Directed by: Alonge Hawes
Written by: Alonge Hawes
Genre: Drama / Series
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Black on Both Sides - Sankofa
Season 2 Episodes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Black on Both Sides: Sankofa is the second season of the same name from series creator Alonge Hawes. The show focuses on Anansi Moor and his continued plan to raise capital and start up his new business venture, Sankofa Industries. Season one is recommended viewing before watching this second season, but not necessarily necessary. The story of this season can be enjoyed without prior viewing as it's mostly stand alone. You may be thrown for a loop when regarding Anansi Moor getting called into an office meeting for discipline, but it all explains itself.
This season opens with John Redding, a black man, being gunned down in his apartment by the police for no apparent reason. This event acts as a call to action for all the characters in this series, including Anansi. After a podcast from series regular Henry Gil Scott Heron, disciplinary action is taken against Anansi for what transpired in season one. What comes next is a demand to see the police footage of what happened during the shooting of John Redding and the former start of a movement.
It's at around this point that Anansi devises a new way to keep money flowing into Sankofa Industries and we're also introduced to another set of characters from season one. These two will play an important role much later in this season. Other season highlights include Cyrus asking Anansi to help his wife write a speech. The full episode titled, Black History Year, a physical conflict at work between Henry and his new boss at Legacy Wireless, and the uncovering of Anansi's plan to fund his business using money from Legacy. Season five ends with a cliffhanger and Anansi's final decision on the official stand his company will take on the John Redding, and similar issues. Alonge Hawes also closes in a powerful way using various video clips of police brutality.
I was more emotionally involves during this season despite technical problems on almost every level. Some episodes were really drawn out, and there ares several instances of really bad audio. Chapter four in particular was very hard to hear without cranking my volume almost to the maximum, and that resulted in me almost blowing out my speakers when the audio returned to normal. The series format uses a lot of hand-held activity that seems a little jarring for such a drama based title. But this was all expected because Black on Both Sides is a micro budget series, so I tried to keep that in mind when writing this review. The other thing I've noticed is the major length differences of each episode. A standard half hour show is usually between 22 and 24 minutes, doubled for an hour long, and usually kept consistent. I don't know why, but the varying lengths kept me looking at the video timer and not the video. Maybe the idea of certain lengths has become hard stamped into my brain.
Having no real budget hasn't stopped this series from being cool and interesting. I don't mean people won't know it's a micro budget production, but once you get into it you just don't care. There's drama, there are real life connections, and even though it lacks the studio produced look we've all become accustomed to, there's something real and true about a less polished series. It hits home with a much stronger impact. Black on Both Sides is worth starting from the beginning, and keeps getting better as it continues.