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#STAYWOKE: Why “Survivor’s Remorse” Is An Even Bigger Deal Than Anyone Realizes

survivors_remorse

Tomorrow night, the highly anticipated Starz dramatic comedy series “Survivor’s Remorse” begins airing on Starz. The reason this project is so alluring is it’s about a basketball player who just received a huge contract to play in Atlanta, his entire immediate family and the obstacles they face with being noveau riche public figures in the era of real time media. “Survivor’s Remorse” is also executive produced by LeBron James and his manager Maverick Carter which brings in even more buzz and attention to the series. The short trailer first surfaced in early August and it just looked like a Black version of “Entourage” then. Once the long trailer for the series was revealed it had two very clear Boston references, Dorchester and a NESN telecast with Bob Ryan in it talking about the main character. Everyone in Boston reacted immediately, is this a show about a Black family from Boston being produced by LeBron James and Maverick Carter? Many of us searched for information via entertainment blogs or IMDb to figure out if it was a show about a Black Bostonian. However, all of the copy said Cam Calloway was from North Philly. Um…there’s no Dorchester in Philadelphia, bruh…

As someone who has spent much of his life telling people that there ARE Black people and Latinos in Boston every time I go out of town or taking my out of town friends to parts of the city that end up shocking their systems because Boston TV shows or films never actually capture the reality of this city I can tell you, this is a HUGE deal. The heart of Boston contains Roxbury, South End, Chinatown, Dorchester and Jamaica Plain which is where the so-called minority population of this city is concentrated. The overwhelming majority of the Boston Public School system consists of Black, Latino & Asian students. How are we filling up all of these schools with invisible people? Boston is the #1 city in regards of gentrification pressure. If all of these brown folks don’t exist in Boston then how is that possible? I’m just confused at how no one outside of Boston thought it was a big deal there’s a TV show depicting Black life in Boston considering they’ve never seen it before in their lives.

The only film about Black life in Boston that people are even somewhat familiar with is Craig Ross Jr’s “Blue Hill Avenue” which became a hood staple on DVD in the early 00’s. There were short glimpses given in Ben Affleck’s “Gone Baby Gone” but nothing that would change the wide perception that Boston’s brown human contingency was nonexistent. That being the case it became increasingly more frustrating that NO ONE felt the need to clarify that Cam Calloway and his family were actually from Boston. Not during the September 11th screening in Cleveland  attended by LeBron James, Johnny Manziel and other celebrities nor in the other copy following other screenings. This is odd since “Survivor’s Remorse” is actually a collaboration between LeBron James and Maverick Carter’s Springhill Productions alongside Tom Werner, chairman of the Boston Red Sox. Given that the show’s main writer is actually Boston comedian/screenwriter Mike O’Malley it’s even more of an oddity how no one thought that Cam Calloway being a Bostonian was an important enough detail to address. Even when Banksy of The Smoking Section saw the first two episodes on Starz he didn’t think it was a big enough issue to address the fact the Calloways are from Boston…but he noticed that Cam is short for a point guard. What the fuck, man? FOCUS BRUH! Really?

After watching the first 3 minutes of the opening episode on Starz a few days ago I immediately began spazzing out. I’m a 39 year old Blacktino Bostonian and my dream in life is to forever change how people perceive my city through the use of media. The Boston I grew up in, live in and love has never been accurately portrayed in media before and this is the first step to achieving that dream. I dream of a day when a Bostonian doesn’t have to sit down an out of towner and deprogram them from thinking Boston is populated by nothing but drunk, racist White people with pahk yah cah aht Hahvahd Yahd accents. Given how ignorant out of towners are about Boston I’m surprised that the first thing people noticed after watching the Starz early premiere episodes wasn’t a Boston with a gang of Black people in it…

Once “Survivor’s Remorse” airs on Starz this Saturday, October 4th it can be a huge step forward in changing the way Boston is perceived by outsiders. The city and metro area that gave the world Donna Summer, Arthur Baker, New Edition, Jonzun Crew and New Kids On The Block also produced NBA talent like Jeff Adrien, Shabazz Napier, Noah Vonleh and Wayne Selden Jr. amongst others. Hopefully everyone else will understand why in Boston we’re hoping this does well and forces other Boston natives who are writers, producers, directors and showrunners to use their considerable power to tell more stories in Boston since the same ol’ tired Irish mob crime stories have run out of steam. I have one word and three syllables for you all: ROXBURY.

One.