STAR network’s P-Valley has a forever fan. From being a Black show, for being a queer show, for being for women, for being set in the dirty South and for being so damn sexy and funny. It was truly a pleasure watching that first season. I wouldn’t think a show that off surface would be about strippers could get so deep, no offense to these talented, athletic beautiful women. I’ll admit at first glance of Uncle Clifford, I worried about her depiction. Those of us who operate outside a strict binary male/ female, straight/gay are saturated with this imagery of us as caricatures, as buffoons , as ones who make others laugh. And indeed on some respects Uncle Clifford does make one laugh but often not at her but the world around her and the hypocrisy and hysteria that grips not only the deep fried South but the rest of the United States as well. That said because Uncle Clifford is such a study , I want to focus on her relationship with closeted upcoming rapper Lil Murda.
There have been very few television, movie , books or media period that was able to conjure a relatedness in myself and in particular my Blackness, my trans ness and love. Particularly love between two black people and love between two black Queer people. I use Queer as an encompassing term for people on the LGBT spectrum. The storyline of this hidden love hit me with both excitement, interest and familiarity. Uncle Clifford and Lil Murda is not just fiction and entertainment. It represents a reality that has been experienced by many if not most Black transwomen, black gay men and Black gender non conforming folks. This hidden love that we are not permitted to share. Our love for straight men who happen to love us /lust us as well. Can’t give em that equal love cause I think for many of these men it is just lust, it is as I quote from an ex,” just a kink”. P’ Valley’s depiction of this relationship was treated not as a shock value or one rooted in sex. But a genuine relationship , one where you saw tenderness and connection from both of them. It’s in fact Lil’ Murda who foolishly suggests going out in public. And Clifford with the seasoned pain and knowledge of the world being what it is, remind him why that’s impossible. It made me again reflect on my own life but also the nugget of race.
In 2021 ,LGBT representation abounds on media . And yet, I write this admitting my ignorance cause I don’t always keep up with the newest shows, there has become in many of the representations I’ve seen a sort of stock depiction. And usually when there is someone who is Black and Queer ,their love interest is someone white or other. But usually white. By contrast, I have seen way less depictions of say two Black men or a Black man and Black transwoman/ non binary character. And not to leave out Lesbian depictions but I am almost sure that interracial lens remains. I am not anti interracial but I do have an issue with it’s saturation in the media almost to the exclusion of same race couples. Again another post. When I saw Clifford and Murda and reflected on the myriad of realities probably present in that relationship , I was also able to predict a bad ending. The hyper heterosexuality and incessant conformity of image in their small mostly Black southern town, a romance for two Queers from across the tracks, one pursuing his artistic value as a rapper and possibly hustling in the streets and Uncle Clifford who by a certain segment would be thought of as that fag or tranny who owns our local strip joint, the imagination runs wild about where these two can end up. But it’s not happy and healthy with a double wide and a dog.
Anyway shout out to P Valley. I’m definitely waiting for the second season. There are few shows that feel so realistic and explore real shit. Definitely not Black real shit and assuredly not queer Black shit.