Nicôle Lecky’s Mood is based on her hit Royal Court show, Superhoe.
After being dumped by her boyfriend and falling out with her family, wannabe singer and rapper Sasha must work out how to stay financially afloat as a 25-year-old woman in East London. Will she be lured into the world of Only Fans by new friend Carly to make ends meet?
Nicôle Lecky’s Mood is based on her hit Royal Court show, Superhoe. The series starts with a bang: Sasha (played by Lecky) is walking down the road in a pink velour two-piece. Bright lights and boom mics signal that she is filming a music video, and pink smoke blows across the frame as she dances along with two friends.
And, then, we’re flung back to reality. Sasha’s dream of becoming a successful musician is a long way away from her current life: she lives with her mum, stepdad and stepsister, has spent all her nan’s money on creating an EP (which she hasn’t finished) and she’s just broken up with her boyfriend Anton (played by Jordan Duvigneau) of ten years. Sasha is, then, an undeniably knotty and contradictory character – perfect for inciting action throughout the television series – and Lecky balances her hard exterior with a touch of her inner vulnerability excellently.
While Sasha’s character is strong, the world around her is, perhaps, less convincing. For example, Sasha’s family felt like caricatures of a white family who has decided to cut off their mixed-race daughter. While these caricatures were useful for the plot (they explain why Sasha’s family so easily throw her out), their lack of nuance makes it hard to properly empathise with Sasha’s situation. I had similar problems with the characters of Carly (played by Lara Peake) and Saleem (played by Mohamed Moses Dalmar). Indeed, with Superhoe being written as a one-person monologue, maybe it was difficult to translate some characters from the stage play into a television series in which they would be played by other actors?
Nevertheless, from the first two episodes, it is clear that Mood will be delving into some really important and seldom discussed themes. Throughout the first two episodes, we see the differential treatment of white and Black women. For example, Sasha’s friend Abi (played by Chantelle Alle) reflects on how white middle-class women “freeing their nipple” is seen as a feminist act, whereas if a Black woman were to do that in her ends she’d end up on somebody’s group chat. Comments like this reminded me of the overt sexualisation of Black women, as, for example, explored in Keisha the Sket.
There are also subtle nods to cultural appropriation: in some ways, Carly reminds me of Stefani from Zola – with her long blonde hair and Kim K-esque outfits. I’m intrigued to see whether Sasha will get pulled into Carly’s Only Fans world or not, and what will the repercussions be for her as a Black woman?
Altogether, I’m very interested to see how Mood will develop. It reminded me a lot of Adult Material but from the perspective of a young Black woman. Of course, the porn industry she is interacting with is the world of Only Fans – a world that, for my generation, definitely feels a lot closer than that explored in Adult Material. While the overall tone of the series sometimes feels confused – is the song set in the Jobcentre in episode 2 supposed to be funny or poignant or both? – I am excited to see how Lecky will use the series to unpick knotty themes and, more importantly, I really want to know why Sasha was dumped by Anton!
Mood airs on BBC3 Tuesday 1st March @ 22:05 with all episodes available to watch on BBC iPlayer afterwards.