The Forty-Year-Old Version (2020) - full transcript

Radha is a down-on-her-luck NY playwright, who is desperate for a breakthrough before 40. Reinventing herself as rapper RadhaMUSPrime, she vacillates between the worlds of Hip Hop and theater in order to find her true voice.

Oh, yeah.

Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.

I want my baby girl to come back to me.

A crime so gruesome...

Pants don't fit?

That's right. New Fat Crusher 2000.

Oh, shit!

What do you think of a woman turning 40?

40? Girl, 40 ain't shit.

You? Almost 40?

I started living my life when I was 40.



Damn, you that old, Miss B?

Ay! Forty?!

40 means... juicy down there.

Shit, I figured you were like 30,
maybe even 35, but 40?

Damn, that's just... that's just crazy.

Oh, shit!

When a single woman turns forty,

she's like fruit from the tree
that falls to the ground

for the bugs to eat.

Gracias.

You're welcome.

Now 70?

Call me when you turn 70
and can't control your bowels.

Oh, shit.



Oh, God.

{\an8}Wait. Oh, come on.

{\an8}Come on, sir, you see me
standing right here.

{\an8}Please? I'm late.

{\an8}Thank you.

{\an8}You just made your mother proud.

{\an8}My mother's dead.

{\an8}Sorry...?

{\an8}Okay. Sorry.

{\an8}Excuse me. Sorry about that. Sorry.

{\an8}Hey, it's your brother.

{\an8}It's been a year, so don't you think
we should take care of Mom's apartment?

{\an8}Aight, hit me back.

{\an8}Thank you.

{\an8}Oh, great.

{\an8}Oh, fuck me.

{\an8}Great.

{\an8}Great.

{\an8}Excuse me, sir?

{\an8}Sir? Sir? Do you think I could just, like,

{\an8}jump out before you let
the people in.

{\an8}I'm really late.
I'll just jump out before you...

{\an8}Sorry for the delay, folks,

{\an8}but this lady here doesn't want me to help
the disabled people on.

{\an8}Oh, come on!

{\an8}I... that did not...

{\an8}I didn't... I didn't say that.

{\an8}But, no, please. As you were.

{\an8}Thanks. Thanks a lot. Please.

{\an8}Oh, shit.

{\an8}No!

Stupid-ass Scorpio

Your stingy-ass ways mean we can't flow

And you bullshit Libra

Fucking deceiver

Step off, Gigantor
No one believes you

And Mr. Gemini

You're too feminine

Can't rock with a nigga's ass
Bigger than mine

See me?
I'm focused

My sweet mid-body lust
Is just for those who I trust

Why?
Because I'm a cli-cli-cli-Taurus

Wow.

Wow.

Come on, guys. Come on.
Clap it up for Elaine.

Thank you.

Thank you. Thank you for sharing that,
Elaine, really.

Okay, um...

Any more thought on what kind of play
we want to write?

Rosa?

I say we do some sci-fi shit.

Like?

Like this strange blue cloud comes down
from the sky raining on everybody, right?

But then the next day,
every man caught in the rain,

they wake up with no dick.

Hmm. So, like, um,
a sci-fi mystery kind of thing.

- Yeah.
- Okay.

No, no, no. We should do some
racial-type political shit,

where a Black man
fucks this white girl and dies.

And that's political because...

'Cause a white vagina is a plot
to destroy a Black family.

Shit, my mom would kill me
if I even touch one, you feel me?

Consider yourself dead, bro.

Mm, mm-mm-mm.

Okay, guys, can we come up with ideas
that don't involve genitalia?

You know, just in case somebody's
grandmother wants to come to the show.

For what? My abuela loves balls.

Ha, ha, ha. Very funny. Okay, that's fine.

Make jokes. Just remember, it's your play.

It'll be whatever you put into it.

If you put in nothing, it'll be nothing.

Like your career?

Ooh.

Ouch.

Really, Elaine?

I googled you.

Last time you did anything was,
what, 2010?

Oh, 2012, and they ain't producing her
'cause white people scared of the truth.

Right, Miss B?

Rosa, thank you, but it's not about me.

Right, Brosa, so stop kissing her ass.
You ain't going down on her.

Fuck you. I could dream.

Damn, Elaine,
why you gotta be so negative?

I'm saying...

how's somebody who ain't had no real hit
gonna tell me how to write a fucking play?

She ain't no Tyler Perry.

I actually appreciate that. Thank you.

And that's why
she's teaching at the school,

coming late every day
when nobody wants to be here.

Oh-ho-ho!

I told you there were 20 invalids
on my bus today, okay?

But you know what, Elaine?
This isn't Dangerous Minds.

You can leave whenever you want.

And, by the way, I actually have
a production coming up. Thank you.

Oh!

I'm just saying.

Um, workshop production.

It ain't even regional theater. Please.

Oh-ho!

Yo, Elaine, sit down.

- What'd you say?
- Uh, Rosa, don't bother.

I said sit your disrespectful ass down.
Now, puta.

- What?
- Oh, shit!

Oh! Ooh-hoo-hoo!

Okay, guys. Guys, shut up.

Okay? Now, girls...
I mean, gender non-conformists.

Make me sit down, dyke.

Ooh!

Guys, can we just calm down
and make art please?

'Cause you look like Bustin' Bieber
I'm supposed to be scared?

- Oh, no.
- I ain't scared.

You still a bitch, bitch.

Oh, shit!

- Girls, no!
- Shit, they fighting!

Pop her titty out!

Yo, call security!

Guys, come on!

- Pull her fucking weave!
- Stop it!

Pull her fucking weave out!

Ya'll break it up!

Boo!

Fuck Time Out New York!

You're five stars Black Shakespeare, ma!

Like RadhaMUSprime, you'll rise again
to slay all these Decepticunts out here!

- Oh, my God.
- You all right?

- Yes.
- You good?

Yeah.

Oh, my God.

They don't pay me enough for this shit.

Hi! You've reached Archie Choi.

- Do the thing! Ciao!
- Great.

Where the fuck are you, Archie?

I'm either gonna kill
or fuck one of these damn kids.

Archie, where's my regional production?
Like, what do I gotta do?

Write a... slave musical?
An all-white play?

Like, who do I have to blow around here?

Elaine.

Oh, hey, Avery. What?

Elaine probably would have chilled
if you just complimented her stupid poem.

You're right.

Oh, why you drinking that diet shit?

I prefer my woman thick.

Thanks. No, no. no.

Avery, that's not appropriate.

I'm... I'm your teacher.

I turn 20 in two weeks.

I bet you do.

All over.

Help me. Please, help me.

When I got that call...

I felt my balls shrivel up.

When I got that call...

I thought, "Damn, Darlene...

that's fucked up."

I need a minute.

A minute?

Come on, man.

Mmm!

Is that patchouli?

Smells great. Smells really good.

Um...

Forrest, thank you
for meeting me so last minute.

I, uh, wanted to talk to you about
my workshop production with you...

YOUmoja Theater. Yeah.

It's true, uh...

Black theater spaces are often
under-resourced and underfunded,

but it's...

it's important that...

that I work with my people.

Still, my agent thinks
that, um, at this point in my career,

you know, I've done the 30 Under 30...

Yes, it was quite a couple years ago,
but I... I did win that award.

He feels that I should maybe
have a regional production of the play,

instead of a workshop production.

And, uh, for a fee that, I don't know,
is enough to pay my rent...

would be nice.

Maybe.

Ooh. Okay.

Okay.

Oh, I should...

Oh, sorry.
My knees are a little out of shape there.

The ancestors,
they're always with us,

always watching, I trust them.

They told me,
despite the numerous challenges,

that I must preserve this theater.

And now, they're reminding me
that what we create here

- is imbued with a spirit of cause.
- Yes.

Not commerce.

The ancestors said that?

They don't want my rent paid?

Can we try my ancestors this time?

So, I have an Aunt Karen and I know she...
wants my rent paid.

No? Okay, I'll just back off.

Guess who finally booked
two tickets to Greece?

Antonio picked out our matching thongs.

