The creators and cast of Uhuru Now had the freedom bells ringing at The Grafton on Sunday, August 6th as they debuted their HIGHLY anticipated premiere episode of Uhuru Now Series — First Impressions. It’s been well over a week since the celebration and debut of the episode and I am still reveling at how wonderfully written, cast and shot this show is. If I had to compare it to anything I would say it’s truly the 2017 version of A Different World.
Created and written by Ashlee Danielle and Jarred Solomon, Uhuru Now follows the journey of 6 colleges students as they navigate through college working to figure who they are and how to confidently be themselves when faced with adversity whether it’s battling the identity of being Black in America to simply understanding the rules of dating and sexual liberation. The characters are just as colorful as the topics they will be highlighting throughout the season and cannot wait to see the journey they take us all on.
In the season opener, we get a glimpse of each character as they prepare to attend their first Uhuru Now meeting of the semester. Fast forwarding to the meeting we are introduced to Mike (Aaron Johnson) who is president of Uhuru Now. He welcomes the panel and gets straight to business by inquiring about their views on the “increasing rate of Black men being incarcerated in America.” It is at this moment where we are familiarized with the members. We have Jazznique (Ashlee Danielle), who’s a fiery individual that has no problem with speaking up, alongside her sassy and bold roommate Candace (Carmen Noelia) then we are introduced to Leon (Brandon Mellette), who provides a great image of what it means to be woke and hilarious all at the same time. As the conversation progresses we are introduced to the sophisticated and ambitious Cody (Barbyly Noel) who seems to have met her match in Jamal (Jarred Solomon), as the two engage in a little back and forth banter during the meeting.
At the close of the meeting, we learn of a party that the students will be attending. Instantly, I become reminiscent of my time at Temple University because what’s a better way to end your first intense meeting than to blow off some steam on the dance floor?? Well, we watch how the students are killing the dance floor with their moves and enjoying themselves but if you pay attention closely you can see that Jamal has his eyes set on Cody. He notices she leaves the party for a phone break so he dances his way to the hall where he goes to shoot his shot. Cody was not having it! They exchange a few words because Jamal was not going to give up that easy but his fast talking was not enough to close the deal. As the episode ends, we find that Jamal may have lost the battle with Cody but won the war with Jazz.
All-in-all this show is a great medium that provides entertainment yet focuses on current issues that we face in today’s world. The way Uhuru Now covers the issues is in the perfect way – sometimes serious but mixed with comedic and dramatic moments. Not only is the show well written but visually it’s appealing, so shout out their director, Steven Strickland and director of photography, Dakota H.D. I think we are in for one heck of a season and I am already anticipating that episode 2, which airs Tuesday, August 22nd at 8pm, will be having me glued to my screen.
Make sure you’re following them on all social media platforms @UhuruNowSeries and subscribe to their YouTube channel for updates on when new episodes will be released. Also, starting TONIGHT, August 15th at 8 pm and every other Tuesday, join the cast for their #UhuruNowPanel as they open up the floor for any questions/comments you have regarding their first episode, First Impressions, and what predictions you may have for episode 2. If you haven’t done so already check out their debut episode below!!