01x09 - Juneteenth

[phone buzzing]

Oh...

[coughing]

sh1t.

[sighs]

Are you coming back tonight?

Um...

No...

Thanks.

[piano music]

♪ ♪

[dog barking in distance]

[door opening]

Are you high?

Not really.

Jesus.

You have to put it up. My hair.

Leave it.

This is really important, okay?

I got it.

I'm being serious.

I got it.

Monique is really good for me.

She knows people, and they're all gonna be there.

I got it.

It's also good for Lottie.

Why else do you think I'd be here?

[jazzy music]

♪ ♪

[engine turns over]

[gasps] Oh, happy Juneteenth!

Oh, Vanessa. You look amazing.

Oh, thank you so much for having us.

And hello. I'm Monique.

You must be Mr. Hubby?

This is Earnest.

Yeah. Me. Mr. Hubby.

Oh, well, come inside, come inside.

♪ I got a robe ♪

all: ♪ Huh! ♪
♪ In that kingdom ♪

all: ♪ Huh! ♪
♪ Ain't that good news ♪

Are they up for auction after the party, or...

[laughter]

Uh-uh-uh.

So, to the left, we have the bar.

To the right, we have the bathroom.

Oh, we have bathrooms upstairs, downstairs... many, many bathrooms.

And where is Craig?

Happy Freedom Day!

[chuckles]

Mm, mm, mm.

Welcome.

Craig, Monique's husband.

You're familiar.

Cherokee?

Uh, no. Just black.

[laughter]

No, Cherokee Town and Country Club.

You're a member, right?

Uh, no, no, no.

You sure?

Yes.

You must be confusing me with some other black guy.

♪ Ain't that good news ♪

Ah!

You don't think I'm capable of telling African-Americans apart?

N... no.

[laughing] Just messing with you, man.

Welcome.

God, it is so great to meet both of you.

♪ I got a savior ♪

So, do you want to get me a drink?

Anything? Like a vodka cranberry?

Anything for you.

[jazz music]

Hey, could I get a, uh... Sir.

I'll be right with you soon as you take your place in the queue... the line?

I know what a queue is.

♪ ♪

Thank you.

How can I help you, sir?

Yeah, I'd like, uh, a vodka cranberry.

I'm sorry, sir, we aren't equipped to make that drink.

A screwdriver, then.

Sir.

We have a fixed cocktail menu for the evening.

Please make a selection.

♪ ♪

"Juneteenth Juice. Frozen Freedom Margarita. Emancipation Eggnog." It's June.

Nigga, do I got to explain alliteration? Hmm?

I'll have the Plantation Master Poison.

[rattling]

I'm so sorry about Earnest.

Princeton...

He just thinks he's so funny...

Oh, don't be, girl.

I like him.

Ramon! Mm!

Smile.

This is a celebration. Not an orphanage.

Hmm?

♪ ♪

[sighs]

I'm glad you came. Mm-hmm.

I know we haven't known each other for a long time, but I mean it when I say... you remind me of me.

And we're gonna make sure you get everything you want.

Still want to be a teacher?

The principal of Pace University is here.

Easy... want to be a designer, an event planner, a real housewife?

Girl, quit playing...

Shh!

You can have anything that you want.

You are a smart, beautiful, and determined lady like me.

And your fancy Ivy League husband is here, so there's no problem there.

Thanks, Mo.

Glad you came.

[chuckles]

♪ ♪

[traditional choral music]

♪ ♪

[whispering] What the f*ck?

Nobody can give you freedom.

Nobody can give you equality, or justice, or anything.

If you're a man, you take it.

Malcolm X quote that inspired that painting.

I'm sorry. I didn't mean to...

Stop, stop. You're fine.

You... you want a real drink?

Sure.

All right.

♪ ♪

That's a... interesting interpretation of that quote.

♪ ♪

It's the only interpretation.

It accurately depicts the plight of the contemporary black man.

That is why I painted it.

Wow.

So, Earn.

What kind of business you in?

Music management.

Yes.

Yes?

No, it's just... it's nice.

A brother on the business side of music.

What do you mean?

Mm.

Please.

Well, music is such an integral part of the African-American culture.

It's expression. And it's been stripped from you.

Black music artists are products for white American consumption and appropriation.

Mm. Is this Hennessy?

Mm-hmm.

Are you an archaeologist in African studies?

I'm an optometrist.

I see a picture of you in Africa over there.

Oh, that.

Yeah, that was... whew.

That was a pilgrimage.

Needed to pay my respects.

Ask for forgiveness... well, you know, right?

I don't. I really don't.

What, you... you've never been to Africa?

No.

You got to go!

Man, it's your motherland. What are you thinking?

Missing... what are you?

Huh? What?

Where are your ancestors from?

Congo? Ivory Coast?