Anyway, meet me downtown
in, like, an hour.

There's someone I want you to meet.

Could be a game changer.

Oh, and be on time!

Hey, you have the address, right?

Okay, please dress it up a bit.

See you in a few.

Oh, shit!

Maybe you'll finally get a nigga
to go home with you tonight, huh?

It's been a long time
since you had somebody up there.

And by up there, I mean

- up in there!
- Yeah, got it. Thanks.

I've been sworn to secrecy.

Come on, you can tell me.

- Okay, but not a word.
- No.

Michael and I are invested
in a multi-racial revival of Fences!

My God! August Wilson? Timeless.

I know and now integrated.

Oh, no, I don't want those at all.

- Tempted?
- No! Mm-mm.

I'm gonna lose 40 by 40.
I'm doing smoothies, boo.

Oh, that's why your breath, uh...

What?

So there may be an opportunity.

To drown in a sea of old white women?

Beyond the ladies.

- That's J. Whitman.
- I know.

Why would I care about J. Whitman?

In between drinks
and trying to grope my ass,

he said they have
a last minute slot to fill.

And?

And it might be a chance
to get your play up.

You know women of color playwrights
are very hot right now.

Or would you rather have the roof leaking
on your production at YOUmoja?

J. Whitman only does Black poverty porn
plays of which mine are not.

Great, so I stopped masturbating,

got dressed, and resisted
those succulent ribs for nothing?

Didn't someone almost stab you today?

No!

I was vigorously pushed.

They're good kids, okay?

"Archie, where's my regional production?"

I'd rather do a workshop production
with Forrest and his stingy-ass ancestors

than suck it up to J. Whitman. Ugh!

Look, I let that man graze my ass,
so you're going to ingest a breath mint

and go see what that man has to say.

But why would I...

- I know you're not trying...
- Mmm!

- Fuck you.
- Ooh, better!

I'm not afraid of controversy.

Our all-female production
of 12 Angry Men, my idea,

but a live cow on stage?

I'm sorry, but I draw the line
at fresh cow shit.

Radha! Excuse me, ladies.

- Radha! Hey!
- How are you?

Just puckering up to the patrons,
as usual.

- How are you?
- Good.

Archie tells me you're teaching.

I've been teaching for a while now.

Well, theater misses you.

- Does it?
- Mm-hmm.

Is it looking for me?
Because I've been here.

Now, Archie insisted I read your play.

Awesome. Thank you.

It's...

Yes...?

Why don't you tell me about it
in your own words?

Okay.

Um...

Harlem Ave is about a young Black man

who inherits a grocery store
from his dead mom and pop,

and how he struggles to keep
the business afloat

with the help of his lovely wife...

who's an activist.

Hmm.

That's it?

No... no, no, no.

It's about gentrification. Mmm.

And how this young couple struggles to...

- You didn't like it.
- The idea is powerful.

But?

It rang a little inauthentic.

Okay. Well, thank you for that note.
I appreciate it.

- There's something there.
- Okay.

I just wish you hadn't shied away
from darkness.

I mean if you're going to
call it Harlem Ave,

you gotta give me Harlem Ave.

I should write in a teen mother
shooting up in an alley.

No, no, no!

No. No, you're missing my point.

I'm talking about gentrification.

A Black Harlem shifting under
a white hipster land grab,

but your play never goes there.

I ask myself,
"Did a Black person really write this?"

- Now, look, sweetheart.
- Yes.

There's definitely a voice
under all those words...

- All those words.
- ...but the writing needs work.

- The good news is...
- Hmm?

I still need a writer
for my Harriet Tubman musical.

Wow.

Okay.

That's... that's great.

That's great.

Hey, J!

Fuck.

I just want to be an artist.

Mommy, please.

Mommy, please. Tell me what to do.

Yo, where my period at?

Oh, shit, there it go

Right next to belly bloating
And this spotty flow

Yo, where my damn house keys?

Why my lower legs hurt?

Sciatica, locked legs like Attica

Word, yo, why my ass always horny?

Why I always gotta pee?

Why the young boy on the bus
Offer his seat to me?

Why my skin so dry?

Why am I yawning right now?

Why them AARP niggas
Sending shit to my house?

Why my ass so impatient?

But I like them young bucks

But ten o'clock roll around
And I'm too tired to fuck

Why my knees be writing checks
That my back can't cash?

Why I think I'm gonna fart
But my ass got other plans?

Why most hip hop got me feeling
So much older, yo?

When the fuck is this loud-ass song
Gon' be over?

Yeah, I tried to dance hard
But my knees straight caught me

Cause, yo, this is 40, niggas!

This is 40!

Oh! Uh...

Damn.

Antonio, just pick out a villa
on the beach and I'll cover it, okay?

I can't, I'm meeting Radha.

She's still very fragile,
very Miss Sofia after jail, you know?

She needs some cheering up.

Hey.

Oh, my Unabomber realness.
Okay, baby, I'll call you back. Bye.

- Come here! Hey!
- Hey. Hey.

How are you?

I'm okay, I'm okay, but listen, I need
to talk to you about something.

- Me, too. So, last night...
- Last night was crazy.

- Something happened after...
- Don't worry about it.

- I know, but something happened after...
- Listen!

Radha, I think there's a way
to smooth things over with Whitman.

If we can just...

Got off 145
Guess who pass?

What?

A skinny white dude
with the fattest ass

Yo, he was standing with his Becky

When her eyes met mine
She looked away like she was shamed, G

They must have had a real love

Or that bitch had a fetish
For some Black girl butt

But a butt
But a butt painted white

Connected to this pink ding-a-ling

It made me sing

White man with a Black woman's butt

How you carry all that back there?

What the fuck?

Yes, what the fuck?

- Look, just... just think about it.
- What? Think about what?

What are you talking about?

Think about me doing hip-hop.

Doing what to it?

I want to make a mixtape.

About a white man's ass?

No, about the 40-year-old woman's
point of view.

Dry vag, soupy tits.
Am I missing something?

Archie, where did I spend
most of my time in high school?

With your regrets.

No, I was in the cafeteria,

beating out beats on the table,
rhyming all day, all night.

All of my composition books
filled with rhymes.

You used to charge people to battle me

because I was the best MC
in high school.

Honey, we are not in high school.
We are almost 40.

So?

So... So that means
I can't make great music?

I can make real music,

not the bullshit that my students
listen to, but real music.

I found this Brownsville DJ-producer
on Instagram.

Oh, my Jesus.

His name is D. He doesn't take calls.

I think you just show up with
a bag of weed or something, but anyway,

his beats...

- Come on, Archie!
- Okay, yeah. Radha. Radha.

Last night we had a bad moment.

See, this is about creating
something that is mine.

And now we're having a little breakdown.

Something that doesn't rely
on critics or gatekeepers.

Or choking out a white man?

Do you smell the burning carcass
of friendship?

Yeah, I definitely smell it.

Radha, look, I get it.

Your... Your mom's gone.

You're a little sad, a little stuck.

A lot of eating.

You're in mourning,
but you're not done with theater.

What, so there's a 40 under 40 list
that I don't know about?

Okay, look, you make your little music,
if that's what you need to do.

- Thank you. I appreciate it.
- In the meantime,

I will smooth things over with Whitman,
and you can tighten up your script. Okay?

- Oh, my God.
- Hello?

- Radha.
- Oh, my God.

What?

Two big white butts in one day

They call that an omen, ho-may

Sorry to say, boo-bae

I got rhymes to write today

- Radha? Radha!
- I'll call you later, Archie!

You wanna do what?

Hip hop. Hippity hop.

What's a mixtape?

Really?

We sisters finally got a Michelle Obama
out here and you want to go do this

ri-damn-diculousness?

Hear that?

Harriet Tubman just shot herself
in the afterlife.

Mmm! Mm-mm-mm.

Hey, I straightened up
over at Mom's...

but there's a lot of stuff, yo.

When you coming by?

A bunch of your shit is still over there.

Aight, hit me.

Later.

Is D here?

