Directed by: Jairus Burks & Alonge Hawes
Written by: Alonge Hawes
Genre: Dramatic web series
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Blue Collar Hustle S2 Complete
Season 1 review can be found here.
And that's a wrap on season 2 of Blue Collar Hustle. The second half of the season, or final quarter would be more precise, really spices things up as it moves to establish itself as a show worth watching. Blue Collar Hustle has never been a bad show, and always maintained an above average rating, but things are about to get heavy as S2 winds down.
As the crew pin their hopes on a meeting with Teyana Owens, a surprise appearance by another label head stuns the crew after a freestyle radio jam. Although his offer is realistically a decent one, Ajani goes against the code of the Core; deciding that Harvey Harvey (Yes. That's his name) is not only a little racist, but simply wants to take advantage of Quan - and make some money. Normally, such situations are discussed and voted on. But this time Ajani takes it upon himself to be the leader and storms out of Harvey's office.
The Harvey incident pushes the wedge within the friends deeper, and instead of explaining his actions or anger to his friends, Ajani decides to keep quiet about his breakup with Anaya. As Quan's much hyped show approaches, Quan and the core also have to deal with the upcoming meeting with Teyana and Ajani's recent attitude. Tensions fly as the season finale continues.
As the Core wait, the all or nothing meeting with Owens takes place - and doesn't quite go as expected. Season 2 ends with Ajani and Anaya attempting to reconcile, a big change for Quan and the Core, and an offer Ajani probably shouldn't refuse. If you're wondering about how the big show went? We don't get to see much of it, but it looks like it went off without a hitch.
On a personal note. Blue Collar Hustle continues to improve in almost every way. The acting is still head over heels better, than the majority of micro budget content out there right now; and the writing of the show deserves some high praises. These last couple episodes have really upped the game, and some interesting ideas for a season 3 have been firmly planted. My favorite scene of the last 3 episodes? The sit-com style opening of episode 10. Priceless.
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. 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.