I don’t watch many dramas these days but I saw Nicole Beharie was starring, so I figured why not peep it. She caught my eye in Black Mirror, and with the attention on Juneteenth people get to see her once more. It’s a story of a Black mother destined to do great things as the winner of Miss Juneteenth. Unfortunately, the movie reveals a fairytale gone wrong. It’s a relatable story in that life happens like that. We as people make not so great decisions and often pay dearly for them. On the bright side, we learn from them, grow stronger and into something more resilient than before — a metamorphosis.
The mother definitely had it rough, but so did everyone else. She worked two jobs to maintain a broken family as well as her lost fairytale via her daughter. She came off as one of those parents that try to live through their children. In the end she realizes her mistake. But let’s be clear, the mother played her role as best as she could and made sure her daughter wasn’t caught up in the wrong things.
Of course with any drama there’s gonna be some conflict. As I mentioned earlier you see a mother working two jobs, barely affording the basics. Not only that, you see a grandmother with issues of her own. You also see a Black church represented as something insufferable. I say that due to the grandmother and other members. She was largely a hypocrite who even questioned her own success as a mother.
Happy Father’s Day!
If there‘s one other character worse than the Black grandmother then it had to be the Black father. He’s the stereotypical Black man who’s an absentee father and unreliable on every occasion. He’s basically a deadbeat, another symbol of a Black man in a movie that profiles Black motherhood.
In my opinion, if a Black man isn’t killed by police, or by other members of his community, then he’s a statistic prone to jail. The only good moment between the holy trinity is when they’re all inside dancing, but it only lasts for a moment. The one other moment we see between the father and daughter is inside a game room gambling over dominoes. That’s not all bad but how the scene is presented it shows this game room can be a hostile environment. To me, it shows his lack of judgment as a parent but who doesn’t love a good game of dominoes?
All in all, there were some gems sprinkled in from the bar owner however. That, and other instances spoke to the social commentary (i.e. poverty, healthcare, usury, etc) in Miss Juneteenth. On a surface it’s a good tale about a Black mother’s struggle, something that is all too real. But on a subconscious level, where symbolism and imagery are king, it furthers these ideas about the Black family unit. Those ideas all point to Black dysfunction (You can correct me if I’m wrong here).
Miss Juneteenth is a rough look into a Black mother’s plight and her personal relationships in an America town. I already know it’s relatable to people, especially to single Black mothers, and for that reason I think it’s worth watching. It’s just unfortunate to see another movie with an all Black cast, released right before Father’s Day, was used to take shots at the Black image. Many might not see it that way but I do.