Hey, yo, mama, what you need?

Um...

Beats. Tracks.

For what?

For me.

What, you rhyme?

Yes, I do.

Oh, and, uh, yes, I have currency.

Oh, aight.

No doubt. So what you call yourself?

- Huh?
- So, what they call you?

- What they call you?
- Radha... MUSprime.

What?

RadhaMUSprime.

Oh, shit, like, uh, like Optimus.
- Yeah. Yeah.

Yeah.

Yeah. Yeah, aight.

Yeah, that's me. Yeah.

Hey, yo D.

Yo D!

Yo, this is RadhaMUSprime.

She needs some beats, yo.

Oh!

- Yo, what the fuck?
- Sorry.

Gosh, your poor feet.

I'm good.

Oh, shit.

Shit, what time is it?

Two.

A.M.?

Where's D?

Gone.

Where?

Stupid fucking door. Shit.

I came all the way to Brooklyn
for this bullshit?

Fuck.

Just say it.

Say what you have been meaning
to say to me from the moment that you

first laid eyes on me.

Fine, fine.

I love red meat.

- Congrats, Josh, it's your next hit.
- I try.

You look great.

Considering my neck
was in a vice last week.

Again, I'm so sorry.

Can I help you with something?

I want to thank you
for not pressing charges.

Well, it wasn't that tight a grip.

Pilates.

I appreciate your loyalty.

I don't quite understand
the attachment, though.

- She has a real voice.
- She's good. She's not special.

That's bullshit.

- She just needs someone to...
- Stop.

Seriously.

Begging doesn't suit
your lovely cheekbones.

You should be producing theater,

not letting some washed-up writer
weigh you down.

- But if you could just reconsider...
- Sorry.

There's nothing else to say.

Boom. So, right, the sperm.

He gotta go through all these different
portals and shit,

like parts of the vagina, the chocha...

But at each portal,
he gotta fight mad assault ninjas,

like a crab ninja because, you know,
bitch had crabs once.

- We should write in a tampon ninja.
- You're right.

Anyway, so, right, after all these trials,

he finally gets to Vagzilla,
the Queen of the Vaginal Eggs.

I prefer Eggliza though, brother.

Same shit. Now, right?

The queen, she all fine and shit,

but Old Spermy, he gotta seduce
her and shit, so he could...

Come to Be.

You get it? That's the title.

What you... what you thinking?

Sure, why not?

What?

- I already told you.
- Um...

guys, let's pick up next week.

You tight. You tight. You tight.
You dead tight.

Keep it up.

Yeah. I see you, Avery.

Uh, Rosa, Elaine?

What up, Miss B?

Uh, don't "Miss B" me, okay?

Now, the dean said I could kick
the both of you out of the class

after what happened last week.

- No!
- So terrible.

But I won't. Why?

Because even though
we'd all rather be some place

other than this terribly lit room...

- Not me.
- ...we committed to telling a story,

and not some version
of poverty porn, either, okay?

So, don't think if you don't
get what you want, Elaine,

that the world should stop for you.

Mmm, I like this, Miss B.

Or that if someone says
something you don't like, Rosa,

you get to choke them the fuck out.

You're right, my bad.

Now, Elaine,
your poem was great. Okay?

Yeah?

Yes!

But...

don't think because you created something

that people would appreciate it, okay?

Or you'll end up some washed-up,

forty-year-old playwright with some
stupid notion to become a rapper

and the shits from drinking a diet drink
that doesn't quite meet the FDA standards.

Now, do you want that for yourselves?

I said, "Is that what you want?"

- No.
- No.

Fine.

A rapper, Miss B?

I'll see you next week.

Wow, she's like Queen Latifah
and Judge Judy, but rolled into one, yo.

- What the fuck?
- Yo, Miss B.

Hey, Avery.

Oh, shoot, sorry. I gotta take this.

- Have a good one.
- You, too.

Oh, sweet Jesus.

Yes, I am your salvation.

What's up?

So, I just saw Whitman.
His new play is trash.

Anyway, your name came up.

So?

So, I told him straight up, like,

"What's up with my girl, you know?"

- And he said...
- Wait, hold up, Archie.

Uh, hello? Radha?

Hello?

This motherfucker.

Excuse me?

Mmm!

- Hey, Archie, let me call you back.
- No, wait!

Fuck!

No, not you. I'd never fuck you.

Hey.

The storage people are ready
to pick up stuff,

but I waited... because maybe you want
to look through her stuff first?

Come on! What's the fucking deal?

Hey.

Look, um... I don't know you...

and you damn sure don't know me
to pull some ghosting shit like you did,

but, um, nigga, I'm from Brooklyn, too.

Okay?
I grew up on Mother Gaston in the '90s.

By aroma alone, I can tell the difference
between three grades of crack,

so don't go treating me
like I'm some white, newbie hipster

exploring the Black terrain
when I'm fucking from here, okay?

This motherfucker.

If you didn't want to work with me,
you should have just said something.

You know what's really fucked up?

All you so-called "brothers"
letting a sister

walk to a Brownsville train station
by herself at 2:00 a.m. in the morning.

Does that even sound right?

No, it don't.

Okay.

It was, like, 2:10.

You went to the corner bodega
and got some Funyuns.

You went down to the station.
Your train came in, like, ten minutes.

I knew that.

Going in or what?

What, now?

Did you want another beat?

Maybe.

No, wait. The last one.

Oh, shit.

Archie. Jesus.

Um...

I'm so sorry.

He's just... it's my agent.

Um...

I've been working on this...
social commentary

about, um, the white gaze's eroticism
of Black pain, and, um...

Don't you want to know
what I'm rhyming about?

I just make the beats, lady.

Okay.

Sorry.

Aight, so, you gonna come in...

You gonna come in on the eight.

How was that last one?

Good.

It felt good.

If my kids could see me now.

Not my kids, I don't...

I don't have kids.

I mean my students.

I'm a teacher.

I teach playwriting.

I'm a playwright, but I don't really feel
like one these days.

Anyway, my students would get
a real kick out of this.

Not that you're listening
to anything I'm saying.

Ah.

Coltrane, huh?

What, I'm from Brownsville,
so I don't know?

No, I'm just saying, Coltrane.

Yeah, my moms put me on.

Your mom has good taste.

So, what does she think of your music?

I don't know. She died.

I'm sorry to hear that.

You know what? Um...

I'm gonna go.

The session was great.
I just should probably get on my way.

Um, but before I forget.

Nah.

Don't I owe you for the session?

No, we good from last time. It's cool.

Okay.

More for me.

Okay.

Um, oh, you need me to...

walk you or follow you to the train again?

Uh, no, but, um... I want to come back.

I want to make a mixtape.

- Man.
- What?

Nothing. I mean...

you could. It'd be nice.

What did you just say?

Come on, you heard what I said.

You don't think I'm some crazy old broad
for doing this?

I mean, I ain't say all that...

but what you're doing...

it's interesting.

Thanks, D.

I'm gonna go.

Yeah, thanks.

Yo.

What you doing on Thursday?

Poverty porn
I'll write some poverty porn

Yeah, bitch.

- Archie...
- Don't "Archie" me.

I was just about to call you.

You got me waiting
in your not-gentrified-enough-for-me

part of Harlem getting harassed
by Homeless Harry over there.

It's Lamont...

but okay.

- Look, I want...
- No, you look.

You're blowing me off when I'm trying to
tell your tired, unproduced ass

some good news.

What?

Harlem fucking Ave.

Whitman wants to produce it.

What?

He said he's over the thing
and wants to do your play,

pending we make some changes around length
and tone and did I say length?

Doesn't matter. He's all in.

Mmm...

- What?
- I don't know.

Does that... does this even feel right?

Does an after-dinner fart feel right?
Hell's yes.

No, I mean...

do I want to compromise my play
for some arrogant asshole?

- You choked that asshole.
- Shh.

That asshole didn't press charges.

That asshole still wants to work with you.

This is the major production you wanted.

Yeah, but do I want it this way?

What?

