The episode reaches its peak of intensity, though, when Meelah and LaTavia show up for their first acting lessons. They’re working with a coach called Rotunda Underwood, whose sexy, calming voice I wouldn’t mind talking me to sleep.
And the first thing Rotunda Underwood makes them do is stand up on stage and, as she says, take a dump. She asks them to think about a really good dump: “It’s ugly, it’s painful, but it’s so worth it.” Well, Rotunda, I have to say, that IS true. Once LaTavia gets past her giggles at all this (which are well-deserved), they then actually step into their shit. Rotunda has them think about a critical moment from their youth, and to address their younger selves out loud.
Meelah starts speaking to a young black girl who was too black to be beautiful; who didn’t think she was pretty because her skin was too dark; who had friends who said they were friends but still called her tar baby; who needed to believe she was beautiful and not just because her mother said so. And no one’s giggling anymore. It is intense, and as LaTavia says, courageous.
And then it’s LaTavia’s turn. If you thought we went through some real talk with Syleecia and Syleena a few episodes ago, hold on to your tissues, because the real talk this season just keeps getting realer. LaTavia addresses a little girl who’s been molested, and not just once, but for years. Until she said something to her mother–and nothing was done. It continued for five MORE years. Jesus. Rotunda looks into LaTavia’s eyes and tells her that before she’s ready to sing again, she needs to get her power back. Because even though it’s been years, this violation was so deep that it’s still making LaTavia feel powerless.