Loud & proud. Hyena laughing. Brown woman.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, history was made in our community. A show that I’ve been extremely psyched to see dropped, and it has made waves across the world. That show is SIS. It was made by mainly by Pasifika women for our community. For those of us who have been searching for media where we can see ourselves, this is a blessing and something to be proud of. While many have been singing its praises, there are those ready to tear it down. Before I go into that, I want to tell you what I saw.

In summary, I saw a show that makes me feel proud of our heritage. It makes me feel like I can be comfortable in who I am. It showcased not just me, but it showcased me and my cousins hanging out. When I watched the show, I wasn’t watching women and men portraying characters. I was watching my family be authentically themselves. I saw my family and ancestors. Sure, some of it was dramatic, but come on it’s comedy and honestly, our families are filled with drama and laughter. It’s the first time I have watched a show and thought, I finally feel seen. That’s the power this show has. That’s the path this show is creating for our people.

SIS has created a space for me and my cousins to be proud of who we are.

Before you read anymore, this is a SPOILER ALERT. There are different aspects of this show that I’m going to dive into, and I hope you watch the show before reading the rest of this blog.


Since the show is broken in 4 acts, I thought I would share what I saw in each act. When we start Act 1, our heroes are seen going to the supermarket. They are racially profiled and that profiling is like Groundhog’s Day. Something that is constantly happening. While the sketch is funny, the reality is there.

I don’t live in New Zealand or Australia, and I am ethnically ambiguous. So, I haven’t ever had to feel the negative effects that is racial profiling when shopping. I can’t imagine the stress and pain. What I love about SIS is that they open the conversation up. They put it in a digestible format for brown and palagi people to start talking about these parts of our lives. Yes, you read that right. Palagi people need to be talking about these situations because without them in the conversation things will not change.

Can we also talk about how no one talks about palagi immigration ANYWHERE? Like, I appreciate the fact that SIS writers made the palagi people who enter the store tourists. They weren’t just your everyday palagi in New Zealand or Australia. This is something every Brown person can relate to. Why is it that palagi tourist or immigrants aren’t question? That at its core is wrong and needs to be addressed. I know here in America, I bet there are more Brown and Black overstayers in jail than palagi. I haven’t looked up the stats, but if I had to bet, I would say this is the case. We got to raise this issue more and more. If they are going to care about Brown and Black overstayers, they best be questioning palagi overstayers. Cause I bet they weren’t doing that here in the States in recent years or in New Zealand during the Dawn Raids.

The next thing I appreciate is the fact that they call out the pronunciation of our names. With the controversy surrounding Erin Molan, it’s time palagi and others respect our names. Those are the names our ancestors and they deserve to be respected and honored. I say we utilize the line from the show. “Before you bastardize my name!” Use it fam. Don’t let people bastardized our culture and heritage. Plus, its fun to say “bastardized.” Especially, if you emphasize it and make a point. Don’t back down and make sure to teach your children that teachers will not BASTARDIZE our names. Give them the permission to say that. We have to empower our young people to stand up for our culture or else they will never learn.

What I love about SIS is that they openly discuss sex. That is something our community needs to do. Plus, they encourage safe sex. What show on a major network does this? There may be a few, but the fact a show in its beginning is making this a precedence is AMAZING! Honestly, I’m all for the condom lei. Let’s make that a precedence. I’m here for it! That’s where I’m gonna leave it for now cause there’s another section where I’ll go more into how our community needs to be more about discussions of sex.

The last sketch of Act 1 is one of my FAVE parts. Mean Girls is and iconic movie to my generation. So much so for me that my palagi friends, and I have taken on each character. Can you guess which one I am? (Cady lol) But, it’s a movie many of us in America and around the world grew up with. My friends and I even have a standing photo we take when our of us gets married. That’s how much that movie impacted our lives. So, when I see SIS do a sketch around that movie, I am here for it. What they do is take it to the next level. As a Samoan who as been called plastic, I’m loving the fact that SIS made those girls that bad ones. They are calling out those in our community who are trying to tear down those making it, trying to learn about our community, or living a different version of the island life. I can’t say, “Thank you,” enough for this sketch. It makes me want to send it to all the cousins who have called me plastic.

