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#Our Kind of People Season 1 Episode 1 Review: Reparations

#Our Kind of People Season 1 Episode 1 Review: Reparations

Angela Vaughn is ready to take the crown.

And Yaya DaCosta is coming for a title as a primetime soap queen with her performance in Our Kind of People Season 1 Episode 1.

Our Kind of People is big on drama, or at the very least the potential for it, and once it gets kicking, we’ll be in for a ride.

All Glammed Up - tall - Our Kind of People Season 1 Episode 1

The series attempts to be unapologetically Black, basking in Black Excellence, thrusting us into the glam and glitzy world of the Black elite in Martha’s Vineyard.

It has all that delicious rags to riches, haves and have nots appeal, with Angela and the Vaughns immersing themselves amongst the saditty, hoping to carve out a place of their own.

Think Empire meets the, um, higher-end Tyler Perry soaps, although, thank the high heavens compared to the latter, infinitely better wigs.

Black hair is at the center of this series, with Angela carrying on her mother’s dream of starting a Black haircare line of her own. And that’s one of the standout aspects of the hour.

Mixing Up Hair Product -tall - Our Kind of People Season 1 Episode 1

The versatility and sheer dopeness of Black hair were on full display throughout the hour, from Angela and Nikki’s natural do’s to all of those fabulous wigs.

Piggy, played by the legendary Debbi Morgan, was a standout as well, bringing all the classic cool auntie energy from her unapologetic thirst over the pretty men of Oak Bluffs to the realness of her snatching her wig off in the middle of the kitchen after a long day.

Oh, lord. Chocolate does melt in the summer, right? Because I’m trying to sop all that up.

Our King of People bolsters a solid cast from DaCosta and Morgan to Morris Chestnut, Joe Morton, and Lance Gross. All of these people playing off of each other alone is worth watching.

The cast is there — the potential for this to become an addictive primetime soap is as well. But the editing and dialogue were off at times, and the pilotitis is real during this hour.

The Vaughn Women - Our Kind of People Season 1 Episode 1

Pilots are difficult because of the time needed to lay down the foundation for the entire show and the rest of the season.

Rarely does a series pull it off organically without feeling exposition heavy with info-dumps to describe the characters, situations, backgrounds, and introducing plots. Sadly, Our Kind of People fell victim to this more often than not.

We learn quickly that Angela is bold and audacious. She’s ballsy as hell and equally as ambitious, and she has her sights on climbing the social ladder to the top and bringing her aunt and daughter with her.

She chases after the best opportunities and strives to achieve some of the Black Excellence on full display in Oak Bluffs. And she does this to a fault if her daughter Nikki has anything to say about it.

Vibing with Auntie - tall - Our Kind of People Season 1 Episode 1

Teenagers are tough critics, and maybe someday Nikki will appreciate what Angela is trying to do for all of them.

But for now, she seems to resent her mother for sacrificing everything to send her to predominately white private schools where she felt out of place, to moving them to this upper-crest area where class lines make her feel just as inadequate.

Lauren: Guys, are we taking this photo or not?

Nikki: I guess they don’t teach manners in the sunken place.

If anyone has a shot at blending in with the others without much fanfare, it’s probably Nikki. So far, teen Mean Queen Lauren is the only one who had it in for Nikki, scapegoating her at every chance.

But Angela has her work cut out for her, and part of that is because of how strong she comes off and how little people appreciate that strength.

Styling for the Elite - tall - Our Kind of People Season 1 Episode 1

Damn near a day after the move — she was scoring an invite to the DuPonts party. And she made a mad dash to them to talk up her business and put in her bid for consideration as a start-up.

Compared to the snobbish elites, Angela’s hustler spirit and brand of realness comes across uncouth. And it’s minor faux pas like handing a $100 crinkled check to the hosts directly that have them turning their noses up at her without a second thought.

But Angela is wonderfully relentless and doesn’t let anything or anyone hold her back or keep her down. While others would crawl away, embarrassed or discouraged, she fields the disdain and disrespect with her head held high and soldiers on.

Angela has no shame, and it’s so damn refreshing.

Runway Beauties - tall - Our Kind of People Season 1 Episode 1

She needs that type of grit to survive what Oak Bluffs has to offer.

She knows the power and open doors that come with solidifying a place in the right social circles, and she had her sights set on the Graceties, a coveted order/society that only a select few can join.

But no one seems to respect her boldness, Leah Franklin DuPont in particular.

Under any other circumstances, it would have made sense to let Angela do the hair at the mother/daughter event. But Leah’s spite and the words of her mother-in-law got the better of her.

Oak Bluffs' Power Couple - tall - Our Kind of People Season 1 Episode 1

It did no good when Angela ended up stepping in, and the show was fire. Everyone’s hair looked fabulous, and it was a rousing success. Piggy was right — there was some Wakanda goodness happening with some of those styles, and it made me nostalgic as a viewer whose mother would have a blast forcing creative hairstyles me to my embarrassment as a shy child.

The back and forth tension between Angela and Leah will probably be the biggest ongoing conflict of the series. The revelation that the two are sisters wasn’t a surprise — the promos all but screamed that’s the direction they’d go.

