Hood Adjacent with James Davis

TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
Hood Adjacent with James Davis TV Poster Image
Insightful talk show tackles tricky topics, has language.

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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive messages

Tricky topics are tackled on this show: racism, violence, religion, politics. Occasionally offensive things may be said. Guests and the host also say insightful things: "Really progressive views on women and relationships," sniffs a guest to another who'd just bragged about having a "gang of chicks" waiting for him back home. 

Positive role models & representations

James Davis is a respectful host, asking questions like "How does someone like me be aware of the stuff you're aware of?" He sometimes gently mocks guests, but doesn't offend their dignity. 

Violence

No violent acts but plenty of jokes about violence: A woman says she'd "whoop" the "ass" of someone who touched her boyfriend; Davis jokes about getting developers to sign a nondisclosure agreement that says if they disclose a project idea, James and a friend can beat them up. 

Sex

Occasional jokes about sex: A man laughs about "banging it out" with a woman; a man jokes that a kitchen "smells like stripper ass when she clocks out." 

Language

Cursing and language: "hell," "f--k" (bleeped), "f---ing," "s--t," "ass," frequent use of the "N" word; "bitch" ("bust a bitch" means make a U-turn, and a man refers to "getting bitches").

Consumerism

Davis sometimes gives away promotional items, like a gift card to Build-A-Bear. 

Drinking, drugs & smoking

Occasional jokes about drugs: There's a "weed nug" icon on an app meant to get you safely through "the hood," which indicates someone selling pot there. (Davis does not suggest stopping to buy the pot, though.)

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Hood Adjacent with James Davis is a comedy talk/sketch show that primarily focuses on racial politics and African-American pop culture. Expect plenty of mature themes: an app that guides outsiders through gangs and drug dealers in "the hood," a game show stunt that encourages participants to "ruin their life" by saying the "N" word on camera. There are jokes about drugs, and about sex; there's also historical perspective and insightful thought on topics like slavery, police violence, and street gangs. Language includes "hell," "s--t," "ass" "f--k" (bleeped), "bitch" (both as an expression and to refer to women), and many uses of the "N" word to refer to African-American people -- that word is frequently examined in segments that talk about why and how it has been used. 

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What's the story?

James Davis grew up in South Central Los Angeles -- just not the dangerous part, he says. He went to private schools, and later to college, where he was frequently the only black kid in his group of friends. In his comedy/talk show HOOD ADJACENT WITH JAMES DAVIS, he uses his unique perspective to explore the realities of black life in America. Is it worth it to go to college? Would an app that safely guides visitors through "the hood" be a good thing? What do chitterlings really taste like? With stunts and monologues and sketches and interviews, Davis keeps it light, but makes strong points about culture, privilege, and the need for people to understand and accept each other -- no matter where they live. 

Is it any good?

Charming, insightful, and deeper than it appears at first, Davis' smart, witty talk show is the dive into the black experience that America needs right now. An "issues" show could have been a rant, but this isn't. Davis is hilarious, and his segments inspired: "Between Two DeRays," which features two very different men named DeRay debating issues; a customized escape room that simulates what it's like to be a black man; tricking out a young man's car so he won't be stopped by police for Driving While Black (a ski rack and dashboard cams figure into the retrofit). 

If any of that sounds disrespectful, it's not: Hood Adjacent walks the fine line between funny and offensive by treating its subjects with dignity and affection. A woman who's trying to stop dating gang members emerges as a real individual instead of a stereotype; a skinny young white guy who volunteers to take a tour through gang-controlled neighborhoods is praised for his sharpness: "You're learning! I like that!" says Davis sincerely. No sacred cow is left untipped, but this show will make you laugh and think, in a manner reminiscent of other great stereotype-skewering shows like Key & Peele and Chappelle's Show

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why Hood Adjacent with James Davis makes a point of mentioning host Davis is from a neighborhood that's next to "the hood" (South Central Los Angeles). What would a person from this type of neighborhood know or see that others wouldn't? 

  • On Hood Adjacent, host Davis wonders why we believe what we believe and act the way we do. Are there any parts of the show that make you uncomfortable, or make you question a belief you hold? Does that make you like Hood Adjacent or its host more, or less?

  • How does Hood Adjacent promote curiosity and empathy? Why are these important character strengths?

  • What points does Hood Adjacent with James Davis make about African-American stereotypes? How does this show's humor differ from other sketch comedy shows?

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