There comes a moment when a body of art leaves you speechless, and that moment happens when watching the show “P-Valley.”
The show was written by Memphis native Katori Hall, originally was a play titled Pussy Valley has transitioned into the small screen. The initial project took six years of research collecting the experiences of exotic dancers across the country beginning in New York and transitioning into Hall’s native region of the South.
P-Valley weaves together complex characters, trap music (which originates in the region), and the art of cinematography to beautifully capture the cultures of the Mississippi Delta and Strip Clubs in the south while simultaneously showcasing the diversity of Blackness.
When speaking with Hall there is a level of excitement and joy that happens when dissecting her creative process. The show not only challenges ideas surrounding exotic dancing but presents difficult conversations that occur in Black households every day such as colorism and gentrification. There is a level of rawness at the Pynk and with each character that navigates it.
Hall molds the complexity and realness of the characters like a sculptor with clay. One decision that not only challenges preconceived notions on strip clubs but around gender is the character of Uncle Clifford. Uncle Clifford will inspire audiences to walk in their truth. She is the non-binary familial figurehead of the Pynk portrayed by actor Nicco Annan. Annan played Uncle Clifford in the play Pussy Valley and transitioned the character to the small screen. When discussing his role there is a significant amount of preparation and dialogue that Annan participated in to better understand what Uncle Clifford’s experiences of being Non-Binary and Black in the south might look like. From shopping, having conversations with friends who are transgender, and taking note of people’s responses to him shopping in the “women’s” section the preparation Annan took for the role goes beyond the script. He was able to pay homage to Black women from the wigs Uncle Clifford wears and her aura while also helping audiences challenge ideas they might have around gender.
In Hall’s own words the characters are “regular” their storylines, personality types, and personal struggles make all of the characters relatable beyond the surface. The “framily” (friends and family) structure audiences will watch feels familiar. The Pynk is a safe space for Black sexuality and gender identity, but also shows many of the struggles faced in Black communities across the nation. The show will challenge viewers, engage them in difficult conversations, and also inspire them to toss a few singles at their screens.
The show premieres this Sunday!