Mysteries, madness & music: The Lavender Tube on 'The Other Black Girl,' 'Chucky,' the VMAs and more

  • by Victoria A. Brownworth
  • Tuesday September 19, 2023
Share this Post:
Ashleigh Murray and Sinclair Daniel in 'The Other Black Girl' (photo: Hulu)
Ashleigh Murray and Sinclair Daniel in 'The Other Black Girl' (photo: Hulu)

So it's officially fall, y'all. We know because we've already seen a bunch of TV ads with pumpkins and spice and "holiday scented candles" and we know they didn't mean Rosh Hashanah! (Shana Tovah, to all who are celebrating the New Year!)

So it's time to get hygge with it and settle in to shorter days, longer nights and some scares coming your way for the great gay holiday of Halloween. But before the Great Pumpkin drops, there are some other things you're going to want to catch.

Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion performed at MTV's VMA Awards (photo: Paramount/MTV)  

So there we were, watching the "VMAs" on MTV on Sept. 12-the first time the awards ceremony was held on a Tuesday in Newark. If you missed them, you can watch on MTV or their website or Hulu.

Hosted by Nicki Minaj, who looks insanely good and gave some incredible performances, the VMAs were simply great. Maybe we just miss awards shows since the writer's strike began back on May 2, or maybe we just really, really love our MTV. Either way it was a fabulous night full of incredible music and lots of performers we love. As we noted, "Any chance to see Billy Porter is always good. Plus Taylor Swift, who swept, gave a series of speeches that moved the audience and reminded everyone of why we love her.

The morning after we fell into a sleep-deprived Twitter/X thread by PopCrave of fave videos from VMAs gone by which included Madonna doing "Vogue," (on YouTube) which is incredibly queer, and Michael Jackson's "Dangerous," (on Vimeo), which reminded us of how much we miss his musical genius.

There were a series of LGBTQ performers nominated for awards, including the always fabulous Janelle Monáe and Demi Lovato, Sam Smith and Kim Petras, Miley Cyrus, MaĚŠneskin, Ice Spice, Dove Cameron, Steve Lacy, Saucy Santana, Lil Uzi Vert, Anitta, Panic! at the Disco, Fletcher, and boygenius.

Was it the Oscars? No. But it was a blast and the music was spectacular, the clothes amazing and if you missed it, check out all the highlights and you can also watch the pre-show red carpet, which had a lot of music folded in. Remember--your life is a song, so sing it!

The Other Black Girl
This series is so good! From executive producer Rashida Jones, following in her father Quincy Jones footsteps as a powerbroker, this Hulu series, which dropped Sept. 13, does not disappoint. "The Other Black Girl" is based on the New York Times bestseller by Zakiya Dalila Harris, which is part treatise on the many layers of structural racism in America and part page-turning suspense novel.

Nella Rogers (Sinclair Daniel) is an editorial assistant at Wagner Books, a successful publishing house in New York City. Nella often feels marginalized and subjected to microaggressions all day long by being the only Black woman working at Wagner.

So when another Black woman, Hazel-May McCall (Ashleigh Murray) is hired, Nella is thrilled. The duo bond over Blackness and their outsider status. But then things start to shift for Nella, and not in a good way. No spoilers, but Nella starts to discover that Wagner has a dark history and sinister secrets.

Nella's best friend is openly queer Malaika (Brittany Adebumola) who is hyper-focused and goal-oriented, and to whom Nella comes constantly for reassurance and to vent. Malaika is Nella's ride or die and Nella's main cheerleader.

Bellamy Young is fabulous as Vera Parini, the editor at Wagner Books who is Nella's boss. We loved Young in "Scandal" and she is great here, too.

Other key cast members include Richard Wagner ("Will & Grace" star Eric McCormack), the founder and editor-in-chief of Wagner Books; Diana Gordon (Garcelle Beauvais), a world-renowned author best known for her 1988 novel "Burning Heart," which Nella and Hazel are huge fans of; and Kendra Rae Phillips (April Parker Jones ), a former Black editor at Wagner Books. Kendra is a childhood friend of Diana's who helps edit and publish Diana's novel. She later mysteriously disappears after an interview where she speaks out about racism in publishing. The ten episodes are a must-watch, on Hulu.

