The Chi Season 2 Episode 3 still
Parrish Lewis/SHOWTIME

'The Chi' Recap: Ep. 3 Shows The Effects Of Childhoods Being Stolen By Adults

This episode of 'The Chi' delves into a world where the childhoods of black youths are stolen by adults looking to get ahead.

A child can die and still grow up. A child can die from growing up. In The Chi, where humanity is hustled and children face their mortality, childhood is a luxury few are lucky enough to keep let alone enjoy. Adults traffic in stolen youths, trading in childhoods that never belonged to them. Some use them to make their lives easier, others use them to advance their careers, but they all snatch away the childhoods of young black boys and girls in order for them to navigate adulthood better.

On the insidious side, Ronnie’s lawyer Kimberly Hendricks (Kimberly Hebert Gregory) uses Kevin’s youth to both intimidate and discredit the only eye witness to Ronnie’s murder of Coogie Johnson in Season One. She orchestrates this by employing a white man with a purported history of dealing with black youths testifying in court to tell Kevin’s family about the untold dangers that can arise from his testimony against Ronnie in the courthouse. All the while, Hendricks sits nearby surveying the scene of her own making, knowing the preservation of Kevin’s precious youth would be his mothers’ first thoughts when hearing of these “consequences” and force them to not have Kevin testify.

Not too long after that, Hendricks calls into question the validity of the 12-year-old eyewitness account, since she claims the accounts of adults are typically unreliable and Kevin having experienced trauma from shooting Ronnie makes his account even more shaky. Soon after, we find out Hendricks’ motive for using Kevin’s young age to get a murderer out of jail is not based in some warped view of justice, but instead in her desire to advance her own law career by making partner at her law firm.

The Chi drives home the severity of what Hendricks’ actions could do to the future of a child like Kevin. Before Kevin and his family are intimidated by Hendricks’ flunkie in the courthouse, Kevin mentions how some of his knowledge of the criminal justice system comes from long-running TV drama Law & Order. Mere seconds later, a young black boy, who looks no older than Kevin, is escorted in handcuffs by police officers while wearing grey prison garbs. This idea of adults snatching away black boys’ youth through the legal system is an all too common reality in a city such as Chicago, where judges go against local ordinances banning the detention of children under 12 years of age at the Juvenile Temporary Detention Center.

Beyond Chicago, adults within the American legal system have had transactional relationships with black youths. Between 2000-2007, judges Mark Ciavarella and Michael Conahan from Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania received financial compensation from the owners of juvenile detention centers for filling their detention centers with young offenders through excessive sentencing for minor infractions. The ordeal is referred to as the “kids for cash” scandal, a title that could easily be the name of an episode of The Chi.

But, just like in episode two, where Jerrika appeared to sell out of her blackness for the advancement of her career, nothing is ever clearly good or bad in The Chi. In one of the more heartbreaking scenes in the early part of the season, Kevin discovers his classmate Maisha (Genesis Denise Hale) hasn’t been coming to school because she has to watch her siblings while her mother works. Her mother is robbing her daughter of a traditional childhood by having her assume parental roles over her siblings versus focusing on school. As Kevin sits in her living room surrounded by her siblings and their toys, Maisha’s usual calm but condescending demeanor is replaced with irritable fatigue. You can see her face struggle to contort into a smile when joking with Kevin.

Neither Maisha nor Kevin make any mention of Maisha’s father, so it’s safe to assume she lives in a one-parent household, like more than 11 million other American households, according to 2016 Census data. Of those more than 11 million households, more than 80 percent of them are headed by mothers. Those same mothers have to spend upwards of 70 percent of their annual income on child care. Without Maisha sacrificing a piece of her childhood, her siblings may not have one of their own.

When Maisha somberly asks Kevin if she’ll see him tomorrow after school—she’d asked him to bring her each day’s homework—the look in her eyes is one crying out for a connection to her peers’ leisurely, carefree lives. That’s what people see when they look at him: the purity of childhood. It’s the reason why Jake wouldn’t let Kevin be part of his illegal candy resale scheme in episode two. So much of The Chi involves making sure this one black boy doesn’t get swallowed by the streets.

