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'The Chi' Recap: On Ep. 6, There's No Singular Black Experience, No Matter The Outside Perception

Last week on The Chi, Brandon and Kevin bonded over a haircut and the very different ways they grieved losing a father, displaying the multitude of the black man’s character. Both are affected by death—one sheds tears, the other remains stoic, and yet they are both genuinely black.

This dynamic black experience becomes central to Ep. 6 within the first few minutes. Keisha runs through the different parts of Chicago in her track uniform, passing black people of all ages before ending her route in the bathroom to change and get dolled up for her new boyfriend. For a city pejoratively dubbed “Chiraq” by national media, comparing the city’s gang warfare to that of a war-torn country like Iraq, Keisha’s casual run sheds light on the diversity of blackness in Chicago that gets routinely homogenized in bloodshed.

To elucidate this point, The Chi consciously places its black characters with similar looking life situations in scenes together before making it clear how different their lives are. Emmett and Brandon work in the same food truck and are both young black men struggling to make their futures work. Inside the truck, Emmett complains about the mothers of his children requesting that he provides the child support they deserve. Once Emmett mentions to Brandon about wishing he had a mature, stable woman like Brandon has in Jerrika, their experiences diverge.

Emmett really is the catalyst for the most profound reinforcements of the varying black experiences. In one scene, Emmett declares he is “grown” and says his absent father is one to talk when his father dismissively tosses the letter from the child support office towards him. That small jab at his dad reinforces in our minds that the two characters are different versions of the same black absentee father. Emmett’s father literally gives his son two options on how to deal with his child support situation—either lie to the system or work with it. Those two choices can eventually lead him down two different paths to be two different types of fathers.

The stigma of absent black fathers has been permeated throughout film and popular culture for decades. Seldom are their complexities explored, even if they’re more rooted in reality than the stigma. According to a 2015 paper from National Center for Health Statistics, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, black fathers who did not live with their children were nearly twice as likely to bathe and dress their children than their white counterparts. So, when Emmett and the three mothers of his children come to a child support agreement outside of the system, it becomes a testament to how black families are not monolithic arrangements of misery.

Then, Jerrika comes face to face with the same Alderman Bonner (Phillip Edward Van Lear) who chastised her for working with Ms. Brown and excluding affordable housing from Brown’s new property. This time, they meet outside a protest on Ms. Brown’s private property, which Jerrika accuses the alderman of manufacturing. Jerrika advises Ms. Brown businesswoman against calling the police against the protestors because of how police treat protests in Chicago. However, when speaking to Bonner, she calls those same protests “rental riots,” showing how the same black woman can be both for and against the people, depending on her audience.

But, it’s not until the alderman’s insidious plan is revealed that we see that the he and Jerrika are two sides of the same coin. Bonner, who is depicted as a champion of the community and paragon of righteousness by his dismissal of Jerrika and Ms. Brown’s decision , uses black protests as a way to extort money from Jerrika, a woman he thinks is not helping the community. However, to complicate matters, the money he wants is for a community center.

The people of Chicago have had to deal with the moral ambiguities of their elected officials for decades. Chicago has had 30 aldermen convicted of crimes in 47 years, with the most recent conviction of South Side Ald. Willie Cochran over misuse of campaign funds occurring less than two months before this week’s episode aired.

At one point in the episode, Jake is accused by his teachers and the principal of posting a standardized test and its answer key online. Using the street smarts he says he acquired from the TV show The First 48, he knew to ask for a lawyer since they needed his confession to resolve the issue. Small caveats like these don’t just simply sustain an episodic theme, but also help broaden our understanding of The Chi’s characters as well as the black experience, in general.

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Matt Winkelmeyer

'The Chi's' Tiffany Boone Shamed Over Jason Mitchell Harassment Allegations

The Chi actress, Tiffany Boone, is being publicly shamed on social media after she accused her co-star, Jason Mitchell, of sexual harassment.

The offensive comments rang out in the comments section of her photo posts on Instagram. While we'd rather not highlight negative remarks shaming an alleged victim of sexual misconduct, it's safe to say that the comments are pretty tasteless.

Despite the negative feedback, Boone has also been swarmed by fans who are defending her. "The simple fact some people are attacking her is f**king ludicrous to me, one Instagram user wrote. "Some of y’all are asking, why did she get Jason Mitchell fired? Really? He got his own a** fired! If he would’ve conducted himself like he was supposed to, his a** would still be on the show!"