A black woman’s relationship with her hair starts well before she can even walk continues from the moment her mother teaches her how to do her own hair. It evolves, it’s generational, it’s personal. It’s a lot more than hot right now.

But the drama and juiciness from that will be good, and it’ll have ripple effects too. As much as Leah is irked by Angela, almost to the point where it’s as if she knows who she is deep down, Lauren is the same way with Nikki.

When the two of them find out they’re cousins, it won’t be pretty. Hopefully, they’ll find out soon. It felt as if Quincy had some eyes on Nikki, and while cousin kissing is nothing new for soaps, it doesn’t get any less disturbing.

Pretty and Privileged. - tall - Our Kind of People Season 1 Episode 1

It’s sad when you consider that Nikki is a good girl who would care about Lauren if only the other girl let her.

When you want to despise Lauren for her mean girl shtick, you sympathize with how she feels as a closeted teen in a community where image is everything and upholding legacy is of the utmost importance.

Teddy Franklin is my father.

It doesn’t excuse why she’s rude and scapegoats Nikki, but it adds some depth to her. Her secret relationship with Taylor may have very well caused the other teen to jump into the water.

What were we supposed to think about that? Lauren made it seem as if she was too drunk and fell overboard, and then she randomly implied Nikki had something to do with it for whatever reason.

Speaking at a Function - tall - Our Kind of People Season 1 Episode 1

But Taylor defaced the Dupont family photo and slipped her phone with that video into Nikki’s bag. Why? It seemed like the actions of someone who planned a suicide attempt.

The Dupont family is ripe with lies and secrets. Everything they project to the rest of society is a farce. On the outside looking in, it seems most people wouldn’t know that Leah despises her father. And she’s been dying to take control of the company and restructure it how she likes.

Teddy is something else, but boy, I have missed Joe Morton’s glorious pontificating.

His speech about why he created a table with an incline so everyone looked up to a Black man was delivered perfectly. It told you a chunk of what you needed to know about who he is as a character and the magnitude of the legacy he’s trying to maintain.

Teddy Franklin - tall - Our Kind of People Season 1 Episode 1

Generational wealth, trying to generate, maintain, and uphold it, is important to this affluent Black family because of how rare it is. And Teddy isn’t above doing anything to keep his power and wealth.

Leah has a dossier of her father’s shady dealings, which means she has to know more about his secret love child, too, right?

Leah: You have twisted the legacy of this family to serve your own greed!

Teddy: Do you know why I bought this table? Because it was the biggest one I can find. And I put it in this room because of the incline, so that everyone sitting around this table has to raise their head to look up at me! A Black man in America holding the American dream in my Black hands. So don’t you tell me that you don’t like the dirt under my fingernails. You can keep your seat at the foot of this table just never forget who sits at the head of, little girl.

How did she look into Angela’s mother enough to find out she was arrested for dealing and used to be a poor maid there, but she didn’t find any evidence of her father’s involvement with the woman?

It seems even Piggy didn’t know that Teddy was Angela’s father. It makes you think that Teddy’s unscrupulousness may have included assaulting Angela’s mother.

Uncovering Secrets -- tall - Our Kind of People Season 1 Episode 1

All Angela could remember was that she almost met the man, but he threw money at her mother and left.

It turns out Leah was there that night and wondered who the girl was. Angela is running that strand of hair to get the confirmation she needs, and when she does, she’s coming for it all.

She more than deserves it and should do so to honor her mother. They never got to live the life they could’ve because of these people.

Outside of Teddy, we didn’t learn much about the men of the series. Raymond seems disenchanted with his wife, but he’s going along to get along.

Getting Wooed -tall - Our Kind of People Season 1 Episode 1

Quincy appears to struggle with living up to his father’s expectations.

And the mysterious but sexy Tyrique likes Angela. The man bought her shoes, and they shared a steamy kiss. But we know very little about him.

The biggest reveal is in the form of Angela’s connection to the Franklins and how that can destroy the upper-crest world of Oak Bluffs.

Leah: I’m glad you stopped by. I wanted to talk about what happened earlier. I’m not in the business of tearing down Black women. I’m actually in the business of building up our sisters. Hell, I want to build a whole community. Because that’s what being a Gracety means to me.

Angela: We do the same thing. Just differently. We’re two sides of the same coin.

Leah: Two very different sides of the same coin.

Angela: Because of the amount of money in our bank accounts? I’m starting to get the rules around her. To be honest with you from where I stand, you’re a slave to them.

Leah: I’m not a slave to anything.

Angela: But you humiliated me all because you’re so desperate to serve this lifestyle. Maybe you’re the maid up in here. My mother left me one thing, the one ting she had was that old boarding house down on Deloy street. You know it?

Leah: My family used to own it.

Angela: Come see about me. Eve’s Crown can hook up those dry ends.

It’s likely more mysteries to unravel, but we’ll have to wait and see what they are. The question is whether or not you’ll be sticking around to learn them. I hope so!

Did you enjoy the premiere? What are your theories about Angela’s mother and Teddy’s relationship? Are you eager to see the reaction to Angela’s paternity? Hit the show comments below and let us know!

Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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