Staff Picks: Side Characters

I wanted to include a Staff pick so y’all, our beautiful viewers, can get to know us, the amazing staff behind Mixed Mag. I also wanted to showcase our TV/Film/Theater picks because although it may feel like all you see are white stories or stories of the oppressor, our stories have been here for a while and are extremely diverse and expand over all genres. There is not one specific way to tell our stories and we deserve to be seen and heard. So here is a list of TV/Film/Theater made by or featuring beautiful BIPOC/multicultural/multiethnic artists to expand your mind, start a conversation, or even spark something in your soul. Each month there will be a new theme for our Staff Picks. 

— Maya Renee Castro (TV/Film/Theater Editor)

Issue 8’s Theme: “Side Characters” (characters that deserved better plotlines or to have their own goddamn show/movie)

Maya Renee Castro (TV/Film/Theater Editor)

The Scary Movies Franchise (Rent on: Youtube, ITunes/Apple TV)

Character: Brenda Meeks played by Regina Hall

The Scary Movie franchise falls into the very niche category of horror comedies. The franchise started in 2000 and the last film (Scary Movie 5) came out in 2013. There are talks of a sixth movie but it’s unsure that the Wayans brothers will want to make it. Each Scary Movie parodies icon horror movies, so if you are a horror movie fan you might recognize a lot of the scenes and plots are taken from some classic movies and put on it’s head to make fun of what makes sense in a horror setting but doesn’t really make sense in real world settings. These movies are beyond silly and fun to watch…. Not so sure if they hold up in certain aspects…

A month ago my roommate and I thought it would be a fun idea to revisit the Scary Movie Franchise. We kind of remembered them being hilarious from our childhood and we were wondering if they still held up, so we sat down to do a marathon. And honestly we didn’t get past the second movie, however my roommate watched the third one and said that one was actually funny (so maybe I’ll give that one a try). Even though we didn’t find the whole franchise funny, we couldn’t stop laughing whenever Regina Hall’s character Brenda Meeks was on screen. The only Black female character in the franchise carried those films! Regina Hall had us dying and honestly has some of the funniest and most quotable lines throughout the films. After sitting through just two films because Regina Hall’s performance was so good and the only thing keeping us interested, we just decided to go on Youtube and only watch the scenes of the Scary Movie films that had Brenda Meeks in it. So in my honest opinion I believe the world deserves a stand alone Brenda Meeks Scary Movie type film. I would pay so much money just to see Regina Hall as this character for 2 hours+ just doing her thing, parodying icon horror movies and being the lead. She deserved so much more than the black best friend trope!

Citrine Ghraowi (Politics Editor) 

The Flight Attendant (Watch on: HBO)

Character: Megan played by Rosie Perez

I think I watched this show in maybe 3-4 days (realistically it was more like 48 hours) and I truly loved every minute of it. The plotline, characters, and complete madness of it all was exactly what I needed. The main character, Cassandra, played by Kaley Cuoco is an alcoholic flight attendant (very much in denial) who runs into unforeseen trouble. While I loved her and the entirety of her character development, they really missed the mark in highlighting more of her friend, Megan, in the show. Megan has her own little plot happening on the side that could have been (and should be) it’s own show entirely. I’m sure I’m not the only one when I say that Megan deserved more!! 

Joana Meurkens (Artistic Director)

The Queen’s Gambit (Watch: Netflix)

Character: Jolene played by Moses Ingram

So I really thought that a critically acclaimed show that everyone was RAVING about wouldn’t have such a painfully obvious “black best friend” trope but sigh, here we are. Jolene (Moses Ingram) deserved so much more. She was an incredible friend to Beth (Anya Taylor Joy), and overall one of the best characters in the show, even with her absurd lack of screen time and actual story development. When she showed up again at the end of the season (no spoilers here don’t worry), I was so excited to see what she had been up to and wanted to get pulled into her world. She deserved better, and I one for one would be down to see a show just based off of Jolene and her adventures. 

Tayo Omisore (Poetry Editor) 

Atlanta (Watch: FX, Hulu)

Character: Vanessa “Van” Keefer played by Zazie Beetz

The main character of Atlanta, the Twin Peak-esque brainchild of Donald and Stephen Glover obviously is not one person, but as the name implies, the city of Atlanta herself. Still, it is apparent that the show follows mostly the exploits of the black male trio of Paper Boi, Earn, and Darius as they attempt to make a name for themselves in the humid streets of the south. But where does that leave those uninterested in the world of entertainment? The everyday struggle of survival in Atlanta that lurks in the peripheral of the camera? After Earn, Vanessa, his on off again girlfriend and mother of their child, Lottie, is my favorite part of the show. As a character she brings a realism to the show that the big rapper personalities of the main narrative can’t always be afforded. She’s a mother, a former teacher, and most importantly; a black woman trying to survive in the world in a deeply relatable way. Zazie Beetz, a talented actor in her own right, makes this character someone I was consistently rooting for even when she wasn’t on screen. 

Though hardly in the spotlight, when the writers do focus on her development in episodes like Season 1’s “Juneteenth” and Season 2’s “Helen”, I am reminded just how compelling of a character Van is; a biracial single mother who is battling with how to make sense of her hybrid identity and take up more space in the world. Donald Glover recently teased that the 3rd season of Atlanta should be coming out at the top of next year and I hope we get more glimpses into Vanessa’s emotional and professional development because I’m forever wanting see her huge smile take up the entire frame.

More TV/Film/Theater Staff Picks in Mixed Mag:

Staff Picks: Firsts (Issue 6)

Staff Picks: Best of 2020 (Issue 5)

Staff Picks: Comfort (Issue 4)

Editors’ Picks: Horror (Issue 3)


EDITORS’ PICK: Representation (Issue 1)

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