Since No One Is Coming To Save Us, We Save Ourselves
Remember when The Best Man first came into our hearts in 1999? It was an instant classic within the culture that showed the real, Black, successful, multifaceted human experience in a comical but messy way. Now, over 20 years and a sequel later, we’ve been blessed with a series, The Best Man: The Final Chapters.
The themes of the new series are familiar and touch on complexities we all grapple with - grief, mental health, newfound love, taking care of aging parents, raising teenagers, and outgrown relationships. By the way, which all fall under the “midlife” umbrella. There was joy, anger, relief, angst, surprise, fear, and of course, big laughs. As a woman - as a Black woman - it’s a journey that I connected with on many levels.
What I’ve been learning, personally, is that midlife does not have to mean crisis.
Being a Black woman doesn’t mean that I’m less than or unfortunate. It’s truly a renaissance and I keep moving through life with new discoveries and new stories to tell.
I’m glad that they took a deeper dive into the women’s lives, as I felt like the first two focused on the men. The series did a great job of showing growth but also showing the reality that life is sometimes complicated. Ratchet, in fact. Sometimes you just know what you know, and want what you want. You reach that pinnacle moment when you don’t have to explain yourself anymore. And being able to own your choices is everything.
In The Best Man series, Robin has finally become undone with living her life through Harper’s. Jordan has poured herself so much into her career that it has started to affect her physical and mental well-being. Candace sees the impact of trying to have it all.
Black women are often left fending for ourselves while others either look on or ignore us completely. It is never lost on us that this has consequences, and that we do fend for ourselves simply because we have no choice.
The attitude that we don’t need help, or that we’ll just be satisfied with whatever bone is thrown, spills into our work lives, where Black women feel isolated and overworked. When Black women do take matters into our own hands, we are more likely to be penalized for doing so, such as being called “angry,” a stereotypical characterization that negatively impacts our mental health. Black women are placed in an impossible situation. No one is coming to save us, but we are punished for helping ourselves.
There’s a moment when Jordan (played by the friend in my head, Nia Long) is sitting in the board room and realizes that she can’t do it anymore. Everyone is asking her opinion and needing something from her. But, without a word, she gets up to the tune of Beyonce’s Break My Soul and walks out. She had to save herself, before she broke herself.
Maybe we just can't up and quit our jobs like Jordan did, but we can keep ourselves from being broke down, busted and disgusted. We can put ourselves back together and live life on our own volition. We can claim space for our dreams and goals. We can be the best possible version of ourselves. And we can enjoy this ride called life with stories to tell.