Pop culture is more than happy to show audience exotic dancers on stage, performing athletic feats for dollar-dropping dudes. But Katori Hall, whose P-Valley premieres Sunday (9/8c) on Starz, says she wanted to explore what happens way beyond last call and the house lights coming up.
“What [exotic dancers] do, it’s hard work,” the series creator and executive producer tells TVLine, recalling when she took a pole-fitness class and realized just how much core strength was necessary to do even the most basic moves. “I think I’m going to twerk a little and then climb up on the pole,” she says, laughing. “I could twerk a little, but I couldn’t climb up on that pole!”
The experience was one step along the path that would eventually bring Hall to write P—y Valley, the play on which P-Valley is based. “What [dancers] do should be respected,” she adds. “And for me, that not being able to do what they could do was my entry point into the story.”
The hour-long drama introduces viewers to “delta noir,” a term Hall coined to describe the sultry, secretive world of The Pynk — a Southern strip club run by a gender non-conforming owner named Uncle Clifford — and its denizens.
“There aren’t that many black women in noir. There’s definitely no Uncle Cliffords in noir,” she explains. “So I feel as though our show is breaking open that genre and placing people who just don’t exist within it. And then, in terms of the delta-ness of it, the show has a certain rhythm: We move like molasses. We take our time when we say our words and when we move through the club, and there’s this amazing sense of humor that’s diffused through every episode.”
In addition, the EP points out, P-Valley depicts its female characters as fully realized people and not just G-string models.
“Women have had to deal with a long history of hyper-sexualized images of them, Black women especially, and so we talked a lot about how we were always going to place the camera so that we are experiencing what the women are going through and not necessarily [just] looking at their bodies,” Hall continues.
“The strip club is a complicated place,” she adds. “There’s this interesting tension between exploitation and liberation, and the show really delves into that.”
Ahead of P-Valley‘s debut — and with the help of Hall and series star Brandee Evans — we’ve pulled together a few Things You Should Know about the series. Scroll down to get all the delta dirt.