MOVIE/BOOK TITLE: NEVER HAVE I EVER
CAST/CHARACTERS: MAITREYI RAMAKRISHNAN, POORNA JAGANNATHAN, RICHA MOORJANI
DIRECTOR: MICHAEL FIGMOGNARI
AUTHOR: MINDY KALING, LANG FISHER
NETFLIX RELEASE DATE: 27 APRIL 2020
GIRLBOSS RATING: 8/10
Vera Mindy Chokalingam also is known as Mindy Kaling is a comedian, actress, and writer. She is known as the second-generation American-Indian creator. She wrote, produced, and acted in the medical comedy, The Mindy Project. This girl boss has achieved greatness in her career and wanted to showcase her personal life. She felt that when she was growing up there wasn’t enough representation of South Asian families on American media and wanted to change that reality. And she did that with “Never Have I Ever” the new Netflix series about coming of age. And yes, it’s based on some of Mindy’s upbringing.
Devi (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan) is a high school sophomore who is super smart and funny. She is seen as an uncool girl because she doesn’t conform to the rules of a typical high school learner which entails partying, drinking, cheerleading, etc. She stays with her mother and her cousin Kamala (Richa Moorjani). Devi is also battling with grief as her dad passed away. She suppresses her emotions and this leads to a lot of mischiefs. Devi is trying to figure out how to live in a modern American world and still respect her Indian culture. Trying to come to terms with her “Indianness”. Devi also has to deal with pressure from her mother. As her mother is trying to raise her on her own, you can see the frustrations throughout the series.
What we think about it? A lot of coming of age series have the same plot, and that’s the case with this series. A nerd having the biggest crush on the jock who is too cool for school. Although I am post-high school (and post-varsity) I still find such series interesting. I enjoy the typical chick-flick. So, if you are tired of the same storyline then this series isn’t for you.
The series also gives us insight into Indian culture, especially the Hindu culture. This is what I gathered:
• Indians pray for important objects such as school books. Once something is prayed for, it can’t be disrespected. In one of the scenes a chemistry textbook has been blessed by their family pandit, however, after it was thrown out the window it would have to be blessed again.
• I learned that dress code is very strict, females aren’t allowed to wear clothing that reveals their shoulders e.g. there is a scene where Desi is dancing with her friends as they create content for TikTok, she is wearing a red strappy dress and her mom tell her to change and wear a white t-shirt underneath the dress.
• Arranged marriages are still the norm in this day and age. And Hindu women are expected to behave a certain way e.g. there is a scene which focuses on Desi’s mother trying to make her cousin the perfect Bahu (daughter-in-law). So she definitely needs to know how to cook their traditional dishes.
Mindy Kaling highlights how Generation Z and Generation X might clash when discussing culture. However, I do feel the culture is a tad bit exaggerated in a negative way or maybe the writer wanted to highlight how oppressive it can be? I guess you’ll have to decide for yourself.
Why 8/10? The series had my attention, it refreshing watching a show based on a culture different to mine. It’s also very rare to see an Indian young girl get a lead role in what could be a hit show. The series had funny moments and Desi’s character is likable because she raw and questions everything that surrounds her.
MOVIE/BOOK TITLE: BLOOD AND WATER
CAST/CHARACTERS: AMA QAMATA, KHOSI NGEMA, GAIL MABALANE
DIRECTOR: NOSIPHO DUMISA
AUTHOR: NOSIPHO DUMISA
NETFLIX RELEASE DATE: 20 MAY 2020
GIRLBOSS RATING: 8/10
Here I am scrolling through my Twitter feed and I come across a tweet about this new South African series. I see learners dressed in school uniform and I instantly buzz with excitement. Any series that has to do with high school drama, love, and friendship gets my attention.
Netflix has done it again and released a South African original series after Queen Sono. And this time it’s based on the South African youth showcasing a mix of privilege and inequality in many schools in the country. The cast is pleasingly diverse and with the main actress being a dark-skinned black girl boss. Why am I highlighting that? Well, it’s great to see a new face with unconventional beauty standards take the lead. Puleng Khumalo (Ama Qamata) is a 17-year-old girl who stays with her family (mother, Thandeka Khumalo played by Gail Mabalane, father, Julius Khumalo played by Getmore Sithole and brother, Siya Khumalo played by Odwa Gwanya), however, her family is incomplete because her sister was stolen in a hospital at birth. Puleng and her family are still torn and broken by the separation.
