Lovecraft Country has wowed fans in nearly every way…except how it handled the character of Yahima (Monique Candelaria).
In the episode “A History of Violence,” Yahima, a two-spirit Indigenous person who was trapped by the Braithwaite family, was saved by Leti (Jurnee Smollett), Montrose (Michael K. Williams) and Atticus (Jonathan Majors). But just as quickly as Yahima was saved, they were killed by Montrose in a fearful act of violence.
Fans took issue with the death, particularly since two-spirit and Indigenous characters are unfortunately rare in the television landscape. The act also seemed like a continuation of the troublesome “bury your gays” trope.
Lovecraft Country creator Misha Green has now addressed the issue on Twitter. According to Decider, Green answered a viewer who wanted to know why Yahima was treated off-handedly.
“I wanted to show the uncomfortable truth that oppressed folks can also be oppressors,” wrote Green in her response. “But I didn’t examine or unpack the moment/portrayal of Yahima as thoroughly as I should have. It’s a story point worth making, but I failed in the way I chose to make it.”
I wanted to show the uncomfortable truth that oppressed folks can also be oppressors. But I didn’t examine or unpack the moment/portrayal of Yahima as thoroughly as I should have. It’s a story point worth making, but I failed in the way I chose to make it. #LovecraftCountry https://t.co/bDRGOfPClo
— Misha Green (@MishaGreen) October 12, 2020
Many viewers responded well to Green’s admission, with some even writing that Montrose’s act showcases, albeit messily, Green’s point about oppressed people oppressing and hurting others.
I found a link between Yahima vanishing to the disappearing women from reservations all these years. Like my great-grandma being beaten if she spoke Cherokee, or let the kids get “too much sun” by my great-grandpa, Yahima was silenced, then just non-existent. It spoke to me a lot
— Lillihammer (@ironlily808) October 12, 2020
I appreciate the acknowledgment that indigenous culture + non-binary identity was handled (at best) very clumbsily.
You being 1 person & falling short is human. A major tv network with history of telling LGBTQ stories greenlit the episode and no one objected? that’s concerning.
— Black Matlock (@KahranAtLaw) October 12, 2020
Thank you for this. For giving an honest answer and being accountable for your decision. I wish more showrunners and producers were mature enough to publicly accept and address constructive criticism. Also, it’s definitely something that can expounded upon in season 2 ????????????????????????????????
— Kyle Anthony (@Eworld777) October 12, 2020
Yahima in my opinion is a good example of how indigenous and/or transsexual people are treated by heteronorms: they are afraid of their power, so they murder them &/or lock them away.
— William L.Willowford (@WLWillowford) October 12, 2020
It was def a point worth making. In truth, I actually think it being done so harmfully highlighted that fact…but it was harmful. I appreciate ur honest response about that moment and what went into making it.
— My Skin My Logo™️ (@YungAllyce) October 12, 2020
It made perfect sense to me. Montose is hella conflicted and racked with guilt about his sexuality and NOT being tics biological dad. You add to that his brother’s dying wish that he ” protect”the family and i see why he did it even tho it made things harder not better for him
— JM (@jamesmcelweejr) October 12, 2020
What did you think of the episode and Green’s explanation?