Sunday, May 16, 2021

Lena Waithe Catches Heat Over Racist Violence in New Horror Series ‘Them’

*Lena Waithe is catching heat over the new horror series “Them,” which debuted Friday on Amazon. 

Created by Little Marvin, the ten-episode Amazon Original limited anthology series explores terror in America. The 1950s-set first season centers on a Black family who moves from North Carolina to an all-white Los Angeles neighborhood during the period known as The Great Migration. The family’s idyllic home becomes ground zero where malevolent forces, next-door and otherworldly, threaten to taunt, ravage and destroy them.

Check out the official trailer above.

READ MORE: Shahadi Wright Joseph’s First-EVER Kiss Happened in Lena Waithe’s Creepy Azz ‘Them’

Boomerang Premiere - Lena Waithe
Lena Waithe

Waithe, who executive-produced two episodes, is facing backlash on Twitter due to some of the racist violence in the series. 

Here’s more from Newsweek

People on Twitter appeared to be reacting to a Los Angeles Times piece about the series, which noted that “the most shocking horror lies in the in its more realistic scenes of racist violence, which are arguably more disturbing than the vivid images in its recent predecessors.”

The highlighted portion of the review goes on to point towards a moment depicting the murder of a young Black child and a sexual assault of his mother in the series’ fifth episode, and the ninth episode in which two Black people’s eyes are gouged with hot pokers.

Twitter users are calling out Waithe for what they deem to be a “sick and twisted” narrative, others have referred to “Them” as “Black trauma porn.”

One Twitter user wrote, “To be clear this is peak Lena Waithe. She seems incapable of being attached to projects about Black people without reveling in Black pain–especially when she is in charge. Play on the name, use one of the same actresses but expressly torture Black bodies.”

Another said, “Lena Waithe is unwell. Her art is telling me things I don’t like. Where did she grow up, go to school, hang out with? What inspires her art? These projects she’s putting out….eh.”

A Third added, “Once again we have a piece of media that believes Black trauma porn is Black horror. This is why Peele is a top dog. He knows how to blend Black horror & social commentary effortlessly. Twice Lena Waithe has proven she has no business screenwriting Black stories.”

Meanwhile, check out my interview with Little Marvin for Emmys.com about why the Black experience in America makes for an intriguing horror series.

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is a screenwriter and freelance reporter from Chicago -- currently living in Los Angeles and covering A-list entertainment for various outlets, including Emmys.com. She has worked for: Miramax, MTV & VH1, The Jim Henson Company, Hallmark Channel, Paramount Pictures, and for iconic indie film producer Roger Corman.

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