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  • Writer's pictureAshley Gray

10 Things I think... Clark Sisters Biopic Edition

1. The fashions captured in the movie definitely took me back to a nostalgic time when women used to have to wear those cloaks of righteousness in the church. The little girl in me wanted to curl up inside of their arms and drift into a calm 80s baby sleep.

2. Co-dependency. It seemed clear that she (Dr. Mattie Moss Clark) didn't want Twinkie to get married because that meant control shifts from her to Twinkie's husband.

3. Freedom. Is it ever really free? The narrative on many of them getting married was to try to reclaim some sense of freedom only to go from control to control.

4. I really question what it means to be a wife. I see so many people make dangerous sacrifices in the name of marriage and I think to myself perhaps I dodged a bullet. And it's not just a one-off. I was talking to a friend yesterday about how I've never really seen equity in a marriage. It's always one person carrying more than the other. Then I think maybe that's what their version of equity looks like- maybe.

5. Perhaps raising girl children under such heavy hands, creates women who have to wait until they are bruised to learn who they are. And perhaps some never do.

6. Misogyny. Say it with me mis-ahj-o-nee. One reason I struggle with attending church (regularly) is because of the heavy and silent role of women in church. In my preteen years, I went to a church that had women in prominent roles. Women preached, they led and this shaped my own church formation. The church was transformative for me. When we changed churches, the role of women changed, too. I saw that women could wipe noses, fix plates, sing songs, direct songs and have their "women's ministry". While some things have shifted since then, the overwhelming feeling I get is that men really like to determine women's calling(s). Makes me wonder how many other women felt the "tug" of ministry that didn't see the structure or support to respond to it.

7. Guilt about not fulfilling your parents' dream that kinda morphed into yours. Carol never forced us into career choices, but I've seen this with a lot of folks. These predetermined paths that lead to passionless work. Empty folk showing up in jobs where you need them to have the heart to match the work.

8. Abuse seemed to be almost normalized. From the father to some of the husbands selected. You push Carol Ann and we will all need to get carried out of the house.

9. Not knowing the difference between pleasing God and your parents... this hits hard. We've all probably made some decisions that our parents didn't approve of that left us questioning if God felt the same way. Sometimes our parents' rules and God's "rules" have an invisible dotted line. It's like the rules of humans seem to blur with the rules of God. When folks are confused, it leaves them to believe that God's love is based on approval of actions and behaviors. Leaves folks asking God if he/she/they still love them. Perhaps this very narrative is why so many young folk struggle to see church as a valued space.

10. Sisterhood ain't something that just happens. It requires work. I even wonder if Denise gave consent for this movie or reviewed her portrayal. Just holding space with other women doesn't mean you are engaging in sisterhood. That requires hard work, introspection, support, love and accountability. And while it seems there is an under narrative around colorism, the biopic didn't explore it deeply. It's a reminder that sisterhood is always a work in progress. AND They were awful to Neicy. Sisterhood is ministry and must be taken seriously. May mothers love daughters how they wished they were loved and may daughters fulfill gaps in and forgive mothers.

11. Bonus: Ultimately, this is one of the best lifetime treatments of a biopic. We've seen plenty that they've gotten wrong. The wardrobe, wigs and character selection were great. The voices- My God. This was definitely worth every bit of the 2 hours I gave it.

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