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Dubbing the sudden absence of predatory men as the categorical dimming of some bright, new era rings of a false equivalency for many marginalized viewers. 

If you have remained plugged into our daily Hollywood news cycle, it might seem as if each day brings a newly exposed sexual predator. While that may sound like hyperbole, the sentiment is actually not that inaccurate: since news of Harvey Weinstein's history of assault broke via major press in early October, dozens of celebrity abusers have been publicly identified by their victims. As an audience, our responses to the steady stream of stories have run the gamut – especially for those of us who have our own experiences with sexual abuse. Though some remain focused on the specific trauma (and to be clear, the well-being of the victims ought to be our collective priority), others have their sights set on the potential aftermath. What does all of this mean for Hollywood and the state of entertainment, in general? As we witness the rightful takedown of critically acclaimed men like Kevin Spacey and Louis C.K., many have wondered how this continued exposure of Hollywood's predatory culture will affect the entertainment landscape, especially within television. Recently, TV critic Ben Travers of IndieWire noted Hollywood's current purge as a mark of permanent change to, in his words, “the new golden age of television.” To his credit, Travers is careful not to cite the onslaught of shamed men as the end of premium entertainment, but rather a potential opportunity for a more inclusive industry. That specific hope echoes those of many BIPOC creators who have been working diligently against the very climate that has systemically boxed them out of opportunities.  

Claws shows us how Black women deserve to explore the scope of their sexuality without scrutiny or consequence.

It's New Year's Eve in Palmetto, Florida. Desna Simms, played masterfully by Niecy Nash, haphazardly pulls into the vacant parking lot in front of the strip of neighborhood businesses, one of which is her soon-to-be-bustling nail salon, Nail Artisans of Manatee County. There, she meets her fellow nail technicians and friends, Jen (Jenn Lyon) and Quiet Ann (Judy Reyes). Before she can fully exit her ivory Lexus, the first emotion you immediately register from her is unmitigated excitement. Desna takes a moment to show off the lacy black catsuit that she plans to don for that night's festivities – the one that's going to lovingly embrace every single curve of her body. And as she playfully struts up and down her bit of asphalt while the rising South Floridian sun kisses her brown skin, I'm in awe of the way that Clawswithin the first minute of its inaugural episode, Tirana – commits to giving Black women the freedom to unabashedly revel in their sexuality.

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