Might I also add the jab they take a Israel Folau, and good thing they did. Cause they are right. Who is he to judge? If you are a Christian, then you will know that right is to God alone. All you need to do is love each other. Plus, if you are really all about the Fa’a Samoa, then you will know that traditionally our people accepted those in the LGBTQ+ community. So, if you follow me and this upsets you, well get ready cause I’m a supporter of my friends and fam who are a part of this community. I may be a cis female, but I love those who are a part of this community. And, you can’t deny the contributions they have done for our community. It’s time we support them.

Act 2

These episodes may be short, but man do they speak volumes! Continuing to Act 2.

The first thing that speaks to me is that this show is literally calling out white writer rooms that play on the stereotypes of Pacific Islanders. Too often our people are either gangsters, low income, body guards, etc. but aren’t seen as Brown excellence. There’s a character that literally calls this out. Points out that we can have Brown doctors, Brown lawyers, etc. Through comedy this point is driven. I want to also take a moment to point out that this show is a comedy show and not a documentary about Brown doctors or lawyers. However, they do take a moment to acknowledge the need for these stories.

Then we’re are in the gynecologist and this scene is just amazing. Here’s where I want to dive further into the fact that our community needs to be more open about talking about sex. We need to normalize the fact the WOMEN LOVE TO HAVE SEX JUST TO HAVE SEX. We don’t need it because we need to procreate, are dealing with trauma, or daddy issues. Sex is pleasurable to us too and sometimes we just want it because we do. And, I’m gonna be real with y’all cause that’s what I’ve done from day one, but I’m a virgin. However, as a virgin I do understand these needs. Shoot, I have them myself, but because I haven’t found the right guy, it just hasn’t happened and that’s okay. And, it’s okay if there are girls and women who are more open. I’m so sick of this colonized version of sexual oppression. (Which by the way they say!) We should be able to be open about it, and teach that safe sex is the best sex.

Also, as someone who is constantly caught in the friend and sis zone, I love that they talk on this too! This is why I love this show so much. Everything that is said, worn, acted on has an intention behind it. It speaks to so many people who are in different stages in their life. But, for reals, the sis zone sucks more than the friend zone lol.

They then go into a sketch about debt collecting. Honestly, what I got out of that is that we need to remember we are all human. That we aren’t some clones. Compassion is key here. We are expendable. We are people who should be valued. Especially, women in the workplace. We aren’t all the same and we all have different talents that should be appreciated.

The next part I hope gets more spotlight in future episodes (which I really hope there are more episodes). That is transgender stories. One thing that I love about Hanelle and the shows she has created is that she features transgender stories. I’m not extensively well versed in lives of transgendered people, but I hope to see more of their stories. Especially, those within our community. The most exposure I’ve had is through documentaries of stories here in the States and the show Pose, but that’s not our people’s stories. I want to hear and see more of their stories. I think this is another reason I have so much appreciation for Hanelle and her work. She has created a space for EVERYONE.

Act 3

I think Act 3 is my favorite Act of them all. It probably has to do with the fact that it has a love story in it, and you all know I’m a sucker for a love story. This sketch has essentially four love stories. Really it’s four tellings of one love story, but I’m just gonna pretend it’s four love stories.

What I got out of the telling of this love story is that our family’s have their secrets. Our elders are very good at hiding their faults, but I wish they would be more open about them. In this sketch, there is a gathering and cousins or sisters (it’s not really said) go over their versions of how their grandparents met. Each one has a hilarious version, and it’s not until the grandma stops by and corrects them. She reveals that she had an affair. *GASP* Y’all this has happened to me before! I was at my cousin’s wedding and they were telling stories about my grandma, and I was like, “NO WAY! Damn. Grandma had game!” Then when I went to ask my mom about it, she was like, “What are talking about? Stop asking questions.” Funny how the older generation likes to sweep things under the rug. But, I wish they were more open with us cause we could learn from them.

