Written by Aisha Alli-Balogun
The new eight-part drama is something I just had to review as soon as I finished it.
Champion follows the personal and professional tensions between siblings Vita (Dèja J Bowens) and Bosco Champion (Malcolm Kamulete).
The show follows the strains in the Champion family as they fight to figure out who they are as a family who has a lot to work through.
The series opens up with a scene that represents how the family treat Vita and Bosco throughout every episode as it is an old home video showing young Bosco rapping to So Solid Crew’s 21 Seconds.
However, Vita steps up and raps along beautifully but as Bosco is annoyed with her, we hear their mum Aria (Nadine Marshall), warning to Vita to stop.
Bosco then throws his plastic microphone at Vita which causes her to cry but their father Beres (Ray Fearon) insisted Vita provoked Bosco first.
Siblings could relate to the arguments at first, until it ascended into their adulthood and fractured their relationship.
Vita carries the negative attitude and lack of support from her family in her adulthood as she strives to be Bosco’s manager but is stuck being his underappreciated assistant.
Tables turn when her talent gets discovered by Bosco’s rival nonetheless and she realises she could turn her dream of being in the music industry into a reality.
Champion was the TV debut for lead actress Dèja J Bowens as she captures the audience with her eye-catching performance of someone who has spent their whole life living in the shadows.
It’s hard not to root for her and want her to succeed but you also doubt her decision-making at the same time. It is the perfect portrayal of life.
No one is perfect and everyone makes mistakes and you learn from them and that’s what draws the audience in – the raw emotions that you feel from watching.
The same can be said for Kamulete’s performance as the older brother and rap sensation who was just released from prison after spending two years inside.
He feels the weight of the world on his shoulders throughout the season which makes it hard to side with him because of his actions and how they affect his family and friends, as an ex-convict trying to navigate life.
He delivers raw passion and anger perfectly as the audience can see that he is not doing well and needs help but he feels that the whole world is against him as his father puts more pressure on him to succeed.
The series showcases what can happen when representation and authenticity work behind the camera.
The original music created throughout the series is something that sticks with the audience with a mix of powerful and soulful melodies sung by Vita and her best friend Honey (Ray BLK) while Bosco’s Hard rap music hits, Ray BLK and Ghetts were music executives for the show and they did the role amazingly!
The pacing starts slow in a few parts but the drama turns up a notch the further we get into the season, Vita goes from an undiscovered artist one moment to having social media dances created for her new single to being kicked out of her family home by her mother over a misunderstanding.
I am excited for the possibility for a season two so we can see more relationships outside of the family being developed.
For instance, with Vita and Bosco’s best friend Memet (Kerim Hassan) it is hard to deny the chemistry they both shared and you just had to root for them to be together.
I would’ve also liked to see Vita and Aria’s mother-daughter relationship to be explored as Aria always seemed to dislike her daughter as she treated her unfairly throughout the early episodes.
There will be times when you want to bang your head against the wall over the family’s mistakes but that’s the reality of being a family especially when Beres is the worst of the worst but he knows how to play a convincing villain.
Champion may showcase a lot of family drama but it also gives the audience real representation as they dive into a variety of themes such as Black male mental health which I hope they explore if season two happens, as well as a look into how the music industry can be challenging and affect people.
Mental health, especially within the black community, needs to be explored more as people shouldn’t feel alone.
This series is something I recommend to everyone to watch as no matter what experience we all have, it is something everyone can relate to.
Watch the music make the show come alive as the songs will stick in your head, with something for everyone as the music ranges from UK rap to R&B and reggae.
Watch it now on Netflix and BBC iPlayer!