your bad ass kids. Fuck if I know.
BUT…BUT when that “Down in The Valley, where the girls get naked” stripper trap bop come on, that’s when you start paying attention. That’s when P-Valley goes from having your curiosity, to having your attention.
But let’s rewind this shit like a BET movie starring Jason Weaver, real quick.
So, I wasn’t on the P-Valley train, originally. As a Mississippian, born and raised, I had no idea there was a new black show, based in Mississippi. But my wife was watching. And I usually don’t pay her no mind when it comes to TV shows, because her TV show taste is hit or miss. You know, sometimes she’ll get it right and sometimes she’ll get it so wrong, that I’ll question her life decisions (Which, I guess, would include marrying me, ironically. Because I ain’t shit, but she knew that going in.)
And so here she is, watching this show, with a bunch of country mfs talking about lord knows what. “What you watching,” I asked. “Oh, some show,” she responded. She was petty for leaving out certain details she KNEW would peak my interest, but I’m getting to that.
But, by episode two, I start looking up. Not because of the 1930’s Color Purple accents, but because of the trap music. If I recall, I think I overheard Shawty Lo’s classic “Dunn, Dunn.” Which is a classic, btw, especially when Shawty Lo (RIP) hits us with that, “Nigga said he from the west side, well GAWD DAMN, it must be two siiiiiides!” Anyway, as that trap classic is resonating through my TV set, I look up and what do I see? A whole strip club with trap music and big boo..I mean, attractive women, dancing, as they thrust their hips in ways I don’t find at all attractive (The Feds watching so I gotta lie to y’all, right now).
Again, I asked, “What you watching??” “Oh, this show called P-Valley. Remember you didn’t wanna watch it with me, but now you see all this ass shaking, you trying to watch it,” she responded. I stared at her. Then I stared back at the show. Then I stared back at her. “Whatever,” I said, begrudgingly. I went back to doing whatever I was doing, but after securing the title of the show, I knew right then and there, I would sneak behind her back and start watching it until I was caught up.
And I did. And I was not disappointed.
Now that Season 1 is finished, I have to say that I love everything about the show, including those fake ass Mississippi Burning/Time To Kill/12 Years a Mississippi Slave accents some of those actors came up with. Btw, is it just me or does Lightskin’s (aka Hailey aka Autumn aka Scammer McGee) accent go in and out more than Face Time video? I recall reading that the actress, Elarica Johnson, is from across the pond, so I’ll let that slide.
Now granted, because I’m from Mississippi, I have a good sense of what is and isn’t Mississippi accents and dialects, and if I hear one more “Uncle Clifford gone get you something serious, sho’ll is,” coming out of my TV screen, I’m going to, well, I’m going to laugh and keep it moving, because it’s really not that serious. Like, fuck it, right? It’s such a well written show, that we, as Mississippians, are just going to have let some shit slide.
One last thing on the accents. I remember, before getting into the show, I asked my babymomma/wife, “Where are they suppose to be located?” “Mississippi, I think,” she responded. “Can’t be from Mississipi,” I said, “We don’t talk like that.” She looked at me, laughed, and responded, “Yes tf y’all do. Ole backward ass state.” “Nigga, you from Florida,” as I walked away, laughing.
I got her with that Florida come back.
Enough about those Reconstruction, Plessy v Ferguson accents. The characters. The characters are all perfectly flawed. Everyone from Hailey the Lightskin Scammer to Mercedes to Miss Mississippi to the lawyer (whose name escapes me) to Lil Murda to Uncle Clifford. All of them. Mercedes, who is played by Brandee Evans, just needs to gone on ahead and take care of her momma. I’m not saying she should kill her, but maybe she should do something that doesn’t make her be alive, anymore, if that makes sense.
Also, the lawyer dude, Andre, his name is Andre, needs to chill before his country ass God Daddy has another stroke. Is it just me, or do they make Isaiah Washington sit out in the sun for an hour and eat fried chicken before every scene? My god, that mf about one “Chucalissa” line away from flat lining.
And then, there is Uncle Clifford. Uncle Clifford is the living embodiment of “I got an outfit for every occasion.” She, and yes, I said she. Her name is Uncle Clifford, but if you pay attention to the pronouns, they refer to her as “she” or “her.” This is important. All Black Lives Matter. Black Trans Lives Matter. We are “Black With No Chaser.” Not “Some Black With No Chaser.”
Anyway, Uncle Clifford really is the star of the show. Every time she steps on screen, we can’t help but pay attention. Her delivery, her outfit, her hubris attitude, her vulnerability. You can tell that so much attention to detail was done by not only the writers, but the actor, Nicco Annan, who portrays a character who is comfortable in her skin and “not nan” mf is going to do shit about it.
This show also explores sexuality in a very serious way. Take Lil Murda, for example. Here is a dude who, from the outside looking in, is the typical straight black male who embraces thug culture. But, this outer shell is a bit of a facade, right? Like, yeah, some of that is probably genuine, but also it’s another side that comes across as well read, self educated and ambitious. And as the season progressed, he seemed to be embracing his attraction to Uncle Clifford more and more. They were secretive, at first, but as the season went along, it was an open secret, with Lil Murda not exactly hiding his love for The Pynk’s boss. Of course, all of this comes crashing down in the season finale, but it will be interesting to see where the show creators take that story line.
I say all this to say, P-Valley is good. It’s really good. And I as long as the writing and rest of the acting is this good, I honestly don’t care if they start hitting us with NYC, “Dead ass, son. Dead ass” accents.
Leslie McLemore writes about a lot of different shit for Black With No Chaser. He is also the Takeaway Kang and is the father of two beautiful girls, one of which gets on every nerve he has. The other one is sweet. So, you know, balance.
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