After 17 years of not having her sister, Puleng is distressed and becomes obsessed with the case. She starts digging and finds a lead to who her sister might be. She moves to Parkhurst College which is a school for academic overachievers and begins her search.
Puleng is in awe as she arrives at this new “boujee” school. She quickly identifies her lead and befriends the popular squad as that gives her access to cracking the case. She gets close to Fikile Bhele (Khosi Ngema) who the school’s star student, however, their relationship gets complicated as the series evolves. She also gets tied up in a love triangle with KB the rapper (Thabang Molaba) and Wade the photographer (Dillon Windvogel). And yes, things definitely get hot and spicy.
What we love about this six-episode series:
• Highlights the severity of human trafficking and the impact it has on families.
• The cast is diverse. We see all races (Black, White, Indian, Coloured).
• Interracial and homosexual relationships are embraced and normalized. And that is amazing. We need more shows to celebrate the LGBTQI community.
• We can see the difference between private and public schools. And South Africa still has a long way in bridging the gap.
• It has 6 episodes. I love this new trend of releasing short seasoned series.
• It was shot in Cape Town. The beautiful Capetonian life is showcased. It is rare because a lot of South African series and movies take place in Johannesburg. The perfect reminder of how beautiful Cape Town is.
South Africa has great potential to create a great series. The one thing preventing us from being super great is the budget. There is so much talent and creativity in our townships but we don’t have the means. I hope this narrative changes soon and more South Africans are able to release content.
Blood and Water is a must-watch. It is worth it. The talent in South Africa is raw and pure.
Everything in this beautiful life needs a regime, from moisturizing your hair to your skin care routine. So, with that being said, girl are your curls doing the THING? Don’t worry we got you, here’s a great break down on how to get your curls looking prim and PROPER!!!
First of all, detangle and make sure your hair is clear of knots. You can do so, by sectioning your hair, use an oil or leave in conditioner plus a detangling comb. Then, use the Girl Boss Natural Hair Co-Wash to cleanse your hair. While cleaning your hair use a wide toothed comb to comb out extra knots. This will also separate your curl pattern. Once that is done, rise it out.
Section your hair into 4 parts. Take the first part and apply the Girl Boss Natural Hair Deep Conditioner to your hair, make sure the amount you add covers your hair well enough. Finger comb your hair strands and plait into a twist. Do this to all other sections. Then cover your hair with a plastic shower cap or a plastic bag if you don’t have one. Sit in the sun for 10-15 min. However, for the extra queens you can keep it in for over that, even up to an hour. Thereafter, wash it out. After conditioning, your hair always looks extra good, its super soft and the curls will be a bit more defined than usual.
Section your hair again and add the Girl Boss Curl Defining Butter to the first part. Add a good amount but not too much, you can comb out your hair, this will break the curls. However, if you want them in its natural state, don’t manipulate the hair. Do this to all parts. If your hair is 4c and you aren’t satisfied with the curls, you can do twist outs or braid out using the LOC method (use Leave-In-Conditioner, Oil and Creme), leave it in for a hair then undo them afterwards.
The Curl Defining Butter acts as a sealant because its thick and it’s a “butter”. However, it’s important to base your scalp, therefore use the Girl Boss Hair Growth Oil or Growth Butter to seal extra moisture and give your hair shine without weighing it down.
And lastly you can use the Girl Boss Leave in Conditioner, this will soften the hair and make it manageable. For the ladies with 4a or 3c hair, this can be used as a curl refresher combined with water. You know some curls love water! And there you have it, your Curls Popping.
