You’re going to have to buckle up if you’re tough enough to watch P-Valley. The new show on Starz gives viewers a rare mix of grit and southern sweet tea.
If you’ve ever been to a strip club down south, you’ll know it’s unlike anything you can find anywhere else. Black strip clubs like Magic City in Atlanta are famous for putting on a wild show. They have been sensationalized by rappers like Future and embraced by urban culture as a whole.
Customers flock for the beautiful dancers, the great food, and networking in such a laid back atmosphere. But more than anything else, they know they will get a show. The choreography is nothing the average person could do at home, and you will leave with your mouth wide open.
P-Valley lets you know that life behind the show is no walk in the park. Viewers of the show will see that the dancers of “The Pynk” have to put their game face on when the lights are shining. But when the lights are off, the skeletons seem to creep out. The dancers are kept in line and held together by the gender-fluid Uncle Clifford, a natural born leader played by Nicco Annan. Dancer Miss Mississippi (Shannon Thornton) is next up but struggles with an abusive relationship behind the scenes. Mercedes (Brandee Evans) is the main attraction but has doubts about leaving the game.
When bringing P-Valley to life, writer and creator Katori Hall really wanted to highlight the people and the stories behind the club. Rest assured, she did her research especially as she created the outline first as a similarly-named play. She visited over 40 strip clubs and strippers to really really understand day-to-day life. However, Hall wanted to focus on southern strip clubs and how they lead the culture.
The destination itself is becoming much less taboo. Modern movies and tv shows are increasingly finding a matured voice when it comes to portraying strip clubs in general. The dialogue tends to focus more on the fun to be had or the alluring qualities of the women. “Hustlers,” featuring Jennifer Lopez and Lizzo, was the latest blockbuster film to profile life at the club. After all, many respected entertainers have had pasts in strip clubs. Cardi B, who also starred in “Hustlers” is culturally a prime example. The stripper turned star rapper has shown that there’s no shame in showing what you got.
With P-Valley, Katori Hall has captured the black female experience in such a raw way. You see these ladies push each other and push themselves. You see true friendship and real sacrifice. A true rarity is how she addresses black female sexuality, which is often either swept under the rug or shown in a derogatory way in mainstream media. The ladies at Club Pynk flaunt their sexuality and are powerful for it. Dancing is a talent, a test of fitness, and a form of self-love.
Tune in to watch P-Valley Sundays on Starz at 8pm E.T. and on