We’re freaking out. Twice.
First: The country is barely on the other side of a period of deep thought about the cultural meaning of O.J. Simpson. Early last year, FX’s broadcast of the mini-series “The People vs. O.J. Simpson,” a starry entertainment about Mr. Simpson’s trial and acquittal for murder, made its debut on television. Then Ezra Edleman’s seven-plus-hour, Oscar-winning documentary, “O.J. Simpson: Made in America,” hit theaters that summer. During all these long, serious conversations about Mr. Simpson’s life, career, symbolism, magnetism and behavior, we might have missed that a parole hearing was in the offing regarding the sentence he was serving for his involvement in a 2007 robbery at a Las Vegas hotel.
Last week, the day arrived, and a four-person panel granted Mr. Simpson leave. So come October, he will be a free man, at 70 years old. We talk about the world he’s about to re-enter and explore the vexing empathy that racism toward him inspires in us. We talk about what it will mean to have this man — a metaphor for America’s tangled history of promises and contradictions — out shopping for milk.
Second: We can’t believe how much fun we had watching “Girls Trip”! In the film, four ladies – Regina Hall, Jada Pinkett Smith, Queen Latifah and Tiffany Haddish – let down their hair (and release their bladders) in New Orleans. Comedies starring women are distressingly rare. Comedies starring black women are virtually nonexistent. We talk about the importance of this milestone and also cheer the movie itself for giving us fun, sexy, sexual black women without denying them their humanness. We also talk about how Jenna might have joined the rest of the women in the theater and leapt out of her seat to gawk at one of the men in the movie.
We weren’t kidding. The freaking out was real.
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