Still from The Chi
Parrish Lewis/SHOWTIME

'The Chi' Recap: Ep. 1 Explores Black Women's Strength And The Mortality Of Black Youth

In a cinematic gut punch, Lena Waithe’s The Chi kicks off its second season with one of the most disturbing scenes on television. Admittedly, it’s hard to stomach the brutal assault of an elder, in this case strong-willed Miss Ethel (LaDonna Tittle) in the Southside home she’s lived in for decades. The assault only lasts 40 seconds, but an elderly black woman being kicked repeatedly in the face, thrown against a wall and having her bloodied face dragged across the floor is seldom seen on TV, so it was jarring for Waithe to utilize the arresting visual. Parts of the assault mirrored the real-life assault on a 78-year-old woman by a 36-year-old man on a New York City subway in March, a connection to the real world we live in that makes the scene an emblem of the infuriating exploitation of black women that happens in their own communities. Episode One shows how precarious black lives can be in their own neighborhoods.

The elderly are often pillars of the community, maintaining order even if it means watching a neighbor’s child while they’re out at work or pulling out a shotgun to ward off delinquents, as we’ve seen Miss Ethel is known to do. The truly heartbreaking part of the scene is the fact that what happens to her is becoming more prevalent in America, with the assault rate for elderly women over the age of 60 increasing by 35.4 percent between 2002-2016. The young black assailant in The Chi is able to get Miss Ethel to lower her defenses by mentioning his involvement with the Homeless Veterans Agency, as well as implying her donation would keep a veteran, such as himself, out of trouble. Her’s grandson Ronnie (Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine), who is in prison for shooting last season’s Coogie Johnson (Jahking Guillory), is a veteran, so Ethel's attacker is probably someone from the community that may have even grew up around her and already has an idea of her soft spots. The Chi doesn’t paint women as simply exploitable, but also resilient.

Too often on television, the love from a black woman is used as a safety net for a black man. So, it was great to see Waithe, both the series creator and the episode’s director, place scenes in the first episode where it appears as if black women will succumb to their love for an exploitative black man before flipping the script and forcing him to fend for himself. When Emmett (Jacob Latimore) screams into his mother’s intercom that he’s homeless after his mother moved into a one-bedroom apartment without him, the scenes of him trying to do right by his son and being assaulted after sleeping on the train from earlier in the episode make him a sympathetic figure. However, the visible pain on his mother Jada’s face (Yolonda Ross) as she listens in silence, knowing she’s helping him grow into a self-sufficient man, was a powerful reminder of the resiliency of the black woman. The real issue, which The Chi delves into, is the generational guidance that would lead Emmett to thinking his utilitarian view of women was right.

Another poignant theme was the correlation between how men are raised and the subsequent interactions with the women around them. It truly takes a village to raise a man, and the knowledge passed down to the youth from older generations will ultimately help mold their actions. When Emmett’s older boss, Sonny (Cedric Young), tells him “all the girls you know, one of them ought to let you spend the night,” it’s no surprise that it takes Emmett less than half a minute to spot two women he would later try to use his charm on in hopes they’d let him crash. That small conversation with Sonny, and Emmett being willing to sleep in random beds and on the train before asking his father for a place to stay, is a profound commentary on how the abandonment of black boys by past generations of black men stunts their development and plays a paramount role in the exploitation of the black woman.

To that point, growing up in a place like Chicago can force young black men to grow up more quickly than they should. Between September 2011 and late 2018, 174 people under the age of 17 were murdered in Chicago. Chicago’s youth come face to face with their own mortality in ways few youth groups do elsewhere in America. Waithe expertly conveys this by bookending the episode with a choir of children chanting “I wish I could live forever” on Towkio’s “Forever” and Kevin (Alex R. Hibbert) telling his therapist what he wants to be if he grows up. There’s something eerie about children acknowledging their own mortality, but this speaks to the behavior they’ve learned throughout generations.

When Kevin tells his mother “therapy is for white people,” it’s hard to see someone as young as Kevin developing that stereotypical perception on his own seeing as he’s grown up in a progressive household with two mothers, one of which tells him why that thinking is wrong. Add in the fact there’s historically been a negative stigma around therapy in the black community and Kevin’s reluctance to accept mental health treatment after shooting a man is even more devastating because he’s probably too young to realize the choice he’s making is not one of his own.
Ahead of episode one’s airing, The Chi’s star Jason Mitchell told VIBE this season will have moments with his character Brandon and inherited brother Kevin that are more emotionally challenging than anything they did in the first season. With the way Season Two started, we should all prepare for the worst.

