By DaiJhah Owens
WARNING: TONS OF SPOILERS AHEAD
So, if you are anything like me, no matter how old you get, you will always love cartoons. They will always have a special place in your heart. Cartoons were a safe space for many when life got to be too much. Because of this deep love for cartoons, it is a no-brainer that I have a Disney+ subscription. When I’m feeling overwhelmed or just tired of adulting, I scroll through all my old favorite shows until one sticks out to binge. Well, last week, I was doing my regular scroll through, and I happened upon an 11-minute gem of a show. Well, not a show, but a “short,” if you will. It’s only 11 minutes long and has no theme song, no star-studded cast, and no follow-up episodes. It’s tiny but packs a mighty punch, right in the feels!
“Twenty-Something” is the animated short I didn’t know I needed. When it starts, the show makes you think (or at least I thought) 3 little Black girls were trying to sneak into a club with their much older friend. The girls were clearly very young, but the friend acted as if they were actually of age to enter the club, drink, and party. How could the friend not realize these were kids? How did sis even meet this baby? Needless to say, I was very confused and very concerned. After getting past the bouncer, they head into the club and begin dancing and having fun. The three little girls start arguing inside the large coat that hid their true identity. They weren’t agreeing on who should be taking the lead, so dancing and interacting with other clubgoers became difficult and awkward. After some time passed, their arguing led to them falling and their identities being exposed.
Now Pause! I still had not caught on to the plot twist that was coming. My old Black lady came out, and I said to myself, “Why isn’t anyone helping them kids up and calling they mama?!” I was invested in them babies’ safety y’all! Anywho, back to the story. So the three little girls run to the bathroom and hide in a stall. They continue arguing with each other and throwing insults. Finally, they all start crying, and the friend walks in. She hears “the girls” crying and begins to encourage them. The friend’s words were like sweet balm to their ears. They were able to gather themselves together, but once the stall door opened, it wasn’t three little Black girls; after all, it was a Twenty-something grown Black woman.
Now, I don’t know about y’all, but I was utterly flabbergasted! I was so concerned with the three little girls; I never looked at the whole picture. It didn’t make sense to me until the end. For me, the three little girls, one an infant, the other which seemed to be between age 10-12, and the last one a 16-year-old teenager, represent the unhealed childhood trauma we carry around as twenty-something adults trying to make it. We can sometimes feel like imposters, like we don’t belong in the adult world because there is so much going on, on the inside. We often don’t have it all together. So we throw tantrums, we run away from our problems, we hide within ourselves. We’re constantly fighting a hidden battle within, the grown woman you need to be vs. the little girl trying to be seen/heard.
I did not expect this 11 min animated short to get this deep, but it did. My favorite part was at the end when the young Black woman dries her eyes and walks out of the bathroom with her homegirl. Upon entering the club, she sees nothing but babies, toddlers, and teenagers all around her. Her eyes grow wide as I assume she realizes everyone is battling the same thing; she is not alone. She realizes we’re all just trying to figure it out. We’re all just pretending to be adults when in reality, we ain’t nothing but some big babies!
DaiJhah Owens is a Contributing Writer for the Pedestal Project, LLC. DaiJhah is passionate about shifting political power to oppressed groups through education. She believes there is nothing more powerful than an educated black woman who can smell political BS a mile away! Connect with her on Instagram at @d_nakhole!