As a young black girl, growing up in a small village in Swaziland called, Emkhaya, it had always been shown in hidden ways by the elderly how much dignity my hair holds. From being told to wear a head wrap over my fresh and nice-looking Benny & Betty at my Mkhulu’s (grandfather’s) funeral, to cutting it off immediately after the burial. Of course, I couldn’t argue and state that I have “rights” to keep it whatsoever, I just had to follow the Usiko (tradition) that has been carried throughout the years by my ancestors. Because I stayed in the village for some time, meaning a lot of things there were still done in an old-fashioned way, Abomalume (uncles) who helped with the cutting of our hair, would just use a razor to cut and wipe out our bold head with a cloth that had methylated spirit to avoid any infections without making us aware. I won’t lie, because I was the only girl amongst five grandchildren in the family, I was more worried about losing my hair than the cloth touching my scalp.
Now that I think about it, nobody amongst the grandchildren asked why we had to shave off our hair or even what the process resembled. Maybe it was because it was nothing new to my cousins as they were boys but for me, it left a lot of curiosity. It was not only after funerals that I had to cut off my hair unwillingly. A year later when I had to start attending grade one in primary, I had nice gorgeous, fluffy hair that took so long to grow after my recent cut. I worked hard for it, I would wash, comb, and even ask Gogo to plait it with wool or do Bantu knots for me. This would happen once or twice at every chance I’d get, it was like a bonding session between her and me. She would start telling me tales about how they always used nature and tree minerals as hair food such as Aloe to keep their afros nice and strong in the 1960s.
I would go do my hair in town during the holidays but by the time the clock hits midnight, I would’ve been hiding somewhere behind the house with a scissor trying to cut off the extensions that made me feel like a mop. Besides being a naughty child, I was very experimental. I loved to see my hair and style it as much as I could. I guess the hair extensions at the age I was didn’t “slap” as much as they do now that I am a teenager. It seemed like my logic came mostly from my dolls because I would look at them and see perfection. Their skin was flawless, always smiled and last but not least, their hair was never tied up or extended to look long and silky. The hair was nice, fluffy, or curly. Even my fashion sense was inspired by them, though they dressed similar to the big girls. That didn’t stop me from crying to get a pair of heels at the age of 4, to a point where my grandmother started calling me Sisana, meaning “little big girl” in Swati. With this personality I had, I had to find out that no girl was allowed to have hair longer than 2cm at the school I was going to attend. I was in grade one. Imagine. All of this “slay kid” or should I rather say “slay princess”. At the age of six even, that was the first time I knew what being heartbroken was. It felt as if I was going to lose my identity and people wouldn’t recognize me. I felt as if without my hair, I was going to look like the rest of my cousins, no offense. I thought I’ll lose my confidence in thinking I’m as beautiful as my princess dolls.
“You are sad just because you want to bank your hair Letho?”, one of my boy cousins asked me with a confused innocent look on his face. My six-year-old mind didn’t know what to say, but instead, keep quiet and hoped he would elaborate more on the question. Sad enough, he didn’t, that was it. A few years later, when I was heading to high school and was now the big girl that I have always wanted to be, that line came back and crossed my mind on a random day. My school principal announced at assembly on a Friday morning, those hair extensions and certain hairstyles were not allowed anymore. They gave us the whole weekend to come up with a new hairstyle that seemed to be, “appropriate” for school, according to them. Believe it or not, I loved the “rainbow nation hair pattern” that was going on at school. We were diverse and creative with the options we had with our hair. Twisted? I’d still tell my friend she looks beautiful. Haircut? Not an issue because as African girls, we inherited generous and lots of amounts of hair from our mothers. What I’m saying is that, maybe…maybe I was not sad when my cousin asked that question.
Maybe the issue had nothing to do with keeping or cutting my hair. I was just confused or mad. That almost my whole life, why do I always have to be told how my hair should look or how I must present it to get society’s approval. Can’t I have my cornrows on the weekend and braids on Monday, maybe a cut next year, I mean it’s MY hair after all, isn’t it? I would have understood if the matter was based on our hair looking untidy as school learners, but telling us that we have limits as to what we can do with it, that was just wrong. It’s as good as taking our pride and control we had when it came to our beauty. That year was the year I made a promise to my hair that nobody, I repeat, nobody but myself can decide what to do with it. Ever since then, I have never underestimated the worth and importance of my hair because my hair is basically who I am. Its strong texture describes exactly what being an African means, its growth symbolizes that no matter what! I must not give up, shrinkage is just my hair hugging itself and showing I’m more than what you can see. At the end of the day, it’s MY WORLD, therefore, MY RULES.