Southeastern Bantu region.

I don't know... this spooky thing called "slavery" happened, and my entire ethnic identity was erased, so...

[chuckling]

Exactly.

[light jazz music]

♪ ♪

Where have you been?

♪ ♪

You sure you want to... stay here the whole time?

Yes.

Are you sure, though?

Earn.

It doesn't feel like you're in a Spike Lee-directed "Eyes Wide Shut" right now?

Hmm?

♪ ♪

Are these slave ships?

♪ ♪

Do you think that I am happy here, having to prostitute myself for an opportunity?

Maybe.

♪ ♪

Do you think that I'm happy that I need you here in order to do that?

Maybe.

♪ ♪

Can we, for once, just pretend that we aren't who we are?

I mean, because we both know that you're good at pretending.

♪ ♪

Mm.

♪ ♪

I prefer Craig Mack. [laughing]

If you... if you're gonna ask.

I have to say this.

You remind me of a character in my new play.

Really?

You do.

Oh. Mm.

You really do.

So comical.

And handsome!

Oh!

Ooh.

Vanessa, you must be in stitches every day, married to such a funny man.

Mm.

Well, as I always say, you have to laugh to keep from crying.

Yeah, she always says that.

Yes.

You should slow down.

We're going up at the Rialto next month.

My play, "With Tail Between Legs."

Mm, good title.

I wrote and directed it.

It all takes place at a strip club.

Two gangbangers hold a pastor, a drug dealer, and a pregnant teen hostage in the middle of Hurricane Katrina.

That's a real situation.

Mm!

I'm glad that story's being told.

Sad.

We've already adapted it into a movie.

We would love to read that.

Love.

You know, and we were just saying this the other day.

[both stammering]

both: The quality...

Of theater is just gone.

Of theater is just not there.

It's just not there.

Anymore.

It's just not there.

Well, let me tell you something.

Black Americans have to keep fighting for good art.

A-men! Come... mm!

We have to.

both: Mm-hmm.

Hmm.

[laughing]

We really do.

Mm-hmm.

[laughs] Oh.

Yeah, we really do. Yep.

Ah.

Is Vin Diesel black?

And all you got to do is give it up to Jesus, playboy.

Mm.

I don't think we really have the time to be church people.

Yeah, between going to Lottie's cello recitals and volunteering for at-risk Filipino youth...

See, there... there you go again.

Doubting!

The devil has clouded your mind with doubt.

Now, I'm not just a reverend at some church.

No.

You see, I am a reverend at a mega-church.

Yeah, you said that...

Yeah, you kind of say that...

Like twice already.

Often.

And I am gonna teach you both about money management.

And how to treat your woman.

With respect.

Hmm!

Player, she wants a new you.

She wants a saved man, a man with a bangin' body and money in the bank.

She's a pretty woman.

Thank you.

[laughing]

Yes.

Yeah.

What... what was your name?

And what do you do, Earn?

Nothing.

[laughter]

I mean that. Van does everything.

She works, she raises our child, she's smarter than me, better than me.

I mean, that's why I married her.

She honestly doesn't get the credit she deserves.

I mean, ever.

But that doesn't deter her from being what she is, which is a mother, a provider, and a partner.

Gun to my head, I don't think I could even look at another woman.


[soft jazz music]

♪ ♪

Vanessa, we're looking for new members in our Jack and Jill Atlanta chapter.

You'd be a great fit.

We have a sickle cell...

I'm so sorry, um...

Will you excuse me?

I...

♪ ♪

She's fine.

[sighs]

[distant party chatter]

[deep breath]

What am I doing?

[crying]

What the f*ck am I doing?

♪ ♪

Hey.

Hey.

What's wrong?

You're mean.

I'm sorry.

Don't be.

I'm getting drunk.

♪ ♪

Oh, people cannot stop talking about you two.

Hey, Earn. Listen, I...

I'm about to do a poetry reading, and I tell you, I...

I would love to have you front and center and hear your thoughts.

That sounds splendid.

[lighter clicks]

Seems like Earn and Craig are hitting it off.

[exhales]

Craig, Craig, Craig, Craig.

You don't think I know how crazy my husband is?

This whole "Black people as a hobby" sh1t?

Slam poetry? "Martin" reruns?

That nigga told my 95-year-old grandmother that she was cooking her collard greens wrong.

[laughter]

Well, girl, you married him.

Yeah, I did.

Can't eat if you don't open your mouth.

I get this big-ass house, and he gets the black wife he always wanted.

[chuckles]

That's marriage.

I like Craig.

But I love my money.

You did good.

You married right, huh?

Only way to stay fed in this world is to keep the right company.

Do you ever wish that you actually had somebody to confide in?

Hmm?

Uh...

It just seems really obvious that you don't think Craig understands you.

