Read THIS Before Watching ‘THEM’ On Amazon Prime

Black woman wearing green dress with distorted face in key artwork for Amazon Prime's new series "Them"

THEM” is not for US.

The limited anthology series executive produced by Little Marvin and Lena Waithe is now available on Amazon Prime, but I would be remiss if I didn’t share with you what I wish someone had shared with me prior to watching.

The series centers on a Black family (the Emorys) who moves from North Carolina (after suffering an unthinkable tragedy) to an all-white Los Angeles neighborhood in Compton during the period known as The Great Migration.

The family’s idyllic home becomes ground zero where malevolent forces, next-door and otherworldly, threaten to taunt, ravage and destroy them.

When Amazon began the promotional rollout, I was front and center supporting this new series from Black creators featuring a beautiful Black family.

However, when the official trailer was released, Lena Waithe got dragged in the streets of social media for continuing to uphold her reputation of monetizing Black trauma.

[Lena Waithe Draws Criticism & Comparisons To Jordan Peele Over ‘Them’ Series]

Initially, I felt bad for Lena and had hoped people would give the series a chance before condemning it.

After screening the series, I couldn’t be more disappointed and appalled by what I watched.

Let’s start with the positive…

Deborah Ayorinde, Ashley Thomas, Shahadi Wright Joseph, and Melody Hurd star in “THEM” as the Emory family.

Everyone understood their assignments and delivered on their roles. Bravo!

But, Deborah (pictured above)! She was absolutely magnificent in this series and one might say she carried the series on her back.

Now, about “THEM“….

I cram to understand why anyone involved in this project thought this was a good idea in the year of our Lord 2021.

Confused Gif

In the climate we live in now, why would we, the Black community, desire a series about a beautiful Black family being relentlessly tormented and tortured by white folks and supernatural white folks?!?!

THEM” is 10 episodes of gratuitous Black trauma with a pinch of horror, thriller, and supernatural.

The Black trauma is so excessive, egregious, and triggering that I became physically ill at one point and had to stop screening the series for a few days.

What kind of triggers? I’m glad you asked.

  • Racism
  • Racial Slurs
  • Golliwog Dolls
  • Minstrel Characters
  • Destruction of the Black family
  • Dismemberment
  • Eye Gouging
  • Mental Torture
  • Physical Torture
  • Lynchings
  • Gang Rape
  • Infant Murder

The victims of all of these heinous acts were Black.

I pushed myself to finish the series to give a fair assessment, because surely, at some point, the Emorys would turn the tables, take back their power, and go from being the prey to judge, jury, and executioner.

They simply survived.

I just have one question for Little Marvin and Lena Waithe…

The only thing more disappointing than this series is that it came from Black creators.

If watching a beautiful Black family go through unthinkable hells, torment, and torture is your idea of entertainment – have at it.

But, you cannot say I didn’t warn YOU about “THEM.”


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32 thoughts on “Read THIS Before Watching ‘THEM’ On Amazon Prime”

  1. I haven’t seen as yet but in reading article I think they wanted to show what we as Blacks go through internal and external. Now…the question is will others watch it? I’m not a thriller watcher however I WILL attempt to watch this……

  2. I decided to give the series a try and I can’t even begin to express how triggering it was for me. As a mother the “cat inna bag” episode really shuck me and made me think who is this for? It also left me with the question, when are we going to see more movies that do not continue to perpetuate black trauma? I’m sure the creators want white people and others to see the terror that we as black people have endured from white people in this country but I would be very interested to see just what the percentage is of whites and others watching this series. Something tells me I won’t be surprised.

  3. What I seen was STRENGTH, POWER, RESILIENCE, LOVE & FAMILY… And just so we’re all clear, Nann Heaux in this day and age would ever be as brave and bold as the Emory family!! Great Job Lena Waith And Little Marvin for a great show!!

  4. Thank you for writing. I really wish I could have read this before watching. The acting was superb, the metaphors were brilliant and the editing was AMAZING! But at the end, I found myself unshakably traumatized. It’s been 2 days and my thoughts and dreams haven’t quite escaped that experience…. and that would be fine if “Them” was a true story. I don’t mind sharing in the suffering of my ancestors, but this story was fictional. And it makes me ask what did we accomplish with glimpses of truth wrapped in a Ghost story?

  5. It’s only “traumatizing” because some of us don’t give ourselves a mental break. Turn off the tv and get off social media sometimes.
    The series was good to me. You had to think outside the box to get the historical metaphors within the film.
    Plus this is something other races NEED TO SEE! LET THEM SEE THE UNCOMFORTABLE TRUTHS WE FACE DAILY! Heck the way that SOME OF US are WE need to see it too so we can realize what the heck we look like when we’re trying to put our race down JUST TO BE ACCEPTED.

  6. I think you need to watch it again with an open mind because you clearly missed the point. The acting was brilliant and the plot was thick! The whole way through. You really get to see the damage in its raw form without being sugar-coated or whitewashed. I absolutely loved it and for anyone who has a weak spine, I suggest you not view this series at all until you yourself have been through some traumatic situations. Only then would you come to appreciate the truth about what ourselves ancestors had to endure. 5stars and several thumbs up!

  7. I believe that everyone is entitled to their opinion. I am a black woman who found some areas of this show hard to absorb however, I did watch the entire show and I personally enjoyed it. I am not here to bash their creativity. However, I would be more interested in seeing/reading an interview with the executive producers to get their perspective on the how and/or why’s of these areas were important to them.

  8. Thank you so much, Xaviera, for your compassionate trigger warnings and brilliant review. I will not waste my time consuming material focused on titillating audiences with gratuitous Black trauma. Everyone deserves better, especially BIPOC. Thank you for your good work.

