In The Black

By Tami Warren

The 1980’s are often remembered for the United States Olympic Hockey Team defeating the Soviets, Cabbage Patch Kids, and Ronald Reagan. 1987 in particular was an iconic year, President Reagan delivered his celebrated “tear down this wall” speech in West Berlin, firmly addressing Mikhail Gorbachev, on the reunification of Berlin. Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Prozac and The Simpsons made their respective debuts, prozac via the FDA and the Simpson family via The Tracey Ullman Show, which also debuted in 1987. There was Eddie Murphy laughing all the way to the box office, with Beverly Hills Cop II and Eddie Murphy Raw, while Jody Watley was Looking For A New Love.

1987 also engendered morbid memories, with Pennsylvania State Treasurer, R. Budd Dwyer, tragically taking his own life during a televised press conference he arranged, with a gun he concealed in an envelope, while stunned reporters tried, yet could not stop the horrific from happening. Wall Street lost its way in 1987, as the Dow Jones plunged with frenetic speed, exposing a rapacious underbelly in the carnage of mercenary capitalism – this is the stage upon which Black Monday is set.

Academy Award nominee, Don Cheadle, plays Mo Monroe, and Regina Hall, plays Dawn Towner, in Black Monday, which airs on Showtime, on Sundays. Black Monday is almost as good as Eric B. & Rakim’s Paid In Full. It is artfully written, creating a pathway for the actors to bring fully realized characters into existence. I now greet Sunday evenings with anticipation, wondering what fresh hell will happen next, what craziness will Mo say or do, and what prolific ensemble will Dawn wear, as she angles for a partner portfolio over parenthood, manages a crew of crude male colleagues, while simultaneously tasting 80’s excess. Ms. Regina is a Boss. I laugh at and with Blair Pfaff, a character expertly executed by Grammy Award winner, Andrew Rannells, as he stumbles through the haze of subterfuge surrounding him. SAG Award winner, Paul Sheer‘s character, Keith Shankar, is definitely one to watch.

Jordan Cahan and David Caspe have created and written into being a time period that makes you feel as if you could walk outside and actually see a Jean-Michel Basquiat gracefully tagged on the surface of an alleyway. Current events offer little in the way of mundane, as there is a WTF moment every 5 minutes with breaking news serving a tasting menu of modern day fresh hell. Wall Street is still primarily white (collar crime that is), yet still covets being in the black.