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Them: Covenant, a new horror anthology series from Little Marvin and executive produced by Lena Waithe, which examines the trials faced by a Black North Carolina family, just made its debut on Amazon Prime. Fans on Twitter have been slamming Waithe and the new series, alleging that she’s using her position to peddle Black trauma.
For context, Them: Covenant made its debut Friday night (April 9) with all 10 episodes of the first season landing on Amazon Prime. The series follows Livia “Lucky” Emory (Deborah Ayorinde) and her military husband Henry (Ashley Thomas) as they leave North Carolina to join in the Great Migration, where southern Black families looked for opportunities elsewhere in the nation.
Henry, Lucky, and their two daughters, Ruby (Shahadi Wright Joseph) and Gracie (Melody Hurd) make the journey to Los Angeles, Calif., acquiring a home in a predominately white 1950s Compton. Like other famed horror anthology series American Horror Story, the series will change themes and locales from season to season but largely using the same cast members from previous iterations.
What appears to be an issue for some observers on Twitter is the show’s emphasis on violent racism and how it uniquely affected Black Americans. This is especially true in the time that show takes place, at the dawn of the Civil Rights Movement, when the embers of the Jim Crow era still glowed. The gruesome violence depicted left many questioning whether Waithe has essentially wrapped Black trauma into a gift package for white consumers.
Others are also mentioning her handling of the Jason Mitchell situation on the set of The Chi, the show she created and wrote for.
There have also been inevitable comparisons to HBO’s hit horror series Lovecraft Country due to the themes of widespread bigotry from whites and the suffering of the Black protagonists being on display.
In fairness, the series just opened a day ago and people are either responding with knee-jerk reactions, or they’re simply not fans of Waithe’s creative energy and output.
We’ve got reactions from Twitter regarding Lena Waithe’s involvement with Them: Covenant, which can be seen in its entirety via the Amazon Prime streaming service.
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Twitter Slams Lena Waithe Over ‘Them: Covenant’ Saying She’s Peddling Black Trauma
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white people are not the only people who desire (actively desire, consciously & unconsciously) to witness black suffering. dramatized and real. simulated & stimulating.
lena waithe get therapy challenge
— . (@incivilitea) April 10, 2021
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. https://t.co/U13AI2hQjh
— biscuit baptiste (@StorySorcery) April 10, 2021
lena waithe must be stopped??? she’s like a DC supervillain
— erin the great. (@lifethruglasses) April 10, 2021
When I log on and see Lena Waithe trending because y’all are dragging her to the depths of hell, where she belongs. pic.twitter.com/PIkcGf5ySC
— The rocket scientist with the pocket wine list. (@bigthighgemini) April 10, 2021
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.
— AshleyStevens (@The_Acumen) April 10, 2021
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. https://t.co/qF6gUqcrHr
— red velvet (@RedVelvetAches) April 10, 2021
Lena Waithe really went to Amazon Prime and said, “Jordan Peele/Monkeypaw Productions has Us. HBO has Lovecraft Country. Let me give you both.”
Not watching that. pic.twitter.com/MxkhSClKFa
— nafisa “✌🏽🤏🏽🤏🏽” ahmed (@thatxxv) April 10, 2021