Chucky, Season 3
Heeeee's baaaack! Season 3 of "Chucky" premieres on USA and SyFy October 4. Out gay director and show runner Don Mancini created the popular series as a spin-off from his "Chucky" film franchise and it is a camp and thriller classic.

As Mancini tells it, before Annabelle of the "Conjuring" movie series, there was another terrifying doll. The vintage Chucky doll turns up at a suburban yard sale in Hackensack, New Jersey, sending the all-American suburban idyll into shocking bloody chaos with a series of gruesome murders.

Then is a side plot, where we see enemies and allies from Chucky's past and the backstory to how Chucky became a murderous monster.

The beginning of the series is set three weeks after the events of "Cult of Chucky." Jake Wheeler (Zachary Taylor) buys a Good Guy doll at a yard sale to use it in his contemporary art project during the Halloween season. He later discovers that the doll is possessed by the soul of serial killer Charles Lee Ray, known as Chucky, (voiced by Brad Dourif).

'Chucky' Season 3 (photo: USA/SyFy)  

Struggling with his sexuality, whilst also being pressured by Chucky into committing violent acts, Jake soon finds himself the number one suspect in a string of bizarre events and shocking murders involving the doll and becomes obsessed with stopping the mayhem. Jake is aided by his love interest, Devon (Bjorgvin Arnarson), who has a serial killer podcast, like all good suburban queer boys.

This series is queer as queer can be and has strong John Waters vibes. There's queer boy love between Jake and Devon, BDSM lesbian love with Tiffany Valentine (Jennifer Tilly) and Nica Pierce (Fiona Dourif) and so much more. Tilly, who is a camp goddess, posted this on Twitter:

"Chucky" is good, solid, dark fun and a great series where the queerness predominates and the cis het folks are more background, which makes quite the change. Watch all three seasons in order."

Diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder when she was 18 years old, Charli (Kate Ly Johnston) struggles to maintain healthy relationships, often feeling that the whole world is against her. She attempts to numb the pain with opiates, which only drives her further away from the ones she loves.

Charli's condition worsens when she begins developing romantic feelings for her best friend Zee (Kylee Michael), a kind soul who cares strongly for her but only in a platonic way. Refusing to take her meds, Charli's illness worsens and her addictions take over. With no hope in sight, Charli quickly spirals out of control, forcing her to take desperate measures.

Kate Ly Johnston and Kylee Michael in 'Borderline' (photo: Tubi/Amazon Studios)  

The indie thriller takes an unflinching look at the physical, emotional and eventually romantic tolls that Borderline Personality Disorder takes on Charli while also exploring the lesbian relationship.

Written and directed by Rich Mallery ("Felines," "Wicked Game"), with Chris Spinelli, Elizabeth Chang, Irmon Hill, Quentin Boyer, Sloane Wilson, Jennifer Penner, Patricia Mizen, Louis DeStefano, "Borderline" debuted exclusively on Tubi September 15 and then moves to Amazon Prime in October.

Strike update
The California Senate voted Sept. 14 to grant unemployment benefits to workers who are on strike. The bill passed with a 27-12 vote. The Writers Guild of America and SAG-AFTRA have each expressed support for the bill. When approved by Gov. Gavin Newsom, the bill takes effect on Jan. 1. (

Tennant targeted
In the ongoing transphobia wars across the pond led in part by J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter actor David Tennant has been targeted since Sept. 15 as a "pedo" and "groomer" for standing for one of his five children, Wilfred, 10, who is nonbinary.

Tennant is a brilliant actor and fundamentally decent man and this stuff is just madness and a reminder that the anti-LGBTQ rhetoric doesn't stop with targeting queer and trans folk. Allies are in the literal crosshairs as well.

So for the good, the bad and the ugly, you know you really must stay tuned.

Help keep the Bay Area Reporter going in these tough times. To support local, independent, LGBTQ journalism, consider becoming a BAR member.