You know, the whole "us against the world"
thing was cute in high school,

but I like opportunity,
and eating out, and silken robes.

Just know, to stay an underdog,
you have to lose shit.

Archie, we can find another producer.

I'm talking about me.

What?

Archie, you don't even mean that.

I've known you since I was skinny
and you pretended to like girls.

Look, I'm doing this show on Thursday.

Show? With who?

D from Brownsville.

He's doing this artist showcase

- and he invited RadhaMUSprime to perform.
- Who-da-mus?

Seriously, it would mean a lot
if you came.

Archie.

Give a bitch a chance, man.

Her desperation is making me nauseous,

although technically, you gotta eat
something to throw up, know what I mean?

Whitman had some notes.
Will you look them over?

I will seriously consider it.

See you on Thursday?

Whatever, bitch. Look at the notes.

You 40 yet?

Not yet, ma'am.

Still trying that rapping shit?

Yes, I am, ma'am.

You know, you're not going to be satisfied

until you sleeping in a box
like that fool over there.

Hey, mama.

Shut up with that mama mess.

I'll beat some homeless ass.

Why are you guys still here?

Hello?

My ex-girl's older half cousin
says you rhyming in a show.

It's true, Miss B?

Don't you guys have some place to be?

- Damn, it's like that?
- For real?

You just gonna shut the youth
out of a moment

that could potentially
change how we dream,

how we look at the cold world out there,
how we confront...

Yes, damn it. Okay.

Shit. That's what's up, Miss B.

- Yo, we can come through, right?
- Mmm. I don't know, guys.

Come on, Miss B.

You know we live
for this kind of shit.

And you not just talking about shit.
You making shit. Shit!

Okay, but just you two.

- Ooh-hoo-hoo!
- Okay, you cannot tell another soul.

Bet!

We got you Miss B.
Mum's the fucking word.

We all on that damn list.

Ain't no minors here. We're majors, son.

- Why you trying to play us?
- What you want, some money, some weed?

Shut up, stupid and stupider.

I got this.

Now, you know the charge
for looking at a minor's titties?

Yeah.

You know the charge.
That's what I'm talking about.

This is my friend.

That's your moms?

- Yeah.
- She coming?

In spirit, I guess.

Oh, shit.

Yo, why you ain't say nothing?

Don't you get tired of adding people
to the dead-mom club in your head?

That's what we doing now?

Yeah, that's what we doing now. Shit.

"That's what we doing now,"

says the person with the metabolism
of a baby goat.

You'll see.

It gets much harder to lose weight
when you get older.

Well, there ain't nothing wrong with you.

Mm. No, just my nerves.

Yo, it is one song.

I know, but I just...

- Now, come on. Let's go.
- What?

Where we going?

Where we going?

Like, I eat Vietnamese food
I ain't going for the top spot

No.

Come on. It's gonna chill you out.

Trust me.

I write liquor flows
And draft beers the fans hearing

If you have ears, come give Mick a lobe

Ambidextrous, tag team drawn

Both hands on the bars
Like a trapeze artist

- Ooh!
- Inverted triangle on the overcoat

I feel like Forrest Gump
When he lost polio

That was too straightforward
Let me space out

I'm glad that I had the gumption
To break out

If y'all ain't catch that bars
Time to OD

Brace yourself
Gumption is what broke free

Okay.

Another brother died
All they did was make a shirt of it

I was there in body and spirit

These is my lyrics
Niggas hang on every word of it

I'mma trim the fat like a Foreman Grill

I give you the word like a foreign film

Politicians been a problem
Since the birth of it

I don't fit into your vision
Every different stance

Vincent van Gogh
Because the left never heard of it

Woo!

Niggas act like I actually like
That conscious shit

Nah, my spirit been there
All my albums is posthumous

I see motherfuckers pay a grip
For an Oculus Rift

And still can't see it through
My fucking eyes and shit

I didn't beat the odds and shit
Niggas where I'm from don't see the prize

All our moms believe in God
And all they sons is demonized

I thought going to school was selfish
Because of how expensive college is

Now, I do a college and get paid
A fucking scholarship

Woo!

Crazy, bro. Crazy.

Um...

Oh, okay.

Yo, this be a moment, B

Down in all these groceries

Niggas act like they don't notice me
But they ashen, get some lotion, B

RadhaMUS is the chosen, see

At the top of the totem tree

While these niggas hang low
Like them scrotums be

You're not pee
So you're just loaders, free

You're both crooked and straight bogus, B

Your own momma is toasting me

She second that emotion, B

Yo, get some power and stop ghosting me

Okay!

Shiny bevels, swarmy levels
Where your devotion be?

Yo, yo, it's almost time to go

I hope I do D proud enough
To give a bitch some more

Because I'm hooked, shook
Gotta pain for them beats, hits

Like a diabetic for sweet shit

If beat's the mother of invention
Then I'm sucking on her sweet tit

Damn!

That's crazy! That's good.

Yo, look. It's a packed show up there.

I'mma see y'all, aight?

Aight, yeah, I'mma go up with you.

Sucking on her sweet tit?

You fuck with girls?

All right!

All right.

Y'all feeling good tonight?
Having a good time?

- Yeah!
- All right, all right.

Thanks so much for coming out
to support our little showcase, man.

Yo, D worked so hard on all the beats
your hear tonight.

So let's give it up for D, man.

Give me some of that Big D energy.

Yeah, yeah. All right.

Oh, no. I'm good. Thank you.

You said you want to keep flowing, right?

Okay. Yeah, it's a little puff, right?

Yeah.

Mmm!

Yeah, RadhaMUS!

Yeah. Flowing.

Mmm.

Is that Colorado? That's...

I can't take any credit for this next act.

No, this is all D's discovery, yo.

Give it up for a much older female MC,
RadhaMUSprime!

Yeah, Miss B!

Hey, guys. Thanks for coming out.

Friends, students.

Kick that beat, DJ. D... J.

Yeah.

Yo. Uh!

Yeah.

It's RadhaMUSprime. 40-year-old version.

Go, Radha!

Yo. Archie?

Oh, my God, Archie?

DJ, DJ, cut the music off.

Cut the music off.

Oh, my God, Archie. You came to my show.

You never let me down, do you?

Guys, give it up for Archie.
This is my best friend since...

You can't tell right now, but he used
to have a beard in high school.

Oh, my God! That was funny.

Before I go on,
let's give it up for D,

who awesomely crafted all the beats
that you're hearing here tonight...

...making Brooklyn and his dead mother
so proud, you know.

See, not all Black men

are in jail knocking up babies
that they can't take care of.

Woke.

So, uh... Sorry.

Bring that beat back. How about that?

Huh? Huh?

Yeah.

Come on, y'all.

Yo?

Archie, what's wrong with me?

Hey, it's okay.

I'm not a fucking rapper.

I'm a playwright.

Oh, God. Give me a chance
to make this right.

Oh! Oh, God.

I'm... I'm still rhyming,

and I didn't mean to rhyme,

not that time.

Oh, God, I'm still doing it.

Damn. Damn, damn.

Oh, I'm so sorry.

Oh, my poor ebony flower.

I'm not going to use
my lips to tell you I told you so, but...

Folks out there is watching us.

We gots to give
some kind of contribution.

You know?

Did you want them back?

Mm-mm.

Why? They're yours.

You paid for them.

You were one of her few actual patrons.

You know, they say that after your
mother dies you see her in a dream, but...

a whole year passes and nothing.

Oh, shit, even my dreams need rewrites.

You should talk to someone.

How's your brother holding up?

I don't know. We keep missing each other.

Wait a minute.

Where's Antonio?

He left.

What?

- Jack Llenna's premiere got moved.
- Mm-hmm.

He's my top-grossing client.
I couldn't miss it.

So, I had to postpone Greece.

No thongs. Shit.

Antonio lost it. Said I care more
about my clients than I do him.

Lies.

Well, you know what? Fuck Antonio.

Maybe now you can date Korean.

You sound like my mother.

"Why you not try Korean guy?"

"Why you not bring Korean baby?"