From the Web

More on Vibe

Getty Images

After Teairra Mari's Arrest, 50 Cent Notes Additional Money Owed From Lost Revenge Porn Case

Teairra Mari has just stepped into deeper hot water and 50 Cent is watching it all from the sidelines with a straight face and his hand held out. Back in January, the singer and Love & Hip Hop star was unfortunately on the losing end of a case that sought to bring 50 Cent to justice for leaking a compromising photo of her.

The court ordered Mari to pay Fif $30,000 to cover a portion of his legal fees, but when she was served papers in the airport, she publicly refused to pay him a cent. (She even went on to preview a song about it.) At the time, the Power figurehead's response was straight to the point. “You cannot run from the law, you have been served," he wrote in a mocking Instagram post. "Better give me my money b**ch.”

To take matters a step further, Teairra Mari has now been arrested for not paying 50 Cent what he asked for and has received an addition to the amount owed. "You best be coming up with my money," he wrote on Instagram, reacting to the news of her arrest. "I’m a need 75K now after they add all additional legal fees."

 

View this post on Instagram

 

see the shit ain’t funny now, is it Funky.🤔you best be coming up with my money. I’m a need 75K now after they add all additional legal fees.🤨The Law is The Law.#lecheminduroi #bransoncognac

A post shared by 50 Cent (@50cent) on Apr 22, 2019 at 12:51pm PDT

This isn't looking too good.

Continue Reading
Dave Kotinsk

Charlamagne Tha God Makes Kevin Hunter "Donkey Of The Day"

Charlamagne Tha God let the choppa fly Wednesday morning (April 16) when he crowned Kevin Hunter, Wendy Williams' soon to be ex-husband and manager "Donkey of The Day."

The Power 105.1 host and Hunter were once comrades, but their friendship ended when Hunter allegedly grew irate Charlamagne played matchmaker with his longtime friend Wax and his then-mistress now the mother of his newborn daughter, Sharina Hudson.

"Think about that. Big grown-ass married negro from Brownsville, Brooklyn, supposed to be some thorough-ass hood dude upset because he thinks I'm trying to hook his side chick up with my homeboy. Does that not make him a Grade A sucker?" Charlamagne questioned.

The two-time bestselling author was once Williams' protege and in his nearly 13 minute-rant against Hunter, he expressed empathy for the talk-show host. "The reason why I've never had smoke for Wendy is that number one: I feel sorry for her. She was an abused woman on various levels," Charlamagne said.

Charlemagne spoke about the several attempts Hunter allegedly made to destroy his career, including promoting last year's narrative he supposedly raped a woman in South Carolin. The 2001 criminal sexual conduct charge was later dismissed after the radio host provided a DNA sample.

"There are only two people on this planet that I don't give a damn about, and Kevin Hunter is one of them."

Charlamagne was in rare petty form while delivering his stinging rant, and said his divorce after 21 years of marriage is the universe's response to his behavior.

"Kevin you so busy trying to curse others you end up cursing yourself. Did you really think you could go around treating people the way you treat them and not suffer any consequence from the universe all these years? The sad part is you treat everybody like doo-doo, but the one person you treat like doo-doo that you should never treat like doo-doo is your soon-to-be ex-wife.

"Bro, you are nothing without her."

After also crowning Hunter Doo-Doo Brown, Charlamagne predicted all that he dished out to Wendy would come back via Sharina Hudson.

"It's only a matter of time before Sharina leaves you. Don't think she's staying around. Whatever you get from Wendy, Sharina is going to get a bunch of that from child support. Oh, wait for it. It's coming. The same thing you did to Wendy, Sharina's going to do to you with another man. Guaranteed."

Watch Charla's "Donkey of The Day" below.

Continue Reading
Actor Michael B. Jordan backstage at the 88th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on February 28, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images)
Getty Images

Michael B. Jordan Would Like To Be Considered For B2K's Millennium Tour

Michael B. Jordan loves nostalgia. From the 90s and beyond, the actor has always shown love to those who helped create our favorite music memories. Now, Jordan is looking to throw his hat in the running for B2K's Millenium Tour.

The actor shared a hilarious video of himself, Terrance J and Ridiculousness' Steelo Brim jamming to Diddy's "I Need A Girl Remix" this week on Twitter with the caption, "Is there any more room on the Millennium Tour?" Fans of the 2000s hip-hip/R&B era are aware the jam was released in 2002 from Diddy's LP, We Invented The Remix.

https://twitter.com/michaelb4jordan/status/1116092812787953665

We're sure B2K, Mario, Pretty Ricky, Lloyd and the rest of the family wouldn't mind having Killmonger on the road with them. Meanwhile, the guys have brought out several special guests on the Millennium Tour. So far, surprise performances have included Ashanti, Ja Rule, Bow Wow and B5.

Enjoy "I Need A Girl Part 2" below.

Continue Reading

Top Stories