Although Martha's Vineyard is predominantly known as the playground for wealthy white people, it's also home to an exclusive community of some of the country's Black one percent. Inspired by the controversial Lawrence Otis Graham book of the same name, the first episode of new FOX series Our Kind of People (which Canadians can watch on CTV or the CTV App) peels back the layers of that close-knit circle of bougie Black folks living in the area, revealing a dramatic tension between old money and new dreams that threaten to unravel the entire fabric of the legendary community. It's juicy, it's dramatic, and it's very, very Black.
Our Kind of People, created by Karin Gist (Revenge) and executive produced by FOX favorite Lee Daniels (Empire, Star), zeroes in on the Black people living and working in the town of Oak Bluffs. For historical context, the area has been a haven for the Black upper class for decades, producing generation after generation of families and individuals who pride themselves on creating their own legacies and amassing their own wealth. The new series, which aired on Tuesday, September 21, builds upon that foundation by introducing audiences to a community that's essentially run by the powerhouse corporation and family that is the Franklins. Led by proud patriarch Teddy (Scandal's Joe Morton), the Franklins and their equally rich in-laws the Duponts believe themselves to be their ancestors' wildest dreams: well-off, entrepreneurial, and self-made.
It's no surprise then that the arrival of plucky upstart Angela Vaughn (Yaya DaCosta) and her family throw Oak Bluffs into a state of chaos. The welcome wagon for new resident Angela isn't exactly welcoming — she's from the wrong side of the tracks and doesn't know the right people — so fitting in proves difficult for our protagonist from the start, and it'll only get harder as she presses forward. As Angela inches closer to realizing her dreams of establishing herself, she'll inevitably have to overcome a number of obstacles: her traumatic childhood, single motherhood, a complicated love life, Oak Bluffs' inherent snobbery, and buried family secrets coming to light.
Because of Hollywood's obsession with the hustle, the grind, and the come-up, mainstream stories about the Black one percent don't pop up frequently; there's also the very real fact that in the United States, the majority of Black people aren't actually part of the one percent due to centuries of systemic inequality. Our Kind of People attempts to fill that narrative gap by highlighting a community that lives that life on a day to day basis, examining what it cost to get there, as well as what it takes to stay there. The series taps into a market of audiences hungry for depictions of Black excellence on screen, exploring the nuances of Black power and privilege. And it does so with a lineup of talented actors; stars like Morris Chestnut, Lance Gross, Debbi Morgan, Rhyon Nicole Brown, and Raven Goodwin round out the cast.
With a whole season ahead of us, Our Kind of People is already teeming with the potential to be a show that we tune into every week and spark passionate discourse about intraracial class politics. Throughout the first episode, we learned a lot about the many personalities of Oak Bluffs. Almost too much, in fact; the pilot literally catapulted viewers into the story without also giving us enough time to digest everything that we've learned so far. Fortunately, that quick pace could also prove to be a good thing, hinting at a plot that will keep us on our toes week after week. And we're only one episode in — there's more drama on the way that we can't even imagine.
Our Kind of People airs every Tuesday, on CTV.