Directed by: Jairus Burks & Alonge Hawes
Written by: Alonge Hawes
Genre: Dramatic web series
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Blue Collar Hustle S2
Season 1 review can be found here.
Chronicling the lives of 4 friends through life sounds like any other mishmash of movies and television shows. The ups and downs of life. Work, paying bills and starting/continuing a family is the cornerstone of the American dream. Like death and taxes. Blue Collar Hustle then ups the ante by adding music. This core group of friends have started a record label and are in the midst of promoting and putting on shows. All ends of the spectrum apply including websites, bookings and gear.
Within minutes of the season premier the struggle begins. Ajani quits his long standing job to make their new startup more than a side business, and the rest of the crew gear up for a coming show. Tensions mount as the topic of racism comes into play, and the musical maestro Quan, after deciding not to go in that direction, decides to bend a knee on stage. Standing for something more than just himself or the group. In the meantime Ajani is forced to look for a day job to help pay the bills, after pressure from his wife.
The repercussions of Quan's decision are then briefly explored as the group looks for gigs and a new member is added to the musical mix. Finally, in episode 5 Blue Collar Hustle decides to take a step back and explore the history of one of the main characters Jose. This episode deals with Jose's youth and the gangland life he led before coming out to Stone Mountain.
I've essentially done a skim job on this review and tried to keep things relatively spoiler free. There's over 90 minutes of content and sub plots going on this season, all woven into the main arc of the story. Blue Collar Hustle deals with music, obviously. It also deals with racism. Family and good friends. Relationships and self perception. There's a lot going on and a lot of characters - bringing me to my next topic.
Blue Collar Hustle is about a group of young African-Americans, and is focused on that struggle. Talent, dreams and hard work all play second fiddle sometimes. It feels so strange to say this but I'll go out on a limb anyway: Where is everybody else? I hate to play the diversity card, but find it sort of funny that I can't recall a single person in this show that is not African-American. No Asians or Caucasians. Nobody except for African-American's. I understand this is a series that's backbone deals with the struggles of being African-American, but to not have a single race present in the world, even in the background, just feels surreal. Not only that but Alonge Hawes has effectively thrown aside some incredibly juicy dramatic plot points in doing so. It would make for one hell of an episode, and strike a full on bullseye regarding the shows message, if the group had to deal with some racist white bastard(s) in an episode.
Now regarding my rating of the show itself. If I rated each episode the stars would vary. A great example is Ep 5 - easily a 3.5 or 4.0 star episode. Ep 1 would have been a 2.5 star episode mainly for the audio quality. As the episodes go on they get better and better. That's pretty normal for any series out in the world. Some episodes are better than others.
Blue Collar Hustle is at times tense and generally speaking, doing much better than 90% of the no budget web series I've seen lately. I've personally bookmarked the series as I plan to watch season 1 on my own time. Maybe some time this week. There is a goldmine of story here and if you crave a good show to spend some time with - here it is.