- Um, no.
- What?

What? Oh, I can't do that
because I'm Black?

Uh, who's racist now?

And scene.
That's a wrap on Shut the Fuck Up.

I'll do it.

Shut the Fuck Up?

No, Whitman.

I'll do the play if you think
that he would still...

Of course. I had him in the palm...

He'll do it.

Are you sure?

Yeah.

"Come. Drink of mommy milk."

Look, I ain't say that you couldn't,

but you shouldn't.

Not some rapping pipe dream at your age.

Hell no!

We gots to be sensible.

Now, since retiring,

I took it upon myself to impart

my own ministry of truth around Harlem.

You might not want to hear the truth,

but like these mosquitoes...

...I'm biting that ass.

- I love the new characters.
- You do?

Yes. The sassy old Black woman
doling out unwanted advice.

Love her.

The teens are fine. You just need to
spice them up with a little rap number.

Hmm.

Don't stress.

We're going to organize a workshop
and you'll be able to see all the changes.

Great. Um...

Before I forget, I just wanted
to say to you that I...

It's okay. I spoke to Archie.

And I know about your dead mom

and how sorry you are for choking me.

- Mmm.
- Look, no more apologies.

- I'm over it and we can move on.
- Okay.

Plus, we've got a little buzz,
and buzz means butts in seats.

Great.

I also wanted to talk to you about...

having a Black director is really
important to me.

Of course, we want that for you, too.
We'll make that happen.

- Okay? All right.
- Yeah.

- Oh, one more note...
- Mm-hmm?

Gentrification.

It shouldn't just be this thing
that's happening out there.

We need to personify it in the play,
you know?

- Not quite.
- Well... well, look...

If we have a Black couple
facing gentrification in Harlem,

we need to know just who's gentrifying.

Mmm, I don't know. See, my play is about...

I know what your play's about,

and I also know we need to grab
the core audience.

And to do that,
you have to write them in the play.

Good.

I wish I could have been there.
Oh, my God.

She's like, "Yo, yo, yo!"

Okay, fine. So we have this spermazoid.

Ah, but what is his motivation?

- What is he after? You know?
- Hey.

Heard your show was "da bomb."

"Yo, yo, yo, yo, yo, yo!"

RadhaMUS? More like NotiMUS.

I'll bust her ass if you want.

Man, fuck her, Miss B.

Aight? We just glad to have you back.
We missed you.

Word, yo. What happened up there?

Sound like you was having
a stroke or something.

No pendejo.
Clearly she had a nervous breakdown.

They was calling you "frozen yo-gurt,"
Miss B.

I heard somebody say "the human yo-yo."

You want to talk about it?

So, you're okay with everything, then?

Well, no, it's not the director
that I wanted, you know?

Her all-male version of Steel Magnolias
was amazing.

There go my fears.

It's just a workshop, right?

No, you're right. It's just a workshop.
I'm going to power through it.

That's my girl.

- Look, Archie, I'm gonna call you later.
- Okay, bye.

Thanks.

- Hey, girl!
- Hey!

You recovered from the other night?

Who, me? Oh, yeah. No, I'm good.

Yeah, that was like a live... performance
experimental thing that I was going for.

But I'm glad you're here.

- Girl, you know I love this play.
- Cool.

I mean, it's a bit different
than I remember.

Yeah, my producer gave me some notes.

Um, turns out I don't need 15 characters.

And he's writing the check,
so you know how that goes.

- Yeah.
- So you fine with all the changes?

Uh, yeah.

Yeah. I mean, you know, Stacey,

writing is rewriting,
and I just decided with this draft,

to hone in on a more, uh,
universal tone, you know?

Harlem.

For all its color and splendor
and beauty,

still has a way to go, you know?

Like, what's a girl gotta do
to get some soy milk around here?

Baby, I hear you. I'm not suggesting
we change our whole flow,

just that we incorporate some of
the things these new Harlemites want.

"New Harlemites"?

Does that even sound right?

Baby, we can't be changing for them.

We gots to...

We gots to...

Um, Radha?

Yeah.

Look, I don't mean to...

No. Go ahead.
This is exactly why we're here.

This is the work. We are working it.

Okay. Why is she talking like this?

Um...

- Uh, that's a good question.
- Mm-hmm.

The wife, she is trying
to persuade her husband.

He wants to stock the shelves
with soy milk,

and she's concerned
about the gentrification.

No, no, I know what her concerns are.

I'm wondering about the language.

Ah! The vernacular, the verbiage.

Um, well, um,
why don't we ask our playwright?

Okay. Uh, well, the wife, um...
she's from the old school.

She's 35.

I know. I know that.

I know that.

Um, I guess what I mean is that she

is rooted in, like,
a deep... Southern mystical charm.

- You know?
- Not quite.

I get it.

I'm wondering why she's the only
character talking like that.

Jamie doesn't talk like that.
Marcus doesn't talk like that.

Okay, the fact that the wife speaks
one way and Jamie speaks another

is because, um...

- I'm white.
- No, no, no! No!

No, no, no.

Race in this moment
is completely irrelevant.

Okay, look, I know why
the wife speaks this way.

I just, uh, can't quite articulate that,
but I need for you to keep

talking that way
so I can learn what it is

and then give that to you
so that you can then give that to us.

Okay?

Okay.

Back to it, baby.

I... wow. I am so sorry.

I'm just gonna take this really quickly.

Hello?

And, uh, who the fuck is that?

RosettaMUSprime.

Funny.

I mean, you don't want these beats.

I never said that.

Look, I sent you, like, 300 texts,
my nigga, and I don't text.

Yeah, uh, I've just been busy
with rehearsals of my play.

Yo, when we finishing this shit?

You had a bad night.

No, I had a lapse in judgment.

What you talking about?

Oh, a lapse in judgment
is when someone is, you know...

No, I know.

What? You don't want
to fuck with this music shit no more?

Hello?

- D...
- What?

Don't be that way, okay?

Look, it's not a total loss.

I'm actually thinking of incorporating
some of the rhymes into my play.

What?

Look, I just, um...
I need to be realistic about things.

I'm three months shy of 40, okay?

So?

So I need to stay in my lane.

You know?

Hello?

I heard you.

Look, it's just that I...

Hello?

Really?

Hey, are we going to spit this fire
or what?

This... is not... soy milk, people.

No, what's in this carton is what each
of the characters need from each other.

It's... it's love.

It's fresh air.

It's fresh produce. It's...

rent-controlled apartments.
It's block parties.

It's...

it's old Black women...

sitting on a stoop,

humming...

as they open...

their arms...

...to welcome the fresh blood

into the veins of Harlem.

This is not soy milk.

This is life.

Fuck.

It's your brother, again.

For real, Radha?

You're not going to call me back?

That's fucked up, yo.

Got these good oils, people.
These good oils, you wanna get in on this.

Get on this, sweetheart.
Got these good oils. My brother.

Hey, sister, I got these oils.

You should buy them.

It only costs a dollar. You should try it.

- I'm okay.
- I'm your local Muslim from the hood.

Sister, let me make you smell good.

You look like you stressed...

but I'mma give it the best.
Understand that. Get these good oils.

Right here,
from your Muslim man right here.

"Well, I have ideas, too.

Why can't we just make
a community garden?"

"It's not that simple."

"It is.
You just have to change your perspective."

"T'aint nothing wrong
with my damn perspective."

"Excuse me? Don't take that tone with me."

"Ladies, ladies, stop.

Just... stop."

"This some bullshit."

This some bullshit
This some, this some bullshit

This some bullshit
This some, this some bullshit

So...

you gonna let me in or what?

Preposterous!

You killed all my gods,
destroyed my spermicide castle,

and now you expect me to let you in?

Have I not proven that I'd do anything
to get to you?

What I look like, some stupid ho
that I go for dumb shit like that?

That's not even the line, Rosa!

So?

So, you just can't be
changing shit up like that.

Aight, first of all,
she got to be more feminist, yo.

She can't just be letting
some dude...

Hey!

- You coming in?
- Nah, I'm good.

