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Dede Lovelace, Nina Moran and Moonbear in 'Betty.'
Dede Lovelace, Nina Moran and Moonbear in 'Betty.'
Photo: Showmax


4/5 Stars


A diverse group of young women navigate their lives through the male-dominated world of skateboarding in New York City.


Betty is the type of show I wish was around when I was a teenager – womxn taking up space in the predominantly male world of skateboarding.

The show has a cool backstory; it's based on the 2018 movie, Skate Kitchen, which was directed by Crystal Moselle, who also created Betty.

It is inspired by a real group of female skaters based in New York and features the members playing fictionalised versions of themselves.

Crystal decided to make the movie after she met two of the members on a subway train; all members of the cast were non-professional actors. I believe this gave the movie and the spin-off series, a raw and authentic look into the world of skateboarding. The leading and supporting cast of the film all return for the series.

The story centres on five friends: Janay (Dede Lovelace) is fierce and protective of those she loves; her friend Kirt (Nina Moran) is the chillest person until she is faced with patriarchy, then she goes from 0 to 100; Honeybear (Moonbear) who is an introverted filmmaker hiding who she really is from her family; Indigo (Ajani Russell) a newbie skater and a weed-selling rich girl; and Camille (Rachelle Vinberg) a skater who has mad skills, who desperately wants to be accepted by the boys.

While the film focused mostly on Camille, the series branched out into the lives of the other four girls. Each of them deal with their own issues.

Kirt has to learn to control her temper and after a drug-fuelled session, she has an epiphany: "I want to stop fighting the patriarchy and just start helping the matriarchy."

Meanwhile, Honeybear learns to let her walls down with her friends and a girl she meets at the skatepark. Indigo wrestles with the double life - being a rich girl and her street life, and Camille finally learns that clout with the guys isn't all it's cracked up to be.

The big dramatic arc of the series involves Janay's storyline when her best friend is accused of sexually assaulting a girl. Does she believe the girl or trust her best friend? She learns that sometimes, good guys aren't good after all. 

Set in the world of skateboarding, it's a microscopic look at the sexism and misogyny that womxn face daily in different spheres of life and how despite this, they are capable of navigating these spaces.

The series is beautifully shot, and you'll get immersed in the streets of New York as they whizz through them on their skateboards. I especially enjoyed the storytelling technique in some scenes involving a character voiceover and imagery; it gave the scenes a dreamlike feel. 

The charm of Betty is that it depicts teens on the cusp of adulthood just trying to figure things out. There's nothing fancy, and nothing wraps up perfectly. It's just a look at life and its messiness. It's an ode to sisterhood that will have you cheering for the matriarchy at the end.


Betty premieres on 1Magic (DStv 103) Monday 22 June at 22:30 and is available on Showmax the same day.

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