There is a hot new show on Starz Network called P-Valley. Unless you live under a rock, you probably have heard of it. P-Valley centers around Haley and her journey from fleeing Houston after Hurricane Drake to the Mississippi Delta. In her quest for survival, she finds employment at Pynk, the local strip club where she dawns the stage name Autumn Night. The show also explores the lives of club owner Uncle Gifford as well as fellow dancers Mercedes, Miss Mississippi and Gigit. Although the show is only on the fourth episode of its inaugural season, the storytelling packs a powerful punch. Not only is the show authentic regarding the intersectionality of southern music and culture as it pertains to the exotic dance world but the show explores a myriad of universal themes such as trauma, the human desire to succeed and love.
Out of the myriad of themes P-Valley explores, the themes that stir my soul are the unapologetic display of the fullness of womanhood and the power of femininity. P-Valley displays womanhood through an unconventional lens with Uncle Clifford. Uncle Clifford is a fabulous non-binary being that adorns only the baddest nails, wigs and outfits. Uncle Clifford steps fully and comfortably into a feminine power that the the dancers can relate to and trust. Both men and women find Clifford’s softness comforting and as a result trust Clifford with their secrets. Uncle Clifford’s femininity is a force to be reckoned with.
The conventional exploration of womanhood is equally as riveting. Mercedes, the OG of Pynk is the archetype of a strong black woman. The woman takes absolutely no mess. She is smart as a whip and determined to graduate from the stage into her destiny. She is respected by the others girls as well as the patrons. She uses her feminine power to put the patrons under a spell and give her all that they have. There is a scene in episode 4 where Mercedes enters the club and her mere presence prompts the patrons to make it rain with money. That scene is symbolic of the confidence and power that exudes from the pores of a woman that stands in the truth of who she is. All she had to do was walk in her truth and the people bowed to the truth that was Mercedes.
Miss Mississippi is Pynk’s Helen of Troy. She has a face that can launch a thousand ships. Even though she endures physical abuse, she has not lost her softness. Her softness is alluring in an almost mystic way. She is so alluring, she has a patron that pays top dollar to watch her sleep with a rose in her hand. If that isn’t the essence of feminine power, I don’t know what is.
Autumn is a survivor that possesses both physical beauty and intelligence. She leveraged her feminine power to obtain intel for Uncle Clifford. Autumn uses her feminine power as a resource for the greater good.
P-Valley does a genius job of taking characters that in real life would be seen as only ghetto, broken and classless and placing them on a pedestal of beauty and power. Instead of the characters existing solely for the pleasure of others, they are women that used their womanhood and femininity to influence their environment. P-Valley shows that womanhood includes but is not limited to brokenness, sadness, allure, power and softness. P-Valley challenges the stereotypes of exotic dancers through the complexity of the characters. P-Valley takes no prisoners and doesn’t promote victim hood in any shape, form or fashion.
If you can see past the societal narrative surrounding exotic dancers, check out the the show. There are so many moving pieces and the character development will certainly intrigue you. The show comes on Sundays at 9:00 pm.