It took me a while to start Michaela Coel’s TV series ‘I May Destroy You’ because of how triggering I imagined it would be but after the continuous chat on the timeline I decided to start so I didn’t see any spoilers, which Twitter is notorious for, and honestly it was one of the best decisions made.
I May Destroy You takes you on an emotional rollercoaster, I found myself laughing, crying, texting my girls about certain scenerios and overall super excited for each episode. The friendship between Arabella (Michaela Coel) and Terry (Weruche Opia) reflects a lot of my friendships so I had an instant connection with the two. The scenes where they were in school took me right down memory lane from school fights to bluetoothing eachother sexual videos of the girls in our school, which until I got older didn’t realise is a crime and while growing up it was just a bit of juicy gossip.
The show really reflects the essence of black joy and friendships and how no matter how mad your life may become or how much love and patience you may need, your girls will more than often have your back and understand your trauma. There is a moment where Arabella learns that Terry told Simon (Aml Ameen) to leave her to make her way home while intoxicated before her assault took place, and in that moment I felt that Arabella would lose her marbles completely and cut her off but to my surprise she acknowledged how great a friend Terry had been during her recovery. Just perfect.
I have to highlight how amazing it was to see black culture celebrated and shown to a T on TV, I was watching what felt like my own and my friends experiences as a Black British.
‘I May Destroy You’ is very educational in this aspects with new words and terms and many sexual assaults you may have not known were exactly that.
I feel Michaela knocks everything on the head and one aspect of her story which I felt related to me was escaping to another country as a escape from your own reality at home. Although I hadn’t been through Terry’s experience of being tricked into a threesome with guys who pretended they didn’t know each other but really did stuck, the topic of coercion and lies is a topic again to discuss as it could be seen as part of the culture to do so. With Arabella her assault might have been more straight forward (whatever that means, I mean that’s the point of the show) but with Terry how do you explain those feelings?
Kwame is also a part of the friendship group and is a character which is very important for the messages Michaela sends. As we got to know the characters individually Kwame (Paapa Essiedu) is sensitive, confident and loving and also experiences assault assault after he had previously had a consensual sexual experience with a Grindr date. As a gay black man the shows reflects how hard it can be to to be gay and accepted in the black community and to come forward after an assault to the police especially as a male.
Kwame lies about his sexual orientation before an encounter with a female, again another complex situation as I felt sorry for him as he was processing his own abuse (as I did with Arabella’s outbursts and Terry’s lying). I think this reflects that in life there is no one villain and it shows how individuals deal with trauma in its many forms differently.
The title ‘I May Destroy You’ is such a great fit as there were moments where it did, but there were also moments where I was filled with the strength to destroy others, my own trauma, sexual predators, racism, generational curses and more.