A “Them” by Us Review

Updated: May 2

Lena Waithe, the creator of Showtime’s hit drama The Chi and BET’s Boomerang, executive-produced THEM, a horror sequence written by Little Marvin. As we explored the experiences of a middle-class African American family during the Jim Crow era, it eerily resembles the lives of so many African Americans today. Well, minus the ghost in the walls.

Making its debut on Amazon Prime in early April, this ten-episode production left us grappling with issues and tensions not always observed until a series of unfortunate events unfold. Captivated by everything black and brown-skinned casted to bring forth Marvin’s vision; the tone of the series was equally unabated during the telling of this beautiful yet familiar nightmare. As they each took turns being the glue that ultimately upheld one another, there were long moments of “us against them” never quite knowing just who would make it.

The Emory’s burned rubber through hell and high water of the slave-loving south, past any other state who proceeded to hate the family of four because of their skin color; deciding to meet what was supposed to be a new life for the family after “Lucky” endured a life-altering attack, resulting in the loss of a child.

Settling under the sunny palm tree, shaded area of Compton, unbeknownst to the Emory's, their new life was just another fight against racially motivated injustice all in the name of old white supremacy. While not every Caucasian character was depicted as a nigger hating shit face, let’s just say it was hard to tell them apart at times. Those characters would either revel in the opportunity of being a “hero” or quietly stood aside allowing perpetual hate to ruin the lives of black families.

Overall, the writers and producers of THEM challenge the audience to view perspectives that are not their own. Rather than focusing on a single issue, they used empathy to push the envelope for humanity. Each persona came with their share of traumatic stress and family secrets, this is what ultimately humbled them individually and humanized them collectively.

Leave a comment, let me know what you thought about it!

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