Are you sorry that you can't have understanding and security?

That reminds me of something.

Something that Craig actually made me read.

It goes something like, "It's redundant to be both black and sorry in the world."

It's kind of like that.

Hmm?

That's from "For Colored Girls."

Oh.

[laughter]

Oh, ugh.

Come on.

Let's go back inside.

Make sure our husbands are behaving.

[beatboxing]

Jim Crow!

Has the name of a man, but... is a ghost.

I am a man.

But Jim Crow is haunting me, like in that movie "Poltergeist."

And I am stuck in a television, like that little girl.

Just get me out of here...

I don't want to be in an electrical appliance.

[scatting]

[hollow echoing]

Oh, but my point is moot.

I have seen strange fruit loaded in this garden of Eden...

[whirring drowning out voices]

[slamming]

sh1t.

Oh, yes. They are here.

Sorry.

It's okay.

Sorry about that, man.

Feeding and feeding...

Is that Red Bull and vodka?

Well, yeah, but, uh, look, don't tell my wife.

I'm not supposed to have too much caffeine.

Where did you get that?

Bar.

I am a man, but...

Bar.

Jim Crow is haunting me.

Excuse me.

Excuse me.

Hey, you're Paper Boi's dude, ain't you?

Can we get a picture?

Uh... of... of me?

I guess. You here. He here?

No, he's not... actually, right now's not a good time.

[snorts]

Hey.

Well, can you pass Paper Boi a message for me?

Yeah, tell him my sister likes him?

Okay.

All right.

Here's a pair of her underwear.

Whoa.

Give it to Paper Boi.

Why? No.

Her name Tangela.

Why are you... no.

Why do you have your sister's underwear?

[snorts] Never know, man.

Never know what?

No. Out. Out. No, no. Go.

If you want more food, Ramon will bring you a to-go plate outside.

Earn.

Okay, good-bye.

Hey, man. What'd you think?

I would love any honest criticism.

Uh-uh. No, no.

Is everything okay?

Yeah, we straight, we were just saying "What's up" to Paper Boi's boy.

[laughing]

Paper Boi?

[laughter]

Oh, my... they must be confusing you.

That's funny.

Paper Boi.

Confused with someone else.

Someone else.

Paper Boi! I knew it!

I knew I knew you from somewhere.

I had such a special feeling about you, Earn.

Honey... honey, Earn is Paper Boi's manager.

Oh, sorry.

A very, very talented young rapper.

Oh, you manage rap?

[clears throat]

Yes. I manage rap.

There is nothing wrong with earning money doing something with rap, it's fine.

Well, it's not just about money.

You know it's... you know, he... he's my cousin.

He's family.

Yeah.

Honey, you're missing the point.

It's not about money. This is bigger than money.

Paper Boi is underground.

I've been following Paper Boi since the start.

That's how I knew you!

I mean, since the shooting?

Your pictures were everywhere.

Shooting?

Well, you aren't gonna shoot up this party, are you, Earn?

Mm... no, I wasn't planning on it.

[laughing]

Okay.

I get it.

Can't choose your family, huh?

Every decent person has at least one trifling thug in the family.

[chuckles]

Oh, honey, let's go say "hello" to...

Eh, no. I'm sorry.

This is whack. This is... this is whack.

Babe, please.

No, no.

Okay, like, this isn't real life, okay?

This... this party is dumb. She's dumb.

This is all dumb. You know that, Van.

Okay. I'm sorry.

This is dumb. This is dumb.

We're gonna head out, right?

And you know what?

Stop stunting on me about my culture.

Like, I'm not gonna go back to Africa and find my roots, because you know what?

I'm sorry.

I'm f*cking broke, dude.

I'm broke.

It's my bad.

No, don't do that.

Hey.

Don't "my bad" it. And stop being so likable.

Stop being so likable, like, I get... don't... and don't be like "I understand"...

Earn, we're heading out now.

Because you don't understand.

Now!

We're going now.

Like, I'm...

Good night.

For your hospitality.

Okay, well, we... we'd love to see you soon.

Thank you very much for coming.

Mm-hmm.

Good night.

Mm-hmm.

Happy Juneteenth.

So weird.

Great party. Let's go, babe.

So weird. This is a weird place.

[engine rumbling]

I'll call in the morning and apologize.

I'm sorry.

Pull over.

You sick?

You okay?

["Chain Gang" by Sam Cooke]

♪ ♪
♪ I hear something saying ♪
♪ Uh! ♪
♪ Ah! ♪
♪ Uh! ♪
♪ Ah! ♪
♪ Well, don't you know ♪
♪ That's the sound of the men ♪
♪ Working on the chain ♪
♪ Gang ♪
♪ That's the sound of the men ♪
♪ Working on the chain gang ♪
♪ All day long, they're saying ♪