Review by Carolyn Mauricette (@vfdpixie)
Controlla: The First Step to Finding Power
When we left the three women in the first episode, Ally (Cydni Jenkins), Gigi (Nedge Victome) and Yaya (Cassandra Borgella) have met Adaoma (Diedra McDowell), a powerful witch who has sought them out because they have a destiny with magic they must fulfill. In the second episode, they discuss what they’ve just experienced after their startling meeting with Adaoma, and debate whether witchcraft and what they’ve seen, is real. Gigi and Yaya think Ally has the gift and realize that they all may have a blood connection in their Caribbean heritage to witchcraft. Ally becomes the focus as Yaya wants her to open up to the idea that they may have powers. Ally has no time for this and is more preoccupied with her job, yet she exhibits some interesting powers that she becomes aware of, as well as a visit from Adaoma and a voice from beyond.
Director and writer Moon Ferguson knows exactly how to tap into the black female experience, and she’s able to make it relatable for several generations, all while putting a supernatural bent to it. We need to find our power, and the struggle is real for us to stay afloat in this competitive world of the workplace and daily life. Episode two of Juju puts us at the bottom of the stairs; ready to take the first step towards our power.
This 15-minute episode might be short, but it’s succinct in its portrayal of the power hierarchy in white-collar jobs when it comes to black women in the workplace. What’s key is the reality of black women and their struggle with coming into their own power at work and fighting stereotypes. Ally is overworked, underpaid and at the mercy of her boss who is bitter after he has fired a colleague who was caught cheating with his wife. Ally’s co-worker encourages her to apply for the vacant position, but before she can seriously think about whether it’s a good move, her boss confirms her fears that while he’s open to having her fill in the position, it’s not hers for the taking. Ally does something that I think we have all fantasized about (no spoilers), and when she realizes her power, she is alarmed and leaves for the day.
She has to toe the line in order to keep her boss happy and her job, suppressing her own power and light. It’s Adaoma who wants to guide Ally and her friends to find the power they have always harbored. The women are all still in danger as well, since Chelsea (Janel Koloski) is still running amok in Brooklyn, trying to work her sinister magic to thwart Ally, Gigi, and Yaya from discovering who they are. We still don’t know what her story is, and I’m looking forward to finding out where she comes from and if she works for someone even more powerful. I also want to know more about Adaoma and her cool confidence in who she is and what she has in store for the women. They are mistrustful of her perhaps because they don’t know their own power, and her uncanny ability to find them where ever they are in the city is more than a little unsettling. Her advice to Ally, “Be wary of all things but not of who you are” is powerful and jarring at the same time. It’s something that Ally and her friends need to come to terms with, but we’ll have to wait until the next episode to see if they heed Adaoma’s words.
Stay tuned for the next episode of Juju the Web Series coming soon!
About The Author
Carolyn is a film programmer for the Blood in the Snow Film Festival and a contributing author to the first edition of the Women in Horror Annual, The Encyclopedia of Japanese Horror Films (Rowman & Littlefield), and The Encyclopedia of Racism in American Films (Rowman & Littlefield). She is a Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic and has also written pieces on diversity and women in sci-fi for Graveyard Shift Sisters, film reviews for Cinema Axis, and Rue Morgue Magazine, online and in print, and articles in Grim Magazine. Her focus is on independent and Canadian horror, women in horror, and the representation of people of color within the genre. She has a new site, View From The Dark, where she deep dives into race and representation of people of color in genre film. You can follow her on Twitter (@vfdpixie)