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, 6, 7, 8
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.
Episodes six, seven, and eight explode into existence with a shift to be more dramatic, and with a honed message of unity. The weight of John Redding being shot while at home remains a significant part of the series, and the connection between Anansi Moor and Cyrus is explored in more detail. We get details of the 'before' and 'after' life of Cyrus and his new partner. Along the way, we got more insight into Lilith's relationship with her husband, and that plotline slowly comes to its conclusion.
The final episodes also edge around Henry Gil Scott Heron and the rest of the crew, but not as much as in previous episodes. The final three installments of this series mostly involve Anansi, Anansi's father, and Cyrus, with the rest of the cast pushed more into the background. That works well enough for me because with the overarching story coming to an end, there were a lot of things to wrap up.
A lot of tension and, finally, release comes to play once the reporter angle enters the fray, and Anansi can finally play his end game with Cyrus. I really loved it that Cyrus was on top of the world ever so briefly in these episodes, and that's the time Anansi decides to strike. The fate of Sankofa as a business is left up in the air, but it's assumed they will continue the fight, and as for Cyrus himself? He ends up being taken away in cuffs after a meeting with Anansi. Nothing is set in stone about his ultimate fate, but it's implied he will finally have to face justice over what he did when he was a cop.
What a great way to send off a season! Alonge Hawes and his team have worked hard, and it shows. As a micro budget web series, Black on Both Sides: Sankofa, and season one as well, have created a hard hitting show that doesn't shy away from current life events. You can read my thoughts on previous episodes below, but in terms of progress, these last three episodes felt improved even more than the previous five. 100% The last two episodes were especially good, and there was even a little comedy added to the finale. Much needed comedy, I should add.
I was more emotionally involved 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.