Phumlani S Langa recommends watching the gritty street drama, The Chi.
Available on Showmax
4 stars out of 5
I had heard talk of American drama series The Chi but hadn’t had the pleasure of experiencing it until recently. This is some hard TV set in the South Side of Chicago, which is among the most dangerous areas in America. This is on The Sopranos level of gripping, with fresh shots and a solid cast, some of whom are getting more work as a result. It is created by Dear White People producer Lena Waithe. Even in a ghetto like the South Side – stricken by gang rivalries and militant battles for turf – rising stars in the neighbourhood are meant to get a pass of sorts; a talented artist or athlete should be left alone as they have the potential to elevate the neighbourhood and bring pride to it. So, when a high school hoop star, Jason, is shot, someone has to answer for it. Another young man discovers Jason’s lifeless body in the streets. He takes a chain and sneakers from the corpse and is seen doing so by onlookers in the distance. After this a rather grim story of brotherhood, responsibility and forgiveness plays out. The music used shows off some of Chicago’s best hip-hop talent such as Chief Keef; Common, who makes an appearance in the show; and the not-so-impressive Chance The Rapper.
The best parts of this show are provided by a trio of primary school kids by the names of Kevin, Jake and Papa. These three kill it; they’re young but the conversations they share are those of people far beyond their years, which provides hilarity as well as sobering and solemn moments. This is quite easily one of the best shows on Showmax right now. A predominantly black cast never hurts and the actors who have been enlisted to play these complex roles are of the highest quality. I’m honestly so excited for you to start watching this.