The Slaying of 'Giants'
Three best friends currently navigating their way through hardships, existential crisis, and trying to find their purpose sounds like a story we all can relate to. With the Issa Rae and Jussie Smollett’s produced web series Giants, that is exactly what type of storyline you are getting. The series stars Vanessa Baden (as ‘Journee’), Sean Samuels (as ‘Ade’), and the creator James Bland (as ‘Malachi’). Season one gave fans a roller-coaster ride of feelings and emotions; each episode left off with a cliffhanger and anticipation for the next one.
Giants is a biblical metaphor of life with everyday struggles as the “giant” that needs slaying, hence the story of David and Goliath. Malachi’s “giant” is trying to make ends meet by working odd jobs found on craigslist. After meeting with a cousin, he gets hip to the game of escorting. After his first sexual encounter, he’s met with two thugs who rob him. Bland recalls his real life event that inspired that scene. Around 2009, Bland was really robbed at gunpoint in Los Angeles while he was on the phone with one of his friends. At time, he was freshly graduated student, new in LA, no car, no secure living arrangement, and hardly any money.
A little over six years ago, I was robbed at gun point in LA. I was walking home from work late at night on the phone with @cijicamp trying to convince her to come and scoop me so we could go to IHOP, and two dudes rolled up on me and said "Give us your shit". To understand my response you would have to know where I was in life: a recent college grad, working in retail, in a new city, with no car, no apartment and really no money. I had never had a gun pointed at me before and I had never been in a real fight in my entire life. But, that particular night, something fell off a shelf inside of me and I lost it. After the dudes stripped me of my back pack and emptied my pockets, I started swinging, gun in my face and all. Literally, one of the craziest experience of my life, but one I'm now grateful for, because it served as the sole catalyst for me writing @giantstheseries and I had the chance to relive that moment tonight on film. Many folks have asked me, "What is Giants about?" To sum it up, I'll tell you what my mom told me after the robbery and altercation. I asked her if she was mad at me for fighting a guy with a gun. She said, "No, because sometime you gotta fight for your stuff." 📷 cred: @karajose
Much like his character ‘Malachi’.
Bland stated, “...something fell off a shelf inside of me and I lost it I started swinging, gun in my face and all.” He recreated that moment with so much emotion that the audience had no choice to think of moments in their lives where they, too, had to fight.
‘Malachi’ is roommating with his friend, Journee, who is having a hard time just simply getting out bed. While she’s supposed to be helping pay rent, she finds it hard to gather the energy to go work as well. It all boils down to her being depressed. With this topic being incorporated into the series, it’s aimed to open people’s eyes and mind about mental illness and the lack of severity it gets. On the season finale, ‘Journee’ contemplates taking her own life but reconsiders. Bland wanted the audience to see that, to see that even if you are going through depression, the one exit out isn’t always the best answer
Then there’s their best friend, ‘Ade’. He’s on the path of trying to figure out who he is internally. After throwing away a degree to become a dancer, he became a disappointment to his father who had helped me through college. Alongside of that, he tries to date a fellow dancer in his class but after accidentally taking her to a gay party, rumors start to circulate. ‘Malachi’ seems to notice his true identity, but ‘Ade’ is none the wiser. It becomes apparent to ‘Ade’ that he may be into men when ‘Malachi’ stays with him for a week months after getting robbed and the sexual tension is written on his face.
When asked about the idea behind the series, Bland explained that the concept for Giants was, in a nutshell, his mother’s response when he had asked was she upset at him fighting a guy with a gun: “No, because sometime you gotta fight for your stuff.”
Producer Issa Rae, recently on The Breakfast Club with Charlamagne The God, gave a shout out the budding web series.
Season two is currently in production with J. August Richards, known for his roles in The Temptations and Good Burger and Xavier Burgin as two of the season’s directors.
Get more behind the scenes look and learn more about the cast and crew of Giants on their (link to IG : https://www.instagram.com/giantstheseries/ ) and binge watch season one on Issa Rae’s YouTube channel (Link to YT channel : https://www.youtube.com/user/actingrl112/playlists )