At Georgia A&M, new president Eva Fletcher has her hands full. She has to cut the budget, raise the standing of the college, and deal with the egos of the faculty. Most of which are held by sensitive men who don't want her changing a damn thing about their way of life. Though of course, it isn't just the staff & faculty with drama, the young adults do as well. Fresh from Chicago, young Cedric is trying to become a rapper and stay out of trouble. Though with his girlfriend Chantel visiting, possibly running away from an incident back home, it seems trouble came to find him. Then there is Sydney, Eva's daughter, who is still in some sort of rebellious phase. There is also Madison and Bo John, two token white people. Both worried about those they left behind. Then there is Noni. A sweet girl who gets caught up in faculty drama but is trying to stay out of it, if only because it could impede the dreams she has had since she was a little girl.
Petty Ass Men & Women Looking Out For Each Other
The way Diamond and Carlton act is so petty and catty and love to hate type of Black men. Which I love for, not to appropriate Viola Davis' words, but she mentioned a long time ago about how much she loves that Annalise, on How To Get Away With Murder wasn't always, likable. Something I don't think a lot of people of color are given the opportunity to be. Women especially, but men as well.
Various Types of Black Folk – Look & Background Wise
Physically you get dark skinned, light skinned, those who grew up in the hood as well as the suburban Black folks. There are those who got their curls out and others who straighten it. Pretty much, look & background wise, there is someone who potentially has the same look or style as you, unless you are on a Lisa Bonet or Jaden Smith type of wave.
Token White People
You know how awkward it is when there is one or two Black, Hispanic, or Indian characters on a show, and the writers avoid the characters and story addressing how there is just something different about them, it is sort of the opposite here. But, to make matters worse, both BoJohn and Madison seem like CW characters who got lost and ended up in a random show.
There is Nothing Rooted in Normalcy
To me, everyone's life and story is setup to be sensationalized. Cedric's girlfriend dies and he gets arrested. Eva cheated on her husband with a grad student, got fired from her old job because of it, and then he transfers to her new school.
I could go on and on but do you see a pattern here? No one has a normal life.
Something which bugs me for I can't think of another scripted show which has this many Black people who all could have a speaking role. So this being just another soap opera with cheating spouses, people being framed for what they didn't do, and your usual dark agendas, it's frustrating. For as much as this show has the potential to break out from the comparisons people could make, it seems those involved want are banking on the comparisons.
Lack of Racial And Sexual Orientation Diversity
Considering this is a college, I find it interesting how there is no representation of queer or non-binary individuals. Also, where are the Hispanics/Latinx folk? How come there are no Asian characters with a speaking role? Not even someone from Africa, directly, for a lack of a better way to put it? Surely diversity, inclusivity, or whatever they call it nowadays, is about more than just cis and hetero white folk and Black folk sharing the screen.
On The Fence
Anika Noni Rose Forging Her Own Path As a Lead
I wouldn't put Anika Noni Rose in the same category as Taraji P. Henson, Viola Davis, Kerry Washington, or even Gabrielle Union. She doesn't cut people with her words, even when she is being serious and standing up for herself. Also, she doesn't really have some iconic look, walk, attitude or anything. In many ways, she sort of blends in and I like that in a way. She maybe the lead, perhaps one of the most recognizable names and faces, outside Jasmine Guy, but she isn't made out to be overly exceptional. She is qualified, but she isn't the best and you don't have to constantly hear people remind you of her stature. The bad thing about that is, with her not being treated as this big to do, we are given a show which is very much an ensemble and no one really makes that huge push to be notable. Diamond perhaps, to a point, but take away his sass to his boss and he is just a boring old man who has one specialty – coaching a marching band. He isn't presented as some interesting and complex figure. He is just someone you can love to hate. As for everyone else, except maybe Noni who seems like a 20 something-year- old version of all these women who lead these shows, there isn't anyone who really pops.
Overall: Mixed (Stick Around)
This show really could be something. The problem is, it seems there isn't a strong push toward pushing boundaries, bringing the type of stories and performances rarely seen outside of the once a year indie film, and that bothers me. Thus leading to the "Stick Around" label for maybe they just wanted to establish the players before getting too deep. But if it sticks to the usual story lines we've been given for years, then all that BET and this show is doing is milking the trends for all they are worth.