- You sure? You can, you know.
- I'm good.

You're not good, you're bad as hell
is what you are.

Shake up the re-up boys and...

Yo, nigga, what the fuck, man?
Hello?

Yo, my fault, son.
You wanna run that back?

Nigga, where you at?

You still tripping over that old broad?

Nigga, fuck you. She's not old.

Shit, nigga, she ain't young.

Nigga going, "She ain't old."

You know, at least she gave me
some storytelling.

Like, what the fuck are you
even saying in there?

You even know?

Yo, half of y'all niggas,

y'all just be coming in here stringing
words together like you doing something.

Nigga, I make the beats,
but God damn, son!

Sometimes you need some storytelling.

Like, what are you even talkin' about?

Man... my shit.

I'm ready, fuck it. Play the beat.

Harlem...

the place I've called home my whole life.

Harlem...

she wrapped me in her arms and mothered me
when my own mother passed on.

Harlem...

where I became a wife,

a business owner,

where I'd imagine
owning my own home one day,

but where a woman
can't even afford the damn rent.

Harlem...

a place where I imagine...

...preparing meals in my own kitchen

and hope to hear my children
call out to me...

- Yo, Radha!
- What the fuck?

I'm so sorry.

Let me... excuse me. Sorry.

I'll be right back. I'm so sorry.

I will fuck you up in this hallway,
you hear me?

- Oh, shit! D!
- I will fuck you up.

You're not doing
anything like that.

Hey, hey, hey! What's going on here?

Radha, can you tell this bitch
you know me?

Sir, he's with me, please.

Fucking Robopop. Shit.

Radha.

Archie, this is D. D, this is Archie.

Can you give us a second, please?

Please?

Are you okay?

Yeah, when we finishing these tracks?

You can't be serious.
I'm in the middle of a rehearsal.

All right. I'll wait.

Okay.

I don't understand.
I gave you guys a list of names.

We tried, but all the working
Black directors are working.

- This fucking sucks.
- It's gonna be fine.

Julie will give you what you need.
She directed Raisin in the Sun, you know.

Radha, we need to move forward, okay?
Good night.

Look, I know it's not ideal, but in three
months when you're on Broadway,

you won't even remember this shit.

Oh, hello.

All right, listen. You just work
on those rewrites that we talked about,

and then I'll talk to Whitman,
and we'll smooth it...

Radha?

Radha!

"Julie will give you what you need."

"Julie will give you what you need."

"Don't worry, Radha.
Julie will give you what you need."

What the fuck does Julie know
about living in Harlem?

Wait, where are we even going?

Guess I'm being kidnapped.

Is that you?

What you think?

It's good.

Oh.

We're in the Bronx.

Exactly where I thought
I'd end my night and my life.

Thanks. Perfect.

What is going on?

No. No, no, no.

I'm not going to a damn party.

Look, it's not a party.

Just come on.

No, I have rewrites.

Rewrites of what? That bullshit play?

Fuck you.

Aight, look.

Before, I overheard it from the hallway...

and the shit is corny.

Like you know anything about theater.

There you go,

making your fucked up assumptions.
Like, who ain't seen Hamilton?

- No, I'm not going to...
- Yo.

- Come on. Come on.
- Great. Well, welcome to the Bronx.

Yeah, Babs Bunny the Girl.
First lady of the streets.

QOTR. Y'all already know what it is.

Y'all ready for that real shit?

Yeah!

Y'all ready for that raw shit?

Yeah!

Well, I need y'all to give it up
for the ladies!

Yeah!

Wow.

Yeah, yeah, well we going
to get right into it.

Representing Murderville, Mount Vernon,

give it up for Shooney Da Rapper!

Representing Brooklyn,

give it up for Ms.Fit!

Representing Queens,
give it up for Miss Undastood!

Representing the BX, the Bronx,

give it up for Norma Bayts!

Ladies, y'all already know what it is.

Ms.Fit, it's on you.

Yeah, sis!

What the fuck is up?

Acting all fucking tough

Came here with your girls
Fucking sluts

Probably suck a dick for
Some pork rinds and a couple bucks

Enough's enough

I'll make you kiss the Glock
Get your lips locked

Now, pucker up

I'll fuck her up
My life was a hassle

I fight when I have to
So keep it fruitful or this banana clip

Aim right for your apple

Ratchets blam Slap a fan

I'm good with the g's, bitch

Dapper Dan, I'll back the can
Clap your man's

Your crew get out of line
What it is, slime

Bow! I don't think your pack'll stand

I handle business how I see fit

Celebrity status, I've got the once

Now, this the last time
Y'all gonna see Fit

Who we talking 'bout?
You going to play who?

Bitch, the autographic
For trying to game

I pull out the sweeper
And it's cleaning the room

Then it's metal to her face
MF Doom

I've been Queen of the Ring
So my body of work is solidified

It's a big difference

You wasn't with us shooting in the gym

So to get fit is cheap
Planet Fitness

Oh!

Give it up

For Norma Bayts

The one who's battle rap career
Is all over the place

Your butt might be real
But your soul is fake

You are a salami and bacon with it

So I can't eat nothing off of
Norma's plate

Is this y'all queen?

Hell no!

Y'all should watch how to throw
An enormous shake

Come in here looking like
A five-dollar movie Tuesday's

That's a cheap date

I'm trying to make it off my skills
And my passion

You trying to make it
Solely by thirst-trapping

Battle rap porn? Ma

You're going to need a hijab

Judging by your face
You gonna need a kneecap

And I'mma call an imam
To come and get this she-man

'Cause she GMO like watermelons
Without the seeds, man

Okay? Okay?

Oh fucking kay!

I don't care if you Muslim

That dirty scarf mean your hair not done

Alhamdulillah

I plan to blow shit in this building
When I'm done

I wax bitches

She need a hearing aid
Read these lips, bitch, you're done

I'll carve the beats in her forehead

She'll get the reminder where I'm from

You seem smarter than you look

Nah, she that dumb
You couldn't fuck with me in a threesome

Body bag would be this outcome

Bruce Leroy, you get Sho'nuff

How we kick it
Head crack if I call a bluff

But a crackhead and her brains
Spilling out is not enough

Y'all gonna have to dig up out the dirt
To see the diamond in the rough

Babs hit my line

With the negotiations
Like this a paid hit job

Cool because I pull it off
The hip quick with no prob

And it'll be a permanent head wrap
For a hijab

Oh, my God. My God, my God, my God.

That was amazing.

Glad I dragged you, huh?

Yes! Yes, I mean, I...

I heard about them,

and I might have seen a Queen of the Ring
clip online or some shit,

but to be in there...

Thank you. Thanks.

Ah, no worries.

I got you. Anything you need.

What?

Nothing.

What?

Nothing.

Oh, yes.

Oh, brother. Oh, brother.

Oh, yeah.

Oh, oh.

Oh, shit. Mmm.

That's...
Yeah, that's a young tongue there.

Oh, God.
Are you... beat boxing down there?

Oh, my God! Oh shit!

D... E, F, G, H, I, J, K.

Oh, shit. Oh, shit. Oh, shit.

Oh, shit.

What you doing?

Me?
I'm... I'm writing on my bullshit play.

Yo, let me ask you a question.

You just asked me one.

I gotta ask you another one.

What?

Yo, you Muslim or something?

What?

Why you always got that thing
on your head?

I just... I wear my...

What does D stand for?

- You got it.
- Okay. All right.

Oh, now, that's dope.

- Oh, the leg tat?
- Yeah.

Thanks.

My mother drew that.

It's part of a series of greeting cards
she did in the '70s

that never quite took off, but, yeah.

That must have been dope, though.

What?

Having an artist for your moms.

That's crazy.

She was great, but...

there were other parts, you know.

Government cheese, and, uh... squatting.

- Artist life.
- Nah, word?

Yeah, God, my mother struggled.
My dad did, too. Both of them.

As artists, you know?

My father was a jazz drummer.

But to support the family,
he would do plumbing work.

And he did it so much that it would leave
like permanent oil stains on his hand.

