Marissa Jo Cerar Discusses New Series “Black Cake” With The Reel Critic
Written by Vocalo Radio on November 3, 2023
On this week’s segment of The Reel Critic, host Reggie Ponder spoke with Marissa Jo Cerar, creator of Hulu drama series “Black Cake.”
“Black Cake” follows two estranged siblings as they uncover their mother’s guarded past, with elements of suspense and history surrounding their Caribbean heritage. The series is based on Charmaine Wilkerson’s critically-acclaimed novel of the same name. Ponder spoke with creator Marisa Jo Cerar about the intense power of female friendship, interpersonal relationships within the novel and the series and more.
“Black Cake” is available to stream on Hulu. Hear an excerpt from Reggie Ponder’s conversation with Marissa Jo Cerar, as well as his thoughts on “Black Cake,” on this week’s installment of The Reel Critic.
Reggie Ponder: You show real friendship, I think, in so many different ways, almost like the rid or die friend. It’s not that you don’t show conflict, but a lot of times when we look at women of color, we see that conflict as the thing that’s on top of the relationship. And you seem to have just flipped that to not the conflict, but the real undying friendship. Can you speak to that?
Marissa Jo Cerar: So glad you said that. That is so important to me. The friendship between — I mean, there are lots of relationships I can use as examples — but between Covey and Bunny in the book just made me so hungry to do this. Because they were soulmates. These two Black girls, coming of age at a time where they’re being silenced. And [where] they are lesser than the boys and men, where they’re sold off into these arranged marriages. They are soulmates, and they would sacrifice their love, for love. And it’s not a romantic love.
The female relationships in this show, they are the backbone of the series. There are so many examples, there’s Pearl and Matilda. And I just loved it so much and that was one of the reasons I, when I called and I said, “I have to adapt this, nobody else can do it,” it’s also because I was very protective of it. I was like, there could be another person who reads this, doesn’t think that’s important, that it’s not part of the series. That’s not part of the show, Bunny is a non-existent character, or her relationship with Covey is not… It’s all about the romantic Gibbs-Covey arc. And I just love these actors, Lashay and Mia, who played Bunny and Covey, and their relationship in real life is just as lovely as it is on-screen.
And so thank you for saying that, because that was one of the most important things to me about the book and the series, is the power of female friendships and women lifting each other up in these communities, because it’s true to life. And I wanted to, it was really important that that come through the screen, so that makes me so happy.
Reggie Ponder: You can hear more of this interview at the AAFCA YouTube page. “Black Cake” is currently airing on Hulu, and I like it. I’m on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube @thereelcritic, and I’ll see you next time.
The Reel Critic is hosted and produced by Reggie Ponder
Written introduction by Abigail Harrison
Transcription and editing for length and clarity by Morgan Ciocca
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