Just feeling so inspired right now, I haven’t even seen it yet, it drops in South Africa tomorrow at 8 pm on MNET (channel 101), but I know that is going to be one of the greatest films of all time, I mean the clue is in the name. We have been stuck on Beyonce’s social media pages for a minute, looking at the scenes and possible visual album production and I just know, deep in my heart that it’s going to shake the industry. She’s not only a musician; she is an artist, a creative genius. We know this from her previous and first visual album ever, Lemonade, and by the look of things, she definitely will not disappoint.
I love Beyoncé simply because she is a hard worker who is relentless in seeing her vision come to life. I absolutely admire her style of work as she does not limit herself to what the media leaders are currently doing, she really is capable of expanding one’s imagination beyond the conventional and the is truly inspiring. Her vision is so broad that the film Black is King was shot in all kinds of locations, from the backyard of her home to the streets of Johannesburg, Ghana, London, and Belgium. The film is based on the re-telling and re-imagination of the iconic movie and play, The Lion King. She uses all kinds of art to narrate the story, from fashion, dance, music videos, and astounding natural settings not forgetting raw talent.
The idea behind Black is King is born from wanting to change the perception of the word black on a global scale. It is about acknowledging the beauty, the love, the strength, and inspiration about everything black. Hence every character in the film is black, sourcing talent, directors, creatives, and artists from all over the globe to present to the world this fine piece of black art. I am in awe and beyond exuberant at this point. Sis, is bringing up and exposing not only black American talent but black talent from all corners of the map. That is the epitome of leadership, and we stan. She truly lives up to the understanding behind making it with your people. Like it’s great to make it, but it’s even better when your people make it with you. Perhaps this is one of the underlying reason why Beyonce will continue to soar in all that she does because her work is not only inclusive but it is empowering, like just imagine the doors that will open for all those who contributed to the making of this masterpiece, I feel so grateful on their behalf, and aspire to be living in the future; forever working to elevate and to better the black community as I grow myself.
The visual album is going to follow shortly after the film drops, there has already been a release of one music video, and of course, the bar is set sky-high. If we can remember from Lemonade, she is still unmatched, and we just love what she is doing to change the game. Ladies, just watch and learn. Black is King.
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.
SERIES TITLE: GOMORA
CHANNEL: 161 MZANSI MAGIC ON DSTV
CAST: KATLEGO DANKE, ZOLISA XALUVA, CONNIE CHIUME, THEMBI SEETE
PRODUCTION: SERITI FILMS
GENRE: CRIME, DRAMA, TELENOVELA
GIRLBOSS RATING: 8/10
Situated in the Gauteng province of South Africa and located near the upper-class suburb Sandton, is where the township Alexandra abbreviated to Alex but notoriously known as Gomora is found. A South African originated telenovela came to life, resembling a story about how fine the line of inequality between the poor and rich can be. Featuring Generations famously known, Katlego Danke as a housewife by the name Thathi. She is married to Mr. Ndaba whose character is played out by Themba Ndaba. Just like any rich man who lives in the suburbs of Sandton and owns a bank, Mr. Ndaba did everything for his family. From luxury-branded cars, clothes, jewelry, private schools, and even vacation homes all over South Africa. The Ndabas had everything they wanted and were untouchable.
This series came out late in March and so far, I have watched about four episodes and each ending keeps me on my toes. In a world full of perfection, nothing is more precious than real, this proved to be true when Mr. Ndaba got hijacked and murdered. Thathi had to discover that her husband’s company was bankrupt when the insurance refused to pay out, just a few days before the funeral. Here is where it got exciting. Not only was Mr. Ndaba’s company bankrupt, but he was also in serious debt and the bank took everything including the mansion. Now Thathi, her son, Langa (Siyabonga Xaba) and her “Instagram pleaser” of a daughter Buhle (Amamkele Qamata) had to go back to where it all started, Gomora. At first, she was in denial about how everything unfolded.
I liked the way the producers and everyone who played a role in the making of this series worked together to compile and demonstrate the saying, ‘’ ivili liyajika’’ meaning the wheel turns and nothing lasts forever. They portrayed not just the main idea but also every inch of detail around it, like how one situation turns to another. Thathi who always relied on her husband soon happened to realize that she cannot sit and moan about how unfair life treated her and that she had to be strong for her children and show her daughter what matters. Though it was hard for her to do so, she had to adjust a few things and start living in reality, in Gomora. I cannot fully say if the series has a good or bad ending because I also haven’t finished the season… YET and all I can say is that, it’s been good so far and would suggest that if you haven’t watched it yet, you better go and catch up with all the episodes from the start if you want to enjoy it.
As a teenager who loves movies, I don’t remember the last time I got this excited about the release of a Netflix movie. Well apart from the fact that this particular movie is an actual continuation of the recent, TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED which won an MTV Movie award for best kiss last year. I have never really been a fan of romantic movies nor did I enjoy reading the famous Shakespearean love story Romeo and Juliet back in grade 9. I never thought love-based movies had that thing that would get me excited and anxious like a horror or sci-fi movie would. Starring the beautiful Lana Condor as the down to earth high school girl Lara Jean who “accidentally” fell in love in the first part of the movie, with Peter Kavinsky (Noah Centineo), one of the famous and spontaneous sports players in the school.
From my point of view, reading a book and enjoying it, only to find out a year later that the storyline would be created into a movie, should be one of the most rewarding and exciting feelings in the world. When I was reading the book, I was a blind person always trying to figure out and imagine how the world looked like and as soon as the movie got released it felt like I had opened my eyes and was able see and feel almost every emotion felt by the characters, especially Lara. This continuation was a twist after the first part when Lara’s secret love letters that she wrote to all the guys she had a crush on at school were sent out to them by her little sister, Kitty (Anna Cathcart). Kitty felt she needed to add a little spark in Lara’s boring teenage life. Her goal was to add a bit of spice and drama into her high school life.
John Ambrose McLaren (Jordan Fisher) who was one of the guys Lara secretly admired happened to be the only one who didn’t respond to the letter because he had moved to a different school. That’s how the “P.S I still love you” part came to life from a book by Jenny Han. There were a few differences here and there but in the end the message never changed. Eventually, John who was very similar and seemed to be everything that Lara wanted ever since she was eleven, responded a few months later seeming to be grateful that she wrote a letter to him, however, her relationship with Peter had kicked off. So, this is basically the main conflict throughout the movie, whether Lara should go for the perfect boy of her dreams or the boy who makes her dreams come true. Because it is a modern love story movie, I didn’t feel like Lara and Peter’s relationship had that “death do us part” element to it. It was more of a “We are in this relationship because we had the opportunity to” type of thing.
And I think that’s basically what most, high school relationships are based on, which is why I won’t put too much fault on that part. I’m just glad that I was able to see from a different point of view how teenage relationships look like (laughs) and I would recommend that you do watch it if you are still a teenager and curious about love, but if you are not about that, then don’t because you will start searching for a different move before it even finishes.