Sexism figures in the story along with racism. Letitia is an oddity as an ambitious, independent woman. Even the villainous Christina is frustrated at being disenfranchised. The Sons of Adam are well-named. No daughters allowed.
From then on, to appreciate the series you have to accept, or maybe forgive, the way it lurches from one genre to another. One episode evokes an Indiana Jones adventure, as characters race against time through tunnels about to flood with water. Another is pure Twilight Zone, when a black character wakes in the body of a white person.
Each episode includes a brief, anachronistic voiceover taken from a major black cultural figure, including James Baldwin and Ntozake Shange. The quotations are not identified, they simply register as out of time and place, yet relevant. The music works similarly, ranging from Ruby’s 1950s songs to rap and Rihanna on the soundtrack. It isn’t a stretch to see Lovecraft Country and Beyoncé’s new visual album, Black is King, as similar in their aims, different though they are in style. Both are celebrations of black culture, at a time when Black Lives Matter and social reckoning make their themes particularly resonant.
Lovecraft Country premieres on 16 August on HBO in the US and on 17 August on Sky Atlantic/ Now TV in the UK.
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