P-Valley season 2 ended this week’s emotional episode with a powerful dedication to hundreds of victims of police brutality. While speaking to ET, creator Katori Hall explains why she wanted to close out the episode with the names of those who have been killed by law enforcement before and after George Floyd’s murder in 2020. “I wanted to send a very strong message of, ‘I see you and I love you,’” she says.
In episode four, “Demethrius,” everyone is continuing to push forward with life amid the coronavirus pandemic. And just when it seems like things are getting back to normal -- with The Pynk finally picking up business and Lil’ Murda (J. Alphonse Nicholson) out on tour -- all the characters’ lives come to a halt when riots spread across Chucalissa and neighboring areas following the news of an innocent Black man’s murder by police.
As mayhem erupts outside, the interim mayor announces a citywide curfew, forcing everyone to shelter in place -- and for Uncle Clifford (Nicco Annan) and those till at The Pynk, that means an unexpected overnight stay at the strip club. But no matter where they’re at, everyone is reacting differently as they take in the trauma surrounding them as an overhead shot of the city covered in smoke fades to black.
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Before the end credits roll, the episode reads, “To Those We’ve Lost and Loved in 2020,” with a staggering list of 283 names of people, including Floyd, Breonna Taylor and many, many others who have died by police brutality and institutionalized racism.
“The coronavirus is a virus that I think exposed a more rampant virus, which is racism. And as a Black writer, it is important that I be responsible with my eyes and with my platform, and all of us -- whether you were Black or white, but mostly folks within my community -- we were traumatized and have been traumatized by police brutality,” Hall says, explaining why she wanted to end the episode with a message of love and recognition.
“And all of us are impacted by institutional racism in so many different ways and I just wanted people to feel seen and feel heard in that trauma,” she continues. “But also to show that despite the struggles that we have, to be respected as human beings. And at the end of the day, it’s how we show up for each other, it’s how we love each other, it’s how we love ourselves.”
“But to end on that note of listing the names -- and quite frankly there’s probably some names that are missing because we don’t know all the facts of every single police killing that happened -- it was a way to, you know, honor the dead,” Hall says. “Because oftentimes, those names, they don’t get heard, and it was a way to honor their lives by having that roll call at the end of that.”
Not only has season 2 addressed the realities of the world, from the pandemic to the Black Lives Matter movement and subsequent social unrest that followed, but Hall wanted to show what that all looked like from a Black perspective.
“I feel like it’s so important as a creator to be specific about the world you’re reflecting,” Hall says. “And I think there’s great universality in specificity. The more grounded you are in the truth of a community, I think that’s when someone from the outside can feel like, ‘Oh, this is really real,’ and respect it even more.”
“Oftentimes our particular experiences have not only have not been reflected, but it’s been invisible. And that makes you feel and be invisible,” she explains, whereas her show humanizes people and the experiences that she wants to share. “P-Valley very loudly and proudly says, ‘I’m Black and I’m here and you can come to my strip club if you want to. But when you come through the doors, you have to respect my culture and you have to respect my people.’”
P-Valley season 2 airs Sundays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Starz.