We Are Lady Parts Season Two | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Friday, July 19th, 2024  

We Are Lady Parts (Season Two)

Peacock, May 30, 2024

Jun 21, 2024 Web Exclusive Photography by Saima Khalid/Peacock/C4 Bookmark and Share

“A Muslim all-female punk band” sounds like an attempt at ticking some DEI boxes. But it would be a huge disservice to We Are Lady Parts, to reduce the sparkling half-hour comedy drama to a “diversity hire.” That is, however, what this immensely likeable group of women feel has happened to them when they’re faced with the juggernaut that is the music industry. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

We Are Lady Parts premiered in 2021 with six critically acclaimed episodes. The vision of creator/writer/director /executive producer Nida Manzoor, Lady Parts are a punk group whose Muslim faith underscores their decisions, their actions and their music. Stereotypes are cast aside. In their place are four distinctive and well-crafted central characters. There’s guitarist and vocalist Amina (Anjana Vasan) whose self-doubting voiceover narrates the series. Singer/guitarist Saira (Sarah Kameela Impey) is the rebellious leader whose spiky exterior barely contains her palpable pain and passion. Bassist and vocalist Bisma (Faith Omole) is the only mother of the group, pursuing her dreams while raising her daughter (the charming Edesiri Okepherho) with the encouraging backup of her solid husband. Ayesha (Juliette Motamed) is the queer drummer who rides a precarious balance between her two identities. Then there’s their hijab + niqab-wearing manager Momtaz (Lucie Shorthouse) doing her hustling best for Lady Parts whom she believes in wholeheartedly.

Lady Parts is both a support system for these women and an outlet to express what’s happening in their lives through some seriously catchy and clever tunes. Favorites from the first season “Voldemort Under My Headscarf” and “Bashir With the Good Beard” are still in the setlist. New gems like “The Villain Anthem” and “Malala Made Me Do It” are excellent additions to the repertoire. These immediate “add to playlist” numbers are created by Manzoor and her siblings, yet another skill the multitalented showrunner can add to her CV.

(Season One trailer)

The second season sees Amina, now a PhD, with stem cell research career. Her nights are occupied getting out her day rage through Lady Parts. She is deep in her “villain era.” Saira’s couch surfing lifestyle is getting stale and she’s forced to make compromises such as accepting a gig as a wedding band where Lady Parts perform rousing renditions of Britney Spears and Hoobastsank songs. Bisma struggles to reconcile being Muslim and Black, while Ayesha grapples with being Muslim and queer, and Momtaz scrambles to get them paid, get them studio time, get them to record with Saira’s dream producer, Dirty Mahmood.

Since we last saw them perform, Lady Parts have gained a following. They’re playing gigs around the UK and even have their own copycats in Second Wife, a Gen Z trio that went from being stans to becoming Lady Parts’ competition, albeit unintentionally. It’s difficult to lash out against a group that so clearly idolizes you. But it’s frustrating to see they are doing so much better than you. Despite their gigs, Lady Parts are broke, but Second Wife are tapping into that sponsorship money and are in the words of the singer, “flush.” Meanwhile, Lady Parts are facing music industry professionals who have reduced them to a glorified gimmick band with “funny Muslim songs,” hence “the diversity hire.”

The second season has more of a zany sitcom feel to it with physical comedy and exaggerated facial expressions during fantasy sequences. We Are Lady Parts also becomes an ensemble show, which is the right move with so many layered and fascinating personalities. In addition to the four central characters there’s Momtaz’s secret at-home weapon, her enthusiastic and wise grandma. Ayesha’s brother Ahsan (Zaqi Ismail) who is now roadieing for Lady Parts. Also on top form is Amina’s mother Seema (Shobu Kapoor) who is infinitely less uptight than her daughter and lives inside her role with an ease that makes you wish she would adopt you.

That is the key to We Are Lady Parts’ universal appeal: the on-point portrayals of complex characters. The first season brought viewers into the multidimensional experience of living as hijab-wearing, for the most part, Muslims in Western society, namely the UK, specifically London. It put you in the characters’ world in a tangible, relatable way that brought with it a compassionate understanding of their individual, and group challenges. Likely why the words “funny” and “heartwarming” are the ones most used to describe the series.

The second season continues We Are Lady Parts’ deft and nuanced storytelling but doesn’t rehash past issues. As these women grow and evolve, their challenges change, and along with that, their responsibilities and their priorities. Conversations around serious issues never come across as rote, forced or unnatural. Much like the women themselves, they are filled with ardor, humor and realness.

All six episodes of the Season Two are streaming now, ready for your binging pleasure. (www.peacocktv.com/stream-tv/we-are-lady-parts)

Author rating: 8.5/10

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