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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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XXXTentacion Documentary Trailer Released, Fans Mark One-Year Anniversary Of Rapper’s Death

Fans will soon get a behind-the-scenes looks at the life of XXXTentacion.  To commemorate the one-year anniversary of his death, the slain rapper’s estate announced a new documentary and forthcoming posthumous album, Spin reports.

The chilling documentary trailer released Tuesday (June 18), includes an eerie message from the Florida native born, Jahseh Dwayne Onfroy.

“There’s definitely a difference between Jahseh Onfroy and XXXTentacion,” he says in the clip. “This is the story, this is the full story. And this is the last time I will tell it.”

XXXTentacion’s mother, Cleopatra Bernard,  marked the somber anniversary by sharing a photo of their final phone call, which took place hours before he was shot and killed.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

My hearts forever shattered 💔 6/18/18 last phone call.

A post shared by @ cleo_ohsojazzy on Jun 17, 2019 at 9:20pm PDT

Fans and fellow artists shared dedications to XXXTentacion on social media, and others flocked to the Florida  mausoleum where he’s buried.

One year ago 💔#LLJ #LLj🕊 #xxxtentacion pic.twitter.com/P6IT3sDGSu

— AssassinLord444🧛🏼‍♂️ (@AssassinLord44) June 17, 2019

tomorrow will mark the day , X life was taken from him. you miss you man.

I want to link up tomorrow @ a park in play music & smoke for jah ! if you in California! Pull up ! Let’s barbecue let’s have fun ! we miss you jah ! #xxxtentacion

— sincerely, tokyo 🎌 (@madeintyo) June 17, 2019

i can’t even begin to believe its been a year??? where the hell did time go? no, it can’t have been a year already😭 miss him so much. but i know he’s still with us. i really can feel it. his energy. his name will live FOREVER. also... here’s my fave edit... #xxxtentacion pic.twitter.com/DxC7dD2od9

— sabina!-🦋 (@fvcknxxx) June 18, 2019

The 20-year-old recording artist was gunned down in South Florida on June 18, 2018. Six months later, XXXTentacion’s estate released his third studio album, Skins. He went on to win a posthumous American Music Award and BET Award.

Watch the documentary trailer in the video above.

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Manhattan District Attorney Won't Reopen Linda Fairstein's Old Cases

After the release of Ava DuVernay's four-part series When They See Us, which chronicled the lives of five boys black and brown boys wrongfully convicted of raping a white female jogger, former New York prosecutor turned crime author Linda Fairstein merited the ire of all those who watched.

Fairstein stepped down from many positions including the board at Vassar College and Columbia Law school. However, supporters of the exonerated five--Raymond Santana, Korey Wise, Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, and Yusef Salaam,--demanded a magnifying glass be taken to all her old cases.

CNN reports the Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance responded in a letter that he does not plan to reopen Fairstein's old cases. Fairstein acted as the chief over the sex crimes unit from 1976 to 2002.

"I do not intend to take either action at this time. Instead, I seek your help in publicizing to New Yorkers the availability of my Office's Conviction Integrity Program process," Vance wrote in a letter Friday.

After Vance revealed Fairstein's cases would remain as is, advocate Jumaane Williams said Vance is potentially denying innocent men and women a  second chance at life.

"Justice delayed is justice denied, but here, Cy Vance is even denying justice has been delayed. It shouldn't take another 30 years for us to find out why DA Vance refuses to correct these injustices of the past," Williams tweeted.

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'Surviving R. Kelly' Wins Best Doc At 2019 MTV Movie & TV Awards

Viewers were glued to their screens at the beginning of the year when Lifetime debuted the jaw-dropping documentary series Surviving R. Kelly in January. It was no shock that series took home the award for Best Documentary at the 2019 MTV Movie & TV Awards Monday night (June 17).

Executive producer Brie Miranda Bryant accepted the award with her other executive producers Tamra Simmons, Jesse Daniels, and Joel Karsberg. She was also joined on stage by survivors Asante McGee, Faith Rodgers, Lisa VanAllen, and Lizzette Martinez.

Bryant and her production team successfully raised attention to speculation of the sexual abuse and assault accusations of R&B artist R. Kelly, as 54 individuals shed light on their experiences and encounters with the shamed entertainer.

Her speech gave a little more insight as to what it took share such a chilling narrative. "Entire production teams assembled their shields to tell this story," she said. "Survivors walked through the fire and then stood again to tell this story, and parents shared the hell that they still stand in to tell this story." The documentary series averaged 2.1 million viewers during its three-day six-hour series.

At the Heart of Gold: Inside with USA Gymnastics Scandal, McQueen, Minding the Gap, and RBG, were among the other 2019 MTV Movie & TV Award documentary nominations. 

Kelly has plead not guilty to all charges.

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