“After twelve, it’s lunch.” This would seem like a straight forward statement but all is not as it seems. The above statement is dark, very dark. The phrase is one that is regularly used by grown South African men, referring to young teenage girls. In basic terms, the phrase says that once a girl has turned thirteen years of age, it is okay to engage in a sexual relationship with her. This has become the norm in South Africa. It is not shocking to find adult men interacting with teenage girls in inappropriate ways. This is taking place everywhere, from taxi-ranks to the classroom, and usually ends with the young teenager in a grown man’s bed. It ends there but it starts elsewhere. It starts with what is called Grooming.
Grooming is the act where an adult will befriend a young, innocent teenager to gain her trust, lower her inhibitions, and make her engage in sexual activities. As a first step, the adult finds a convenient way to be in regular contact with the teenager. This has been made easier by technology as we have smartphones that have different means of maintaining communication. The adult, who is a predator in this instance, takes advantage of the teenager by various means. Firstly, the teenager’s vulnerable nature is taken advantage of. These teenagers barely know anything about life or a relationship that is sexual. They are lured by being made to feel special. These predators usually shower the teenager with compliments of how she looks older than she is, how she is different from her peers, and how much she means to the predator.
A teenager growing into maturity is easily swayed by sweet words that mean nothing, especially when the words are coming from an adult that has experienced the world. The adult carrying out these acts will use gifts to strengthen his actions. These people give teenagers gifts such as airtime, pocket money, and take-away like KFC. It has also become apparent that these adults may even go to a greater extent of buying expensive gifts such as fashion items, cell phones, and jewellery. These acts may be used in the future by the adult to manipulate the teenager into doing what they want.
These disgusting acts lead to the loss of many teenagers’ innocence as well as other much-untold damage. The effects of these actions may be felt by the victims even in their adult years. The adults who take advantage of teenagers should be stopped as participating in sexual activities with a minor is statutory rape but it appears there is no help coming. South Africa is a country that is well known for having a low rape conviction rate.
On the 27th of April, Twitter was abuzz with the discussion of grooming and predatory behaviour by men towards young teenage girls. Varying opinions were given. A large number of women spoke of being victims of grooming, being taken advantage of as teenagers by older men, and partaking in their first sexual experience with these men. They rightfully claimed that these adults should be held accountable. There was a fightback from several men who held a different view. These men claimed that it was the teenage girls’ fault that they were being courted by grown men. This, apparently, is because they are forward, enjoy the attention, and dress inappropriately (pure nonsense if you ask me).
Let’s look at some solutions I have come up with:
- This kind of thinking is unbecoming and should be nipped at the bud. Adults who take part in such activities should seek psychological help.
- Introspection should take place, they should question why such thoughts come to their mind. They are responsible for their behaviour and should be held accountable for it.
- Parents should play a role by monitoring their children’s behaviour and movement.
- It is also a good idea to know who their child is communicating with on their phones, who their friends are, and where they spend time after school or when not at home.
- Older men have no business talking to young girls, therefore, run as soon as you recognize something isn’t right. Listen to that gut feeling.
- Teenage girls should aware of the 5 warning signs of grooming. When these signs are present, get out and tell a parent. Please see below:
- Older men will offer you things.
- The older man’s behaviour will change after they have gained your trust e.g. be distant, the relationship will have highs and lows.
- You will feel like they have power over you.
- An older man will encourage you to see him alone.
- The older man will have threatening behaviour e.g. threaten you or your family.
- Society also has a responsibility to these kids, if any questionable behaviour exhibited by an adult towards teenagers, is seen it should be criticised and pointed out for what it is.
- Parents of the relevant children should be informed as soon as possible. If the law is broken, the justice system should be involved expeditiously. Such criminal acts should not be condoned or ignored. These are actions that can ruin a person for the duration of their life.
As a society, we should act and spread the message against such behaviour. We should fight to curb the idea that the pursuit of teenage children by fully grown adults is not okay, it is a crime! Children should be allowed to grow to their fullest potential in every aspect. They are after all the future of the country.