Despondent themes aside, the episode is not without its silver lining. There is a humorous side to children growing up too quickly in The Chi. Papa, Kevin’s best friend and the most mature kid in the show, participates in the school’s candy drive in order to win a flat screen TV for his man cave. But instead of a “man cave,” he calls it a “Papa cave.” Humorous displays of otherwise depressing topics, such as black youths growing up much faster than they should, gives The Chi’s commentary a bit more realism, showing that there’s good in the bad, and vice versa.

From the Web

More on Vibe

FX's ‘Pose’ Unveils Gripping Season 2 Trailer

Pose fans’ patience will be alleviated with the second season's premiere next month. To get viewers ready, FX debuted its 45-second trailer on Thursday (May 23), packed with an array of moving storylines.

Set in New York City’s ‘90s time period, the characters will explore life-altering changes in their careers and health. For Blanca, the status of her HIV-positive diagnosis will take precedence as the House of Evangelista begins to navigate a newfound arena of prominence in the ballroom scene.

In an interview with Billboard, producer and activist Janet Mock dished on what to expect for the upcoming season. "There's a rule in the writers' room that we do not talk about what we're going to do, but I think that it's really going deeper every episode,” Mock said. “As viewers kind of notice, we tend to focus in on a character that we may not have known as much before, right? For example, this week will really be central around Lil Papi’s character, his relationship with Blanca and things [that] have been alluded about throughout the season. There will be some of the origins stories of characters that we may not have heard as much from before, but whom people of course love because they are either on Team Abundance or Team Evangelista.”

Ahead of its June 11 return on FX (10 p.m. EST), watch the trailer above.

Continue Reading
Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

Kanye West To David Letterman: Liberals Are Bullying Donald Trump Supporters

Ahead of David Letterman’s My Next Guest Needs No Introduction return to Netflix (May 31), details about the veteran interviewer’s upcoming conversation with Kanye West has hit the Internet. According to The Daily Beast, the pair discuss mental health, Drake fallout, and his views on Donald Trump.

In 2018, West used various platforms from TMZ to his personal Twitter account to express his controversial and political standing as it relates to his support of Trump. While he caught flack for it, West told Letterman that everyone should have the right to stand tall in their beliefs.

“This is like my thing with Trump—we don’t have to feel the same way, but we have the right to feel what we feel,” he said. The father-of-four also admitted that he’s “never voted in my life,” and that those who cast a ballot for Trump were “treated like enemies of America because that’s what they felt.” He added that “Liberals bully people who are Trump supporters!”

The Daily Beast also reported on West’s address of mental health. Here, he pinpointed how the masses interpreted his statements, inadvertently referring to his viral interview on TMZ. “When you’re bipolar, you have the potential to ramp up and it can take you to a point where you start acting erratic, as TMZ would put it,” he said. West continued to unpack his views on mental health, saying, “If you guys want these crazy ideas and these crazy stages and this crazy music and this crazy way of thinking, there’s a chance it might come from a crazy person."

In an interview with Willie Geist of “Sunday Today,” Letterman said he didn’t know what to expect ahead of his sit-down with the Ye rapper. “I was frightened honestly because I had only met him a couple of times on the show, and I knew that depending on the day, you weren’t quite sure which path you were going to be on,” he said.

Watch a teaser for the series below.

Continue Reading

Netflix's 'The Black Godfather' Follows The Story Of Legend Clarence Avant

Netflix is gearing up to release a documentary that dives into the history of a music legend. The forthcoming film, entitled, The Black Godfather, will tackle the legendary career and legacy of music industry executive, Clarence Avant.

The trailer debuted on Thursday (May 23), featuring a handful of all-star cameos. Quincy Jones, Snoop Dogg, Ludacris, Barack Obama, Diddy, and more spoke about Avant's star power.

"There’s the power that needs the spotlight, but there’s also the power behind the scenes," Barack Obama says in the trailer.

Diddy also noted Avant's influence. "He became that mentor for us all, he became that godfather," he said.

Clarence Avant is a music executive, entrepreneur, and film producer. He is usually referred to as the "Godfather of Black Music" and was known to defy widespread racism in the 1960s and influence all aspects of the music industry.

The Black Godfather documentary will hit Netflix on June 7. Watch the trailer in the video above.

Continue Reading

Top Stories