20 Reasons Why "P-Valley" Is Becoming An Important Part Of Television History

·8 min read

When Starz's P-Valley enters the chat, a range of reactions is expressed. From those who love every raunchy and cultural nuance to those who are more traditional and completely bothered by everything the show represents — there's no shortage of conversation about the show. No matter where you fall on the spectrum, what can't be denied is the show's cultural impact.

Whether P-Valley is renewed for a third season or not (please let it be), the nighttime drama has already cemented itself as a staple in television culture. Here's why.

1.P-Valley is Black.

Cast of P-Valley posing at bar

Without any pretense or subtle context, P-Valley gives a well-rounded picture of Black culture as it relates to the deep South. Black people are not a monolith. I repeat: Black people are not a monolith. However, collective cultural experiences resonate with many of us in the Black community. From the music played to the unfortunate discriminatory practices Black people face daily, P-Valley puts a magnifying glass on nuances that exists in Black culture.

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2.There is representation in a variety of ways.

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Outside of it being Black, there is so much representation hitting the screens. There are members of the LGTBQ+ community, Black business owners, sex workers, musicians, politicians, religious people, and so much more. Although the characters aren't an exact depiction of you or maybe the people closest to you, there are so many ways people can look at the show and see themselves in it.

3.Bands will make her dance.

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Regardless of your preference, strip clubs are a cultural staple. Drake consistently mentions his favorite "shake joints" across many of his songs. Artists like Juicy J, Yo Gotti, Chris Brown, Megan Thee Stallion, Gangsta Boo, and many more have made songs that have become strip club anthems. The Players Club is a hood classic for a reason, and now P-Valley is amplifying that strip clubs are more than just institutions of nakedness. It humanizes the dancers and amplifies the range of their existence.

4.Hot wings are not just an appetizer.

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I know that in this same post, I said that Black people are not a monolith. However, remember that I pointed out that some collective cultural experiences bind many of us together. Hot wings are one of those experiences. Yes, it is more than food. It is a freaking experience. Please don't ask me how I know, but strip clubs have the best wings. And all of the references to wings in this show are Black excellence.

5.Uncle Clifford is more than a diversity token.

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In every friend circle or social space, there is one person whose light shines bright. Many people may not understand them, but they are highly respected and regarded by many. This is Uncle Clifford. This is what he represents: someone dependable, larger than life, and more authentic than most. Salute.

6.The church is not perfect.

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As a Christian, I find great solace in my faith. For my friends, family, and associates who do not believe the same way I do, I understand their faith and beliefs are also important to them. Among us all and our various belief systems, every moment that attempts to depict faith practices is not always accurate or the most honest representation of said practices, even if represented by a fraction of the truth. That being said, Patrice Woodbine is my least favorite character. Everything about her makes me cringe, and she is a terrible representation of what church leaders should be. I am mature enough to admit that her character, though egregious, is not entirely off base from some real-life people that exist. So, religious institutions are flawed, but it doesn't make these character tropes less annoying.

7.Colorism is a historical trope.

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Throughout history, the harmful nature of colorism has plagued communities of color. As a Black man, I have experienced and witnessed this firsthand. Colorism is wrong, and it's a great divide among communities. P-Valley shows that "preferences" are often rooted in historical biases centered around learned prejudices. While hard to watch, it is a real issue that exists.

8.Pole dancing should be an Olympic sport.

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Have you seen the acrobatics that exotic dancers complete? The arm and core strength alone put my workout routine to pure shame. The Mercedes experience — look it up. That is all.

9.Tragedy is commonplace.

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Season 2 has seen its fair share of tragedy. We've witnessed death, PTSD, and infidelity. I know the show is a drama, so many of these themes are expected. And since art often imitates real life, the situations usually align with moments several people have dealt with. Many of these things trigger some people, so be mindful when watching.

10.The pursuit of a dream is never a pristine experience.

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For many of the characters in the show, their goal is to take it to the next level. Whether Lil Murda wants to get out of Chucalissa, Mississippi or Mercedes vows to open her dance studio, the show is filled with dreams. For each of them, the dream is big and obstacles high. However, they are not using this as an opportunity to blow it. They take it in stride and move forward.

11.Uncle Clifford's rules are like oral traditions.

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I wrote an entire piece dedicated to Clifford's rules, but they are worth mentioning again. We don't know where any of these rules came from. We do know that they are staples that he and the ladies of The Pynk live by. In Black culture, old tales and seemingly quirky principles like Cliff's rules are the foundation for how we navigate life. Next time you're around one of the more senior members of your family, just sit and listen. I can almost guarantee you'll hear something like, "Don't let that baby stare in the mirror before they're one." Who knows what that even means?

12.Change can be challenging.

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I would argue that the main character of P-Valley is the club itself. From its prominence in the city to the never-ending tale of its future existence, it seems like this staple is constantly evolving. Just like the cycles of The Pynk, life is a never-ending journey of ups and downs. This rollercoaster plays itself out through the characters' lives as well — hard truth: Change will happen and won't always be pretty.

13.Fashion tells a story.

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What you wear gives insight into who you are. The choices in color, fabrics, designs, and brands all share a narrative. What is your wardrobe saying about you? Every character brings a unique edge to their fashion choices. What's yours?

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14.The deep South is full of culture.

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I know when you think of the world's top destinations, a small town in Mississippi doesn't come to mind. Although Chucalissa is a fictional town in a southern state, it is an actual, historic Native American reservation in Memphis, Tennessee. And just like the culture the fictional city pulls from, many cities across the southern tip of the United States are full of beautiful surprises. Don't sleep on the South.

15.Family is more than blood.

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In Season 2, Episode 9, Uncle Clifford tells Mercedes and one of the newest dancers, Roulette, after a heated argument that they may not be friends but must be sisters. Family may not always get it right. Family may not always be the picture-perfect idea one has conjured up, but family is just that — family. DNA or legalities do not define it. Family is a choice. Choose wisely.

16.Is grace really for everyone?

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We all have our indiscretions, and most of us rank transgressions by the level of offense and personal convictions. However, does everyone deserve a second chance? It seems as if P-Valley believes this is the case. There have been many "unforgivable" offenses from a majority of the characters. Does this mean they shouldn't have space to get it right?

17.Resilience can't be taught.

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I really hate the phrase "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" because that's usually said to people who don't even have boots. Some community members in and around The Pynk are creating a lot with very little. They are the definition of resilience and determination.

18.The pandemic has changed the world forever.

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P-Valley is one of the few shows that has been very intentional about how it addressed the pandemic. From safety precautions to unfortunate tragedies, the world hasn't been the same since COVID-19. It will never be the same.

19.All history ain't in textbooks.

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If you've ever studied history in an American classroom, you've likely only been told a portion of the range of events in this country. Good, bad, ugly, and indifferent — history isn't something that should be overlooked, whitewashed, or sidelined. However, this is what consistently happens. Though fictional, P-Valley gives us a fresh perspective of what authentic storytelling can be. History: unashamed and untamed.

20.P-Valley is Black.

Woman talking on stage

Yes, it is here again, but it is worth mentioning twice. Katori Hall gave us a FUBU situation in this show. All are welcome to enjoy, but this one is for the culture.

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Among the twists and turns in just two seasons, P-Valley has already cemented itself as a staple in American culture. Cheers to one hell of a classic.