As previously reported, Boone, who plays Jerrika on the Lena Waithe-produced drama, accused Mitchell of making sexual advances toward her on set. Boone allegedly felt so "unsafe" that she asked her fiancé, actor Marque Richardson, to be on set with her when Mitchell was around, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Boone was not the only one to complain about the star. Multiple women have come forward to speak up about similar interactions with the actor. As a result of the recent reports, Mitchell has been dropped from The Chi along with his talent agent UTA, his management team and an upcoming role in Netflix’s movie Desperados.

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The Notorious B.I.G. To Be Honored With "Christopher Wallace Way" In Brooklyn

Tuesday (May 21) marks what would’ve been the late Notorious B.I.G.’s 47th birthday, and in efforts to commemorate the legendary rapper, The Christopher Wallace Memorial Foundation revealed that the intersection where Biggie called home will be named after him, Billboard reports.

The naming will take place on June 10 at a ceremony being held for the “Juicy” rapper. Wallace’s family is expected to attend the gathering, which will be held at the intersections of Gates Avenue and St. James Place. The crossroad will reportedly be named Christopher Wallace Way in the forthcoming month.

The news arrives days after Wu-Tang Clan's Staten Island street-naming ceremony. "I'm happy that NYC officials are finally giving the city's indigenous 'hip-hop' music the respect and recognition that it deserves," culture advocate LeRoy McCarthy told Gothamist in 2018. "It took a long time and lots of hard work to advance the Christopher Wallace Way & Wu-Tang Clan District street co-naming, but ya know what, Hip Hop Don't Stop."

Biggie's upcoming ceremony will be open to the public and will start around 12 p.m. ET. His mother, Voletta Wallace, his children, and close friends will be present in his honor.

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Nessa Confronts Janelle Evans Over Kaepernick Slander At 'Teen Mom 2' Reunion

If one thing is for sure, don't talk about Nessa Diab's family. The media personality and activist used her platform for good when she schooled Teen Mom 2 star Janelle Evans about hateful comments she made towards Diab's partner, Colin Kaepernick. 

The incident, which was intended to be a healthy conversation between the two aired Monday (May 20) during the Teen Mom 2 reunion. Throughout the season, Evans was reportedly upset about Teen Mom OG star Amber Portwood speaking about her husband David Eason on social media. Surprisingly, Evans orchestrated the same behavior when she made a Facebook post about Kaepernick and his partnership with Nike. Evans reportedly slammed Nike for working with Kaepernick and allegedly burned Nike gear in protest of their decision.

While Nessa didn't break down everything Evans said, she shared the post on the screen behind them.“When I saw those comments, I did not attack you online, nor did I disrespect you over the years,” Nessa said. “My man uses his platform to peacefully protest police brutality against black people...that is the issue...I would’ve appreciated it if you contacted me.”

Nessa brought up the incident in an effort to show Evans how hypocritical she was being towards Portwood.

Evans denied doing the post and later accused MTV of using her. “I honestly have no idea who your boyfriend is...I would like to see [the comments] because what if it was an ad...was it an ad?” Jenelle asked. “I’m highly confused right now. I don’t know anything about your husband, and I don’t know anything about what you’re even talking about. I swear to god, I’m done with this bulls**t. This is exactly why I didn’t want to f***ing come here,” she said. “This is about my storyline, and you want to bring up your issues? Okay. You got your show.”

As Evans stormed off stage, Nessa remained calm and detailed her working relationship with the mother of three.

“I’ve known Jenelle over the years, and I’ve always been fair and just to her," she said. "It wouldn’t have been authentic to who I am to be on this stage with someone who disrespected my family on social media.”

Shortly after the reunion aired, Evans continued to deny the allegations while her husband went on to attack Nessa and mock the death of slain rapper and activist Nipsey Hussle.

If the reunion wasn’t about David Jenelle then why is he already going off and attacking Nessa? The amount this chick lies is seriously beyond incredible 🤣.

— Greenwalls4life (@Codybfan87) April 8, 2019

Fans of both women have defended their actions but Nessa has remained mum on what happened. Part 2 of the Teen Mom 2 finale will air next Monday on MTV. Watch the exchange up top.

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