Katori Hall’s stroke of genius hit the public just as we were all a captive audience – right at the height of the 2020 era of the COVID-19 pandemic. With a fresh concept, vivid characters, and a wild ride of a storyline drenched in neon light and Mississippi heat, P-Valley became an instant must-watch weekly event for hundreds of thousands of viewers bound to the house and eager for streaming gold.
With a first season, fans are still talking about to this day, the creator and showrunner knew the pressures sitting on Season 2 of STARZ’s hit stripper-drama, based on her original 2015 play, P*ssy Valley. Though her plans for the next chapter of The Pynk and its emotionally embattled staff and customers were already solidified, Hall saw an opportunity to fold the story of Chucalissa’s dramas and delights into the real world.
“I always knew what I wanted to do for Season 2, so when the world went dark and everything shut down, I was like ‘how can I not write about this?’”
Her characters, from the strong and sassy club matriarch Uncle Clifford to the tortured and mysterious dancer-turned-manager Autumn Night, are known for being able to wiggle their way out of – and often into – some majorly sticky situations. Naturally, Hall could not resist the chance to toss them into a harrowing real-life situation no one on earth was prepared for.
“They’re so vibrant and memorable, and I really wanted to put them in the same given circumstances that we were trying to survive through because they themselves are the ultimate survivors,” she said. “I thought, ‘maybe they can teach us how to deal with this because I don’t know!’”
“It was very important to show the things that were exposed and are still being exposed during this time,” Hall added. “I always say, Coronavirus was a virus that exposed a more rampant virus, which was racial injustice. As a Black woman who is an artist, I felt like it was my responsibility to write my times and to mirror and reflect what was happening to all of us. I think that’s what makes season 2 even more of a universal story.”
That universal story has notably opened the mind of P-Valley’s frequent viewers to personalities and lifestyles that many may not have initially commemorated with much. In season 2, Hall says it’s all about digging deeper into who these people are, and how they aren’t much different than anyone else.
I feel like the first season we did a really good job of making people feel as though, ‘Oh my god, I could hang out with Mercedes!’ ‘I want Keyshawn to be my best friend,’” she said. “In season 2, because of the pandemic, we actually get to go inside of people’s homes and really understand their lives.”
“It’s a beautiful opportunity to use this metaphor of the mask. We’re taking off everyone’s masks and getting to know the real deal Holyfield of every single character.”