Netflix’s ‘Grand Army’ talks about all the right things

Photo courtesy Netflix Original Grand Army

Despite controversial news around the show, the Netflix original “Grand Army” has been creating a lot of buzz. From being outed to being betrayed by close friends, the teen melodrama has piled on layers. With its similarities to “Degrassi” and HBO’s “Euphoria,” this show has presented an array of stories that needed to be shared.

The cast of “Grand Army” shows what it is like to be a teen in Brooklyn, NY. The first episode explores racial profiling through a bombing Student Sid (played by Amir Bageria) shows what it is like to be a brown gay teen in America.

Being a double minority is a heavy weight to carry. He battles with his sexuality and racial profiling, and his identity is questioned. Through peeling back a layer to be vulnerable, he is able to paint a deeper picture of what it is to be “Sid.”

Bageria‘s storyline, like others, overlapped with his co-stars. With the consistent theme being, “Identity,” many of these “Grand Army” teens struggle to find their own.

One of the most controversial topics that has had a constant appearance in coming of age dramas is, sexual assault. The movement “free the nipple” made a cameo on the Netflix show. Aiming to take a stand against the policing of women’s bodies, Joey (played by Odessa A’Zion) took a stand against her teacher who slut shamed her on multiple occasions.

Joey, the show’s “it” girl, seemed to have it all together. The show not only covered shaming but also sexual assault and the lack of justice for victims. While the show takes its time to show the horrific act, many viewers claimed it to be triggering.

Shows today are centered on trauma porn. From sexual assault to the Black struggle narrative, many writers want to take it “there” and that’s just what “Grand Army” does. Although it is empowering to see situations and characters that are parallel to the lives of many, it can also be hard to digest.

One the most intriguing storylines and also fan favorites is Dominique “Dom” Pierre (played by Odley Jean). A first generation Haitian-American upperclassmen, Dom is a teen with a lot on her plate. With the show portraying an accurate depiction of an authentic Haitian household, a whole group of young women finally felt seen. Dom’s character takes on that strong Black woman persona by taking everything on her plate while slowly decomposing.

The conversation of mental health also becomes an overlapping topic when she gets vulnerable during an interview. The conversation covered the lack of mental health resources provided to the Black community. Dom’s transparency also relates to the school-to-prison pipeline that is picked apart by actors Maliq Johnson and Jaden Jordan, who play Jayson and Owen.

The silencing of the Black voice was covered when the two friends were a suspension after an accident. This in turn led students to protest and create a conversation about what happened to students like Owen.

The cast of “Grand Army” did an amazing job portraying what it is like to be a teen in today’s society. The search for true self identity was a constant theme in this high school drama and season two can potentially bring about many more controversial topics.