Raising Dion Season 2 spoilers follow
An evil Crooked Man stalking a superpowered 10-year-old doesn’t seem like the most natural breeding ground for exploring the Black experience, but that’s what Raising Dion is. Amidst the chaotic world of a propelled boy and a single mother’s journey to raise him, there’s a lot to unpack.
Creator Carol Barbee does a brilliant job of barely veiling heavy background with three-dimensional heroes and villains, cool powers (who didn’t want to teleport or set things on fire?), friendship goals and just a little romance.
Yet if you lift, just a little, beneath all the glare, you get real black struggles portrayed through the lives of powerful people and the dynamic between the haves and have-nots.
“Thinly” is a pretty apt way to describe his approach. Right off the bat, season two draws parallels between casual racism and instinctive comments and reactions to powerful people in the most unexpected ways.
Alisha Wainwright’s Nicole Warren has spent the past two years learning to adjust to life with a motorized child. Learning to embrace it and protect it doesn’t stop it from making a classic though. faux pas when she meets her son’s motorized trainer, Tevin (How to Get Away With Murders Roma Flynn).
His dislike of his powers is evident despite the fact that he uses them to protect her – albeit milk spray from a broken cappuccino maker, but still. The smell of stale milk is not exactly eau de parfum.
The blunt tone she uses and the deadpan look she gives Tevin while saying, “You’re energized,” leads Tevin to ask, “Did it just get cold in here?” then, “[Have] do you have something against powerful people? »
Nicole tries to tone down her response by saying, “I like powerful people” (Oh boy, here we go), prompting Tevin to say, “Yeah, some of your best friends are powerful.”
Sound familiar? If you’re unlucky enough to have had a similar interaction, your insides probably just recoiled. Flashbacks of someone doing something mildly to overtly offensive and covering up their actions with “It’s okay, my best friend is black.” (Warning: this is never acceptable and this phrase should be banned.)
Fortunately, Nicole manages to make amends for her transgression so that we can forgive her and start loving her again.
However, the similarities do not end there. Barbee uses evil Biona employee David Marsh (Josh Ventura) in a subtle way to illustrate a huge problem facing the black community.
Right from the start, there was something uncertain about David. His dishonest smile didn’t help, but his eagerness to exploit powerful people by finding a way to exploit their gifts didn’t make the best first impression.
He tries to pass it off as a humanitarian act with cliched lines of “ending hunger”. His true intentions were further revealed towards the end of the season when he wanted to monetize them for his own financial gain.
Harnessing the gifts and talents of the black community without fair compensation has long been a source of contention. You only need to lift the lid to find wage disparities piled atop a list of grievances stretching back to the plantations.
However, he gets his reward. Rebuffed by Biona and staring unemployment in the face felt like satisfying justice. However, his new partnership with Crooked-Man Pat could see him rise once again. Only season three will tell.
Closer to home is the conversation between Nicole and her sister Kat (Jazmyn Simon). Kat – the doctor – starts the season fresh after a trip to Ghana, quoting phrases like: “Sankofa. It means to go back and get it.
It’s a beautiful reflection of the conversations and accomplishments that are happening right now in the black community. The desire to explore one’s roots for a deeper, more meaningful connection can sometimes seem distant, especially if you grew up or reside in the western world. We see what you’re doing here, Kat.
Kat also brings up the pressures of parental expectations when she reveals that she only became a doctor because her parents wanted her to. Nicole replies, “You were always the good girl.”
This seemingly innocent exchange is layered. This reflects the pressure to succeed and excel academically and to use this education to gain professional employment, as well as the need to please and be obedient and the competitiveness this creates between siblings.
Barbee brings it all together near the end when Nicole suggests that a powerful person take her place as the speaker representative on Biona’s advisory board.
“Decisions are made and it doesn’t matter who’s in the room,” Nicole says, asking teenage Janelle Carr (Aubriana Davis) to step into her shoes.
The importance of controlling your own narrative and being present so that changes can be made to benefit your community is so integral to the fight for equality. Barbee is demonstrating that beautifully right now.
In fact, his approach to the show as a whole was a natural way to infuse mainstream media with heavy but necessary context, finding a way to entertain and educate all in one.
This isn’t the first time she’s used the show to talk about the hardships facing black people. In season one, Nicole has a heart-to-heart with Dion (Ja’Siah Young) where she discusses racism.
“Sometimes other people are going to be scared of you,” Nicole tells Dion.
“Because I have powers?” he asks.
“No, it’s not about powers. It’s about people treating you differently because of the color of your skin.”
It’s a huge concept for the then eight-year-old to grasp, but a necessary discussion that needs to take place. We saw this evolve in season two where Nicole became fiercely protective of Dion, worried about real-world threats as well as the supernatural.
Barbee’s desire to post various issues echoes the intent of comic book creator Dennis Liu, who wrote the original content from which the show is adapted. In an interview with Deadline, Liu said, “I started this project many years ago because I wanted to see more diverse representation in film and television.
“More than ever, we need more stories told from different perspectives and my hope with Raising Dion is to create a cinematic experience for all families that will lift your spirits and make you laugh and cry.”
Raising Dion season two is available to stream on Netflix now.
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