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‘The Best Man: The Final Chapters’ Examines Complexities of Fatherhood and the Growth of Black Men

It's been a few weeks since The Best Man: The Final Chapters has been released so we hope you watched it because spoilers are below.

Photo by: Clifton Prescod/Peacock

Nearly 24 years ago, we watched this group of college friends gather to celebrate the union of Lance Sullivan (Morris Chestnut) and Mia Morgan (Monica Calhoun), which turned into a disastrous, yet memorable wedding. Fast forward 23 years and Malcolm D. Lee remains consistent with building on the arc of the men in the series and continues to be a launchpad for Black male storytelling.

The Best Man: The Final Chapters is Lee’s final installment of his The Best Man franchise, which is now a limited eight-episode series on Peacock. The series displays tender, hilarious, and full-circle moments as Harper (Taye Diggs) steps back into his role of best man to Quentin (Terrence Howard) for another wedding weekend. The first episode begins with a jaunt down memory lane tying up any loose ends the fans might’ve forgotten; before picking up where The Best Man Holiday left off and bringing us to the present year by episode three. Although the series is deemed as an ending, its fresh approach can be misinterpreted as “Unfinished Business.”

The brilliance of transitioning the film’s second sequel into a series heavily relied on the ability to flesh out the storytelling. The writers managed to not only continue to explore the brotherly bond shared between these men but raise awareness of the Black man’s plight and life. We had a front row seat into Murch’s (Harold Perrineau) personal growth, from whiny to winner, and Lance’s trite coping mechanism. But more importantly, we got to see these men hold each other accountable and have the sometimes-difficult conversations friends have.

Photo by: Matt Infante/Peacock

At the helm of the trilogy are the complexities within fatherhood. Fatherhood for Black men is often complicated in its own uniqueness. Part of Lance’s struggle with being a widower is the fact that he’s also a single father navigating parenthood with a non-binary child. The Best Man: The Final Chapters does an excellent job of showing what conversations are like for parents and friends of adults who are trying to understand a child who is a part of the LGBTQ+ community. It was a very honest portrayal of a life that many fathers and mothers face today.

Photo by: Nicolas Cordone/Peacock

We see Murch, who is a #GirlDAD of two and the only man in the house, deal with his daughters who both struggle with anxiety. The representation of parents putting their children’s mental health first is indicative of our communities growth and awareness around the topic that used to be ignored. The fact that Murch and Candice (Regina Hall) were able to identify potential triggers that could lead to anxiety attacks and are having healthy conversations about their children’s mental state, is hopefully a conversation starter in other Black and brown peoples’ homes.

Photo by: Clifton Prescod/Peacock

Then there’s Quentin, who is transitioning his title from uncle to dad after finding out he is a father, years later. This sheds light on a larger conversation around fathers who are not given the opportunity to be in their child's lives because they are not told they're the father. Situations like this can be very hurtful to the father and the child, and we see Quentin trying to figure out where he fits into his daughter’s life.

Photo by: Matt Infante/Peacock

Harper’s challenges are met by two parents who evolved into two different people, who want different lives and have different views on how their children should be raised. Laws have begun to change in support of fathers’ rights and the ideology that a mother has more say over a child's life than the father is starting to fade. In the series, Robyn (Sanaa Lathan) surprisingly shares that she is moving to Ghana and taking her and Harper’s daughter with her, leaving Harper to figure out how he will see his daughter in another country. This scenario is not new as some mothers do pick up and move away with their children without thinking of the father. Remember, when fathers are with their children it is not visitation it is parenting time and they are entitled to the same amount of time as the mother. Harper was right in exercising his right to ask to be the primary parent in an effort to ensure that he is able to see his child as often as possible.

Although the gang is enjoying their midlife renaissance, the installment’s reoccurring theme focuses on brotherhood, health, career trajectory and being a supportive friend through personal growth. Reflecting on real moments when you might not be in the best place with your friends and sometimes go without speaking, you are reminded that your friendship is a kinship.

Being in successful relationships, marriages, friendships, takes work. None of us ever stop growing or evolving.” - Harper Stewart

The Best Man: The Final Chapters is not only an ode to the 90’s and Black cinema but a coming-of-age story we often don’t see. Ultimately, the series showcased the reality of life when Black men are allowed agency to age into manhood. Then and only then can they truly become the best man possible.


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