See: The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency

September 1, 2010

Just in case you were wondering why this shrink is so concerned about the media, I have an answer for you.  We digest massive amounts of information each day through radio, television, billboards, music, magazines…  Sometimes we are not paying close attention but suddenly we are singing a song we didn’t know we knew, or wanting that new thingamajig because, “well, I don’t know, I just want it”.  Media and advertising are powerful: there is a whole branch of psychology geared toward shaping your behavior through advertising that makes it so.  Unfortunately, stereotypes about Black people loom large in this media.  Living consciously means making every effort to take control of what we digest from media.

Anyway, when I stumbled upon this work, I thought it had positive, clear messages about developing countries in Africa;  essential in terms of undoing all those negative stereotypes about Africa many of us grew up with.

Anyway, I adore Jill Scott, but I had not been a huge fan of her acting.  I also loved Anika Noni Rose’s singing, not necessarily from Dreamgirls where I just feel like her gifts were downplayed, but from a Broadway play, Caroline or Change which I despised except for Rose’s singing which was amazing.  I was mad at Rose for doing The Princess and the Frog which I thought was a catastrophe in terms of psychologically healthy Black roles.  The author of the book The No 1. Ladies Detective Agency (Alexander McCall Smith) was an African citizen from birth, although not Black, a mild concern for me.  With all of this you would think I would never go out and rent the series, but all 7 episodes later…

This beautiful little show takes place in Botswana. You really get a feeling for the communities there.  Scott and Rose pull off the accents, and confirm for me what I believe true, that there are more similarities between people of African descent than distinctions although we have tried so hard to distance ourselves because of the negative images pounded into our heads usually from mainstream media about who we are.   The characters are real, all like people you may know, but they are out there solving crimes and shedding light on relationships between lovers and families.  The characters themselves have issues.  Scott’s character, Precious Ramotswe is struggling with the early death of her child and a divorce from an abusive man. Rose’s character, Grace Makutsi is the perfect tightly wound anxiety ridden secretary with great ambitions.  Together they are brilliant.  The ensemble works together magically.  (And hey, please name for me any other Black women sole leads on TV anywhere before this.  I cannot think of one).

There is nothing like it I have ever seen on TV that is so engaging and fun, and at the same time able to bring to light some serious issues, such as the AIDS epidemic.  The whole family can watch.   I would say 10 years old and up is okay.  A great way to spend a rainy day; no cursing and limited violence.

I know that HBO has terminated the series, but there is blogging going out there about them brining it back periodically as “movies”.  I hope so.  In the meantime, maybe I’ll go read the books.

One Response to “See: The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency”

  1. flights to rhodes said

    ahhhhhh very good, bookmarked 🙂 keep it up, JusyKassy.

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