Ah, the narrative of Black trauma. It's inevitable. Mostly because that's what our history stands on. We all know how far we've come, we all know how the story begins. But we also know we are more than this, and are kinda sick of hearing about it. The pressure has been put on the execs of Hollywood, like, sis, we don't want it anymore. Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt with Africa on it and whatnot.
And the 'we're over it' noise has gotten so loud that directors, writers, and all those in between can't help but to hear it.
So much so, that mega-creators, like Lena Waithe, are acknowledging this work with a simple, 'give it a chance.'
In fact, she told POPSUGAR how her recent series that she executive produces, Them--which is about a number of difficult topics in the black community, including racism, death, mental illness, and murder (AKA Black trauma)--even came about.
"It's just so funny because Jordan Peele opened up a huge door, obviously, but that doesn't mean that if you're a Black person, you can't tell stories about horror through the Black lens anymore just because he did it first. But I went to a screening of Get Out and we were all blown away obviously by the movie. And then afterward, Jordan told us, 'You know what's interesting? I wrote this movie before Obama even got in office.' So, when a thing comes out, often it can be years after it started. It was just the right timing."
"If the work stands the test of time and there's something that's saying something about our society that hasn't really been said in that way before, I think it's valid and I think it's important. I just don't believe in stifling artists. We can never win when we do that. When we started telling artists what they can and can't do, we're doing ourselves a disservice. Because the truth is, white male artists get chances all the time. Nobody's telling a white dude, 'Hey, don't do that,' or maybe we are, but the truth is, Black artists deserve to be free to tell whatever story they want to tell. We at least deserve that."
When the trailer was initially released, the comparisons were obvious, which Waithe heard on Twitter loud and clear, but she stood firm on bringing the vision forward.
"I can't even explain to people what they're going to see. Can you? It's like Little Marvin's brain is unlike anyone's I've ever experienced. And I'm also walking him through it. I've been there and I'm trying to hold his hand and say, 'Hey, how you doing? Brace yourself. Gird your loins.' And he's just like, 'Look, I'm a half Indian, half Black, gay man. I've been thrown every name and hate that you can imagine,' by people that don't look like him and by people that do."
Despite the backlash, as for now, she just wants viewers to get out of it what they put in, which is all she can ask for.
"People ask, 'What did you want people to take away from the work?' and I always say, 'Whatever they bring to it. Because if people want to come to it and say, 'I want to be angry about this,' they will. If people want to come to and say, 'I want to have an open mind and just take this as a beautiful piece of art,' it will be that too. It just depends."
Watch the trailer below:
Them premiered on April 9 on Amazon Prime Video. The reviews are rolling in as we speak, from backlash to praise. Have you watched yet?
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If you could gaze into the future, you might have thought that actress Raven-Symoné was merely playing a character with psychic abilities in her hit Disney Show That's So Raven. But fast-forward to present-day, and the Disney alum is now revealing that those clairvoyant abilities never quite went away.
In a recent episode of iHeartMedia's The Best Podcast Ever with Raven and Miranda, the child star opened up about having psychic visions, similar to her iconic character Raven Baxter on That's So Raven.
"I believe in psychics, puns f---ing intended," she shared during her podcast with wife and co-host Miranda Maday.
The 37-year-old continued by expressing her belief in the mind’s ability to tap into wavelengths that go beyond the physical realm.
“I believe actually humans have the ability in their brain to tap into energy fields that allow for truth to connect when you know how to translate it correctly,” she says. “I can walk into a room, and it's reading energy and energy in the psychic plane because it's not on a physical, material plane."
While she may not possess the exact ability to see into the future like her on-screen character, Raven-Symoné acknowledges that she frequently experiences moments where events unfold in her mind or encounters bouts of déjà vu, making her feel as if she has already lived through those scenes.
"I do have moments where I really will just stare, and I will see a scene that is happening to me, or that is going to happen to me in another dimension, and I'm like, 'Yo, this is weird,'" she says. "There will be a time when I'm walking, and I'll trip over nothing."
Witnessing the growth of Raven’s career over the years, one might assume that she might have gotten a glimpse into her future before it ever unfolded. With her four-season stretch on Disney Channel from 2003 through 2007 and how acting in the show’s spin-off, Raven’s House, the sitcom has been hailed as iconic TV programming and staple for the millennial childhood — which is nothing short of extraordinary.
Raven attributes her otherworldly abilities to her spirit guides, with whom she claims to have been in contact since the age of seven. "The way we connect is through our trauma. Meditation just allowed my spirit guides to help me, and even to this day, that can happen," she stated.
Despite her own experiences with psychics and spiritual roots abilities, Raven-Symoné remains skeptical when it comes to others claiming to have similar powers. Cautiously, she explains how she doesn't get easily swayed by individuals making such claims — maintaining equal parts skeptic and believer because, in Raven’s world, there’s always room for balance.
"Now if you sit me down and somebody's like, 'Look into my crystal ball,' I'm gonna be like, 'Give me my money back.'” she says. “But I do believe there is natural auras that hold the experiences of all of our people, totally."
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