  9. Nothing is more horrific than reality. History proves these atrocities happened and we know the evil of white supremecy.
    The point…black folks DONT GET A DAY OFF!! White supremecy, systematic racism, and the hope for freedom is ongoing in our society. It was supposed to be exhausting, because living it is.

  10. Some of you are talking about “real” then why couldn’t they just tell the real story without adding a supernatural boogeyman to the equation? When dealing with issues of black history in America white people ARE the boogeyman. You don’t need any extra forces to tell that story thats been told a thousand times already.

    Black trauma sells. Black Death sells. Black sex sells. We are still being “sold” today. We are still slaves.

  11. Hated it but I did watch all 10 episodes hard to explain. I did fat forward the Cat In The Bag part to upsetting to watch most of it was too upsetting. But in some weirdnway i thought it would have been a better ending i also thought Jordan Woods was the creator but c he would have explained it more and connected the man inblack Ms Vera and every other character would have been explained more

  12. I understand what you’re saying but that isn’t how I viewed the series. Yes, the family survived but I do believe that they are stronger for their survival. The mother suffered a very horrific lost and trauma (the whole family did) but in the end she conquered those demons and was able to save her family.

    The redlining and the downright stealing from the black community during that time is real! The way those white people treated them, the neighbors, the cops, the coworkers, strangers was REAL!! Why can’t we see shows that show racism and violence at this time? Many of us are living it daily!

    The acting was superb and I loved the music. I highly recommend this series.

  13. I watched it and yes, though difficult to see the torture our people endured, to me it was to make the point that integration was not better for our people. Moving into white neighborhoods not only continued the torment for our parents and elders but began another generation of mental trauma for our children. The series also educated on the banks and housing redline practices to give context to just how systemic racism is and how deep it goes. The supernatural part to me was a reminder that the white man used OUR word from God OUR Bible to keep us mentally enslaved. I felt the series was decent. Go deeper to really see the message. White isn’t right nor is it better from one end of the country, South all the way North this country is sick with racism and until God burns Babylon down WE will never truly be free.

  14. My sentiments exactly. I was where you were, disgusted with everything that took place but I continued to watch in hopes to see the regain their power. I was throughly disappointed when that did not happen. I definitely didn’t go through all of that torment just to watch them stand there like “we’re still alive y’all!” 🙄

  15. I’ll never watch this,I just can’t get down with stuff like that for my black peoples.
    Where is the movie where the tables are turned for once,we go through way to much to have to sit back and watch some horrible movie intensify it a bit more.

  16. I’m from the south and trauma like this is a real thing. So many messages in the film you missed. I was shaken up but I pushed thru.

  17. I don’t get the review, I believe we are shifting to discussing past trauma as being triggering, and unacceptable a thing to do.
    Personally I focus on present and future, understanding how the past influences. This is not to say that it isn’t good to have people be reminded of how the past was, because in 2021 racism isn’t extinct, and while the other traumas that accompanied racism may not be as evident, it’s still there just in a more elevated and acceptable way.

    I have not watched the series, so I’m not commenting on it, rather the stance of the review. The author is mad that the family only survived, but that’s what majority of people did historically, survive! and some still aren’t even doing that in the present.
    Therefore if anything is triggering it’s the review.

  18. Don’t know if this puts it in more context but the series was 3 yes in the making and was supposed to be released earlier. So it being finally released in 2021 (in the midst of
    the racial tension and focus on injustice) is a coincidence.

  19. Yes I agree that this series ” Them ” is no way appropriate for the black community. Especially with all the racism we are facing today. I think that this tv series should be not be available to watch. I didn’t even finish the first episode .

  20. Thank you for this enlightening article. I’ve been on the fence as to watch it, or not. I think NOT!

  21. I knew it was nothing that would be entertaining to me. Thank you for your very honest and graphic review. I got sick just reading it.

  22. Well when you know of that “happy ending” let us know !
    This is just an overly dramatic why to depiction of the horrors black family’s faced during the 60’s. Would you prefer movies like the Help ? For me it’s no different then watching stories about Henry the eight or Cesar , horrible what these men did, but the story is told. Our stories need to be told , raw and emotion driven. You can’t change a history that you romanticize for ratings.

  23. This was without a doubt, one of the most imaginative projects available on any viewing platform… this intense thought provoking work of art pushes all the right buttons in every corner of the cerebral crevices of the imaginary thumb nail, releasing this at this present stage of American existence is just what WE ALL NEED, from past, present and future generations …. thank you Lena and company

  24. They allowed it so people can get use to seeing and knowing this is how to and how black folks are treated and will be treated. However, black people are shown on the daily news, social media constantly reliving the trauma, keeping it front and center. Also this is allowed because Lena is apart of LGBT(xyzlmnop) community and the media is pushing and allowing anything under that flag to fly. No conscious of the audience, the current times, and or who is viewing it.

  25. I feel ot may be the reasoming on that alot of our recent pass has been so misrepresented on the outcome that we have been sitting in and having real traumas behind it and tou cant understand why she put it out there, ok then let hit a little closer to home, how about 1900’s wasnt that long agao and all think that time line was soo far away and reality is its not. If your parents or grandparents were born in 1950’s and so on then you are part of the third to fourth generation removed from that time of era where their lies of slavery has been abolished, so of course this would be a movie that can be put out with all the truth of what your grandparents and thier siblings went thru. So this can be a light that cant be darkened when you have to let your people know how you STILL ARE BEING PUT THRU THIS SAME STRUGGLE JUST IN A MORE TECHNOLOGICAL ERA, So you said what now?

  26. That’s the point of the series. It shows the horrific torture and treatment of blacks from whites in America and unfortunately due to systemic racism and white supremacy we can only survive because we have no real power then or now.

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