- That's crazy.
- Yeah, and my mother...

when she wasn't painting,
she was teaching.

I said I would never.

Said you would never what?
Like, teach kids?

Struggle.

But here I am.

Yeah, my mom didn't think me making music
made sense, either.

No?

Nah, but I'm like...

"You're the one that put
Coltrane and Quincy, like, in me."

Know what I'm saying?
"What did you expect?"

Right.

We good now, though.

Yeah?

I know she up there jamming
to my shit right now,

you know what I mean?

Yours too, though.

What? Jamming?

Nah, your moms.

She proud of you.

You ain't never try to... talk to her?

No.

Why not? Like...

I don't know.
I don't know what I would say.

What?

What, what?

Mama, Mama may I

Mama, Mama may I

Mama, Mama may I

Mama, Mama may I

Mama may I tell you
How much I love you

And I would give all of these
Beats equipment up

Just for one more chance to hug you

Mmm!

Mama, may I

Mama, may I tell you
how much I miss you

They preach all this masculinity shit
But if you was here I'd kiss you

Wow.

Tell you, despite it all
I still love you

Showed me gratitude by the handful

I know you not here
I can still say that I'm thankful

Mama, may I

Mama, Mama, may I

Mama, may I

Mama, Mama, Mama, Mama, may I

Mama, may I say
I wonder sometimes like

Are you the person
feeding these rhymes

And if I'm not creating art
Am I committing a crime

Mama, may I

'Cause sometimes
I just be missing you like

Wishing you were here
Instead of out there somewhere

Mama, may I

Mama, Mama, Mama, Mama, may I

May I, may I

Mama, may I

Mama, Mama, may I

Mama...

Are you good?

Mm.

- Yeah, I'm good.
- Are you sure?

- You sure?
- Yeah. I'm good.

I'm good.

I'm good.

Yo, come through later.

Oh, I have rehearsals later, so...

So, come through after that.

I have previews
in a couple of weeks, so...

um...

Yeah. No, that's cool.
Fuck it. Do what you want.

What's the problem?

Let me ask you a question.

You were just talking shit before, right?

I'm sorry?

Nah, like, for the mixtape.

You never wanted to do this shit.

Nah, it's just another trip
to the Black terrain for you.

I don't know what you're talking about.

That's crazy.
I came to Harlem for this shit?

D! D, wait!

My baby's finally got her back blown out.

Come here. Come here.
Let me talk to you.

I am me.

I am she.

I am Black divorcee.

Cut. I don't believe you.

Where's the rotting carcass
of your broken heart?

I need to smell it.

I need to smell it.

Yeah.

There should be a fire
in the crack of your ass.

Be the phoenix.

I am bursting out from behind the head!

Yes, damn it! Yes, damn it!

- You had your chance, Darlene!
- Yeah, you had it!

- You had it, Darlene. Yes!
- Now stay the fuck away!

Give it to me. Give it to me.

- Just let me say what I got to say.
- Yes.

- Okay?
- Uh-huh!

- I am me.
- Me.

- I am free.
- Free.

- I am Black di-vor-cee!
- Black di-vor-cee!

Yes! Yes!

Yes!

{\an8}I'm Frank DiLella. Remember this face?

{\an8}She was one of Spotlight Magazine's
30 Under 30 playwrights to watch.

We watched, but where'd she go?

Well, after years of obscurity,
she's returned

to the theater in J. Whitman's
searing new production of Harlem Avenue,

directed by Julie Lipshitz.

It's Harlem Ave, but okay.

Harlem Ave premieres
in just a couple days.

Welcome, New York playwright,
Radha Blank.

Frank, it's so awesome to be
sitting with you. Thanks for having me.

Radha, where have you been?

I've been, uh, writing plays

and teaching theater to teens in Harlem.

Hey, guys.

- What's up?
- Hi!

Mmm, my boo look nice.

Yo, she's official, son.

That's my teacher, yo.

Speaking of Harlem,
what is Harlem Ave about?

Harlem Ave is about...

a young Black couple,
and their young white neighbor,

and how the three of them see
gentrification from different angles.

What inspired you to write this?

I just wanted to talk about
what's going on in Harlem.

Is it true you and J. Whitman

are collaborating on his new
Ida B. Wells musical?

Who told you that?

With opening night just days away,

and a return to the theater
in almost a decade...

Yes.

...what scares you the most
about this moment?

- Yes!
- No.

You are giving me Miss Sofia
in the motherland realness.

No, I look like an angry mushroom.

No. No.

Look, don't worry about it.
We'll find something.

My God.

Opening night is like, a few nights away,

and I feel like shit, Archie.

It's nerves. I've seen it a million times.

No, it's not nerves.

You still drinking that diet drink?

It's the play.

It's not mine anymore.

The next one will be.

What kind of fucking response is that?

Oh, no, hon. Do not come for me.

Why not?

Why not, Archie? You played your part.

- What?
- Yeah.

Look, you got yourself here, okay?
No one forced you to do anything.

You always do what you want.
You fucked that 25-year-old.

- 26!
- Yeah, you did that rapping shit.

That rapping shit made me feel
good about myself.

Yeah, well,
we all need something.

You acted like Whitman was our only shot.

Like I wasn't going to have
another chance.

Don't you dare accuse me
of not believing in you, okay?

Do you have any idea what I...

What?

Jiggled his balls a little, yes.

Anything for a friend.

Oh!

Well, let's give it up
for patron saint Archie.

Jiggling old wrinkly balls
on behalf of the poor.

Please, Archie,
you ain't do that shit for me.

- What?
- You did it for yourself.

Now, tell me why the fuck
am I still your client?

Oh, you want to go there.

We don't have to.

We all know you keep me around
because it makes you feel better.

About?

About paying $5,000 a month for rent.

About taking vacations to Greece
in your thongs and shit.

- Acting like you're not really even...
- What?

Korean?

I didn't say that.

Was my dad thrilled
that my prom date was Black?

No, but thank God you were a girl.

You played along
and saved my sissy ass from getting beat,

and I will always love you for that,

but we are grown,

and I am out and proud,

and very Korean.

And I don't owe you anything
except friendship and honesty.

Yes, you are fucking talented.

Yes, your mom is dead,
but you are not above being a sellout.

I'm not a sellout, Archie.

Take it back.

I said take it back.

You know what?

Fuck you.

Fuck these ugly-ass dresses.

And fuck opening night.
I'm not even going.

That dress did not deserve that!

Fuck! Fuck!

One bad apple just spoiled the bunch

Looking at your face
I just spoiled my lunch

You can't mess me or even test me

Because if you do, your face I'll punch

Mmm, not quite.

About fucking time.

I'm here.

When did she do this one?

I don't know.

I think right after you were born.

Hmm.

Her Ethiopian Coptic art phase
of the '70s.

So, what do we do with it now?

I got most of her work at my place,

and I don't have any more room.

Uh, neither do I.
I live in a box, remember?

Fine.

I guess we'll put it in storage.

Wow.

You come here with a dream
and your work ends up in storage.

Is that what you think of Ma?

No, I'm just saying.

Ma did what she wanted to.

She was a teacher. She was a curator.

She chanted. She traveled.

She did some art. She did some theater.

She lived a life.

She was a lot more
than just these paintings.

No, but she came to New York
to become a famous artist.

And what does she have
to even show for it?

Us, you dummy.

She said that we were
her greatest creation.

Mmm.

I really miss her.

Me too, sis.

- 'Sup, Miss B?
- Hey.

Elaine.

You got a second?

How's it going?

I think you should come back to class.

I'm good.

I know.

That's why I think you should
come back to class.

You're a natural, Elaine.

Look, I know we have some beef,

but I am completely over it,

especially since I know it had
nothing to do with me.

What you mean?

I'm talking about expecting
to like one kind of person

and then this other
kind of person comes along and...

they affect you.

Rosa.

What about her?

I think you should stay for class.

Well, look here!

- Oh, boy.
- Oh, shit. You back?

Elaine?

Well, I guess if the dean said
you have to come back to class,

you can understudy Rosa.

