“Star” Is the Best Worst Show on Television

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When I first read that Queen Latifah had signed on for a new music-themed show helmed by Lee Daniels, I was intrigued. But shortly before Star was set to debut, I balked at watching it—and the blame for that falls squarely on the creator. You see, while promoting Star, Daniels claimed that he selected a white woman to be the lead singer of the fictitious girl group because in lieu of the recent presidential election, “the country needed to heal.” Daniels also claimed that he doesn’t “embrace racism.” In his mind, I suppose, others that do acknowledge the realities of racism do so out of sheer will.

Even worse was another goal Daniels expressed: “We are in a very dangerous state right now in our country and I wanted white people to feel good about being white because right now, there’s a lot of hatred going on.” A dumb demagogue won the presidency after several displays of racism and xenophobia, and vows to “Make America Great Again,” and yet Lee Daniels, a Black man, thought white people needed a pick-me-up? I just couldn’t support such lunacy.

But, while trying to avoid real life over inauguration weekend, I gave in to my curiosity, despite these misgivings about Daniels and his intentions. It wasn’t so much about giving him a chance as it was being worn out from too many Law & Order: SVU marathons. That, and I assumed I wouldn’t make it past the first few scenes.

When I first read that Queen Latifah had signed on for a new music-themed show helmed by Lee Daniels, I was intrigued. But shortly before Star was set to debut, I balked at watching it—and the blame for that falls squarely on the creator. You see, while promoting Star, Daniels claimed that he selected a white woman to be the lead singer of the fictitious girl group because in lieu of the recent presidential election, “the country needed to heal.” Daniels also claimed that he doesn’t “embrace racism.” In his mind, I suppose, others that do acknowledge the realities of racism do so out of sheer will.

Even worse was another goal Daniels expressed: “We are in a very dangerous state right now in our country and I wanted white people to feel good about being white because right now, there’s a lot of hatred going on.” A dumb demagogue won the presidency after several displays of racism and xenophobia, and vows to “Make America Great Again,” and yet Lee Daniels, a Black man, thought white people needed a pick-me-up? I just couldn’t support such lunacy.

But, while trying to avoid real life over inauguration weekend, I gave in to my curiosity, despite these misgivings about Daniels and his intentions. It wasn’t so much about giving him a chance as it was being worn out from too many Law & Order: SVU marathons. That, and I assumed I wouldn’t make it past the first few scenes.

The show follows Star (Jude Demorest), a young girl raised in the foster care system who decides to take control of her life. She seeks out her sister Simone (Brittany O’Grady), a half-Black girl also in foster care, and Alexandra (Ryan Destiny), who is described as her “Instagram bestie.” I know what you’re thinking: People converse online, meet in real life, and become friends, but—that’s not really a thing.

On this show it is, though. So much so that Alexandra leaves her rich parents—who, we’ll later see, are played by Lenny Kravitz and Naomi Campbell—hops in a stolen car with Star and Simone, and drives down to Atlanta to link with Carlotta (Queen Latifah), who plays the role of surrogate mother (just moments after meeting them). Why? Well, back in the day, Carlotta was in a girl group with Star and Simone’s mama.

Read the rest at ELLE.

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