“Young, Famous and African” Season 1 Review

Young, Famous & African has given its viewers front seats to the lives of an elite all-African cast. Following the end of its seven-episode run, there are a few notable observations. For starters, Annie is the quintessential African wife; deeply in love with her family to a fault. Perhaps most people cannot relate to that kind of love, but from the outside looking in, the good sister needs to pick her self-esteem from where she left it years ago. There’s only so much you can endure as a woman, as a human, before it’s time to call it a day. If love is blind, then Annie is its poster child. No woman should allow herself to tolerate such embarrassment, year in year out, with the hope of a better future that never comes. No woman should be delighted at ten more years of disrespect, infidelity, and cold-heartedness in the name of love. People only get away with what you allow them to, and in Annie’s case, she has reduced herself to the ‘understanding wife’ who’s blinded by the small beautiful moments that cover for heavy emotional turmoil.

Even though we would love to root for ‘Zandile’ so much, Andile is has given us enough red flags to start a carnival. Zari should watch out. Andile is the ultimate macho man. Although he says he is happy to shine the light on others, he does not mind when attention is on him either. For a man who’s supposed to be laid back, he sure has a lot of nerve putting his baby mamas and crushes in the same room. Andile knows nothing about respect for friends. To him, the bro code is a foreign concept. That he knows too well that Diamond, with whom he has been on the golf course, has a co-parenting arrangement with his baby mama is enough reason for him to have shut it down as quickly as it began. We do not choose who to love, but again, if the circumstances are unbalanced as in Zandile’s case, the least one could do is stay away and let the crush fade on its own.

Let’s put the question of Diamond’s English to rest. Even though he claimed he was ‘31st years old’, for the better part of the show, we could hear and understand him as he spoke. For someone who speaks English as a second language, he did amazing. It’s clear that he’s been taking classes lately because he’s made such improvements. His East African fans know. The real bone of contention lies in his approach towards women. While trying to woo Nadia, his focus was on selling himself as a successful musician. That’s the bragging right of anyone who doesn’t want anything serious. It’s wise that Nadia didn’t buy his larger-than-life front. As much as she was after some diamonds, she genuinely cared for the guy and hoped to know him for who he was on the inside. At the end of the day, every star needs a Nadia who can be around when the flashing lights begin to dim.

Quinton is the clown we never knew we needed. A delight who simply stole the show with his witty remarks. From turning his own intervention to a Khanyi therapy session, telling Andile he would ‘see no evil, hear no evil’, going as far as calling him the ‘biggest h*e’ in the group, to asking everyone to report their moods in the morning, he gave us one too many rib-cracking one-liners. He was not only invested in maintaining the peace but was working on his own issues as well. As far as the first season goes, what we saw with Quinton is what we got. When his relationship wasn’t doing well, he wasn’t going to put up a show, and when it was thriving, he’d tell us when he got laid. He added spice to the show with much-needed brutal honesty. His girl was honest with the girls too. Kayleigh maintained a very neutral stance, save for the time Zari walked in on her giving Khanyi the tea. She was the one on the sidelines, watching everything unfold. If it wasn’t for the train ride, she wouldn’t have been caught in the murk.

Zari was right to thank everyone for honoring her invitation. To Khanyi, it felt like she thought she was more of a celebrity than the rest, and that brought the bad energy in the room. While the Zari-Annie situation was a real conflict based on how Annie felt, the altercation at the train ride was simply a petty situation fueled by bad blood that built throughout filming. It was everything like being in a relationship with someone who you love, then all of a sudden, you cannot stand how they chew or brush their teeth. Zari simply caught a stray, and when Khanyi and Annie teamed up, it was over for her. Even Nadia, who many have had her own bile because of Diamond, simply dissociated from her because of what she heard, and not through her own experience. Nadia, a self-confessed queen of throwing hands when the occasion calls for it, was surprisingly staying away from the drama.

Khanyi honors sisterhood. To Annie, who was new to the country, it must have been difficult navigating Jozi on her own. Khanyi made sure she never felt alone and was dedicated to making her have a good stay. It’s in how she planned Annie’s bachelorette party, had her friend come in secretly,  how she understood that Swanky was Annie’s comfort zone, and having him around eased her spirits. Though she was wrong for picking on Zari for absolutely no reason, she was the engine that kept the cast going for a minute. She was on good terms with everyone, and never so much as made anyone feel less important. Last but not least, Swanky is the king he thinks he is. He’s a feistier version of Quinton, who lights up the room every time he walks in. He brings life to the party. If not for his over-the-top style, then for the laughter that follows soon after. He was the breath of fresh air the cast needed to get its sass on. Young, Famous & African may have ended with such suspense, but the general feeling is that it’s a hit. It has placed Africa on a global stage, in the most Mona Scott Young way possible. The buzz is alive, and the continent is seated on the edge, ready for the second season.

 

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