Wow. Black Jesus is really shining on you.

- Understudy?
- Mm-hmm.

Nah. Mm-mm.

Oh, shit. Wild Woman Fights, Part Deux.

Look, Rosa, I don't even...

Nah, fuck that, Miss B.
She ain't understudying me.

Calm down, Rosa, okay?

- She can have the damn part.
- What?

I'm sick of playing this broad, yo!

I mean, no offense,
but these breeding chicks?

And then to have this Dumbo
all up on me and shit?

I mean, I got range and shit,
but I ain't that good.

Please, Elaine, take this shit.

You heard her.

So, does that mean I can simulate
running up in Elaine now?

Word, yo.

- Move!
- Damn.

Wow.

About fucking time!

Hail, hail our new Queen of Vaginal Eggs.

Hail, hail.

Hey, let's not fight.
It gives us wrinkles.

Look, I know you wanted to skip out,
but it's still your big night.

Hope to see you.

Bye.

Yo.

Hey, D, it's me, Radha.

Um...

I was just calling.

Um...

Yeah, I don't know
why I always wear this thing on my head.

Maybe for a... sense of comfort?

Anyway, I was just calling.

Okay.

See you later... or not.

Mmm!

Wait.

Why you all dressed up?

You going to a funeral?

What's up with this sandwich?

You poisoning me?

Shit! I'm dead.

I better finish it, though, huh?

Oswaldo Rivera.

Sorry, you're not on the list.

No, no, we on that list.

We know her. That's our teacher.

You just think we came from
Harlem and got all dressed up and shit

just to harass your pasty white ass,
that's what you saying?

What's the problem, lady?
You need to see my tits or something?

Okay, true.

It's my opening night, right?

But Archie was right.

I sold out.

And now what?

I have to go down
and sit through that shit?

So, this is the part
where I tell you I was an artist

who'd fallen from grace, right?

Then I impart some wisdom to you
that changes your outlook

because you gave me a fucking sandwich?

Like I'm some fucking magical Negro

just sitting here with shit in my pants

so I can help you make up your mind?

Nope, I ain't that nigger.

And maybe next time, if it don't kill you,

could you put some mayonnaise
on both sides of this dry-ass bread?

Trying to cut my throat the slow way.

You're welcome.

- Exciting, huh?
- Yes.

And I've got insurance tonight,

so no bathroom breaks for me.

You missed the whole second act
of that last play we went to,

- and the mockingbird didn't die.
- Oh, good.

Radha?

Radha?

- Hey. Hey.
- Hey.

It's a really friendly house
out there, you guys.

- Oh, good.
- Yeah, break a leg.

Thank you!

Enjoy yourselves tonight. Thank you.

- Archie!
- Hey, I love the look.

Well, thank you. You, too.

- It's five minutes to curtain.
- She's on her way.

I hope so.

Actually, I want her to meet the investors
for the Shirley Chisholm musical.

Maybe you could come on
as a producer.

If by "producer,"
you mean "jiggle your balls again,"

I think I'll pass.

Patty, Billy, how are you?

Isn't this a wonderful evening?

Is that supposed to be me?

- Oh, my bad.
- It's okay.

Oh, you're all so wonderful.

Baby, I'm not saying I want
to go back down south.

So... what are you saying, baby?

I'm saying it's just getting
too expensive to stay here.

We gots to figure it outs.

What's a girl gotta do to get some
soy milk around here?

What are you saying, sir?

Yeah, what are you saying?

I'm offering you
half a million dollars for your shop.

Mister, you can't do that.

Yo, this shop means everything to us.

Yeah, everything.

This shop means everything to me.

Well, it's not up to you... is it?

So... what'll it be?

Baby.

Honey.

So much for insurance.

I'll be fast, promise.

You must. I can't miss a thing.

The first act was quite powerful,
wasn't it?

Yes. And I love that Jamie girl.

- She's a star.
- She's fabulous.

Raging on.

- City keeps raging on.
- Catchy, isn't it?

I love that tune.

Marcus would still be here
if it wasn't for you!

What did I do?

You came here... to Harlem.
That's what you did.

Mm-hmm.

I do not accept your energy.

I'm not your enemy, I'm your neighbor.

Your friend, your...

Sister?

That was just fabulous.

Thank you. Thank you.

Isn't this a glorious night?
Thank you so much.

Oh, my goodness. What a surprise.
Thank you so much.

- This is just so wonderful...
- Thank you, everybody.

- Our director, Julie Lipshitz. Thank you.
- Thank you.

If I may, I just am so excited
to share this moment with all of you.

I just want to thank our incredible cast.
They worked so hard.

But nobody worked harder
than our playwright.

- Yes.
- And I would love to call her up.

- Radha, are you here?
- Is she here? Did she come?

- Radha?
- Radha?

- Where are you?
- Are you there?

Oh, ladies and gentlemen, Radha Blank.

Here she comes.

What a night.

Radha, this is so exciting for you.
Congratulations.

Thank you.

Say something! Radha Blank!

Yeah, Miss B!

Um...

I want to thank this amazing cast.

Um, my amazing director Julie Lipshitz.

Thank you for bringing Harlem alive.

And, um, of course, J. Whitman.

- Thank you.
- Where would I be without you?

Um...

Wow.

So, um...

Every playwright dreams of this...

moment.

Every playwright hopes...

every playwright hopes...

they don't write a piece of shit
like this play.

My, um... mother raised me to be fearless,

and, um...

I guess when she died, I...

that's when I started getting afraid.

Oof.

Hmm.

I got really afraid

Scared of the choices
And the bullshit I made

Thinking I wouldn't get paid

But I'm Carol's daughter
So that shit don't stain

I gotta tell you, a nigga was choking

Tired of selling my soul
For these tokens, these coins

But guess what?
I made a different choice

Because it's time to FYOV
Find your own voice

FYOV

FYOV

Forty-year-old version, indubitably

FYOV

FYOV

Not telling truth
Just don't make sense to me

Holding back from who you should be

FYOV

Fund your own vision

Fill your own void

Find your own voice

Fuck you old vultures

Forty-year-old version

That's who I be

I'm out

Yeah!

Woo!

Miss B, that's right!

- Radha.
- No!

- Radha...
- No!

- Radha!
- No!

If you're gonna tell me that
I fucked up again,

- I don't want to hear it.
- Radha, I get it.

You did good.

I'm proud of you.

- I quit.
- You're fired.

I love you, Archie.

I love you, too.

- Okay, I gotta go.
- What?

I gotta handle some business.

You know... business.

Oh!

Okay.

Mmm.

- Mm-hmm.
- Mm-hmm!

Get it. Get it.

This is a Brooklyn bound C local train.

That girl that was rhyming?

Oh, yeah, that's Kaya from Queens.

- She's fucking dope.
- Yeah.

And age appropriate.

And also my little cousin.

For real?

Yeah.

Okay.

You look nice.

Thank you. It was opening night.

Of your play?

Yep.

So, what you doing here?

I don't know.

I got this new joint, though!
It's crazy!

Let me guess.

You looped baby goats crying.

Nah, but that's good.

- Mennonite chants.
- Oh.

- What?
- Yeah, shit's crazy.

- On a serious note, though...
- What?

You been...
like, you been writing since...

No.

So, we go off top of the dome, then.

- Okay.
- I got a beat on me right now.

- What we doing?
- What? What you got?

Yeah

Uh

Word

Yo

I think I just saw a rat

This gonna make
a fat girl start running

Under the sun and

Out, in and out

Ain't no doubt

I used to have clout like Cardi B

There's a part of me

That's real hard on me

Hey, not a bad ending.

Could have been
a little bit more sex in there,

but, hey, life is interesting.

I know because I done it.

Been here around this United States,

had many lovers, interesting jobs,

like coat check girl at the Savoy.

Hell, I even ran some numbers.

So, you see,

I know how to make it out here.

For one, I went to Paris.

Would you shut up already?

Now, if you ain't gonna come over here
and give me some food

or some ass, shut the fuck up!