Another thing I liked about this sketch is the use of the Southern United States accent. I don’t know if that was on purpose, but I appreciated that. It showed that there isn’t just racism happening in the States, but also in New Zealand. I found that really interesting and liked that artistic take.

Another added thing throughout the entirety of the show is the use of subliminal messaging. If you take a notice of what the actors are wearing, their tshirts send a message. From Lizzo’s lyrics which was a call back to the writers’ room to the protection of Ihumatao, it’s awesome to see those Easter eggs in the show!

Now, to probably my favorite sketch cause y’all know how much I’ve called out our men on dating white women as a status symbol. Anyways, SIS had an ENTIRE sketch on this and I am HERE FOR IT! The sister of an league rugby player points out to her parents that her brother is exclusively dating white women. When the parents confront the son about this, he points out that he doesn’t just date white women, but he also date white men. Which brings up, again, the fact that we need to be more accepting of our friends and family in the LGBTQ+ community. The parents are like, but why not a Brown person. The son states that they might be his cousin, and then this part I am like, “YAS!” The dad points out that he could date someone who is Maori, Tongan, etc. I also love how the sister is like, “Samoan.” Pointing out the fact that this cousin joke is so dumb. I’m just living for the fact that it talks about preserving the culture and bloodline. Also, the calling out of rugby players who thing dating white people is a symbol of “making it.” I could literally go on for days about how ridiculous this idea is, but I won’t. All I will say is that we need to normalize dating within the culture and that when you climb the ladder of success doesn’t mean the person you date has to lose their melanin.

Act 4

What I love about one of the scenes from this Act is that it shows a Brown woman seize her opportunity. She doesn’t change who she is and is authentically herself to get the job. She pitches the producers of SIS and creates a space for her and the writers. While this was a somewhat brief scene, it spoke volumes. Take that opportunity. Even if you are “traditionally” prepared, take your shot. Don’t throw it away. It’s okay to be you through and through. That’s what people will appreciate. SIS is proof of that. You don’t have to sacrifice who you are to appease others. Be you and that is enough.

The iconic sketch of men needing to understand the inequality that women face. If we can’t get equal pay, can we at least get some extra money for our feminine products. That is just the basics. Like it blows my mind that some men and women don’t see the need to either pay extra for equality if not to afford the basic needs. If that wasn’t a hot topic touch on, let’s talk about the female orgasm. I mean come on the sex industry was created mainly for male pleasure, but what about us women. Even at a young age we are basically taught that man’s pleasure is valued more than ours. I call BS on that. We have needs just like men and it should be just as important. Also, I love the gender reversal of the “Your mom” joke to “Your dad.” It’s subtle, but it’s awesome.

Then we enter a place where I feel like is a symbolism for Pasifika gatekeeping. Which I find ironic, considering the recent comments by a former editor of a well known Pasifika magazine. Our people enter spaces where we should be uplifted and sent out into the world for everyone to see, yet we have people sitting, judging us, saying we’re not good enough. Well, I say, “Hell no,” to that. You can’t tell us we can’t be who we are. You can’t say we can’t showcase hyena laughing, loud, and proud Brown women. Sorry, but that’s not happening. While, I would love to dive deeper into it, I’m kind of over it now. SIS is our present and is leading the path into the future. Either you jump on board or you can watch as we climb.

Final Thoughts

I have loved every minute of SIS. So, much so, I want to be that American extra somewhere. SIS has empowered to truly believe in ourselves fully. It’s made us want to be a part of something bigger. We may not be in the show SIS, but we live it. We are SIS. That’s why this show means the world to me. I am able to connect with my cousins, my aunties, my mom, my grandma, my ancestors, in a way that I wasn’t able to before.

As someone who loves comedy, this is groundbreaking in the comedic world. An industry that is male dominant. An industry where there’s a variety of backgrounds, but not enough Pasifika people. Comedy opens doors for many and it starts conversations – tough conversations. In the States, there were two comedy sketch shows that premiered last year. One of those was A Black Lady Sketch Show. That show was revolutionary for Black women. HBO picked that show up and I’m ready for a season 2. Just think of the Black women lead comedy movies (Roadtrip) and shows. See what that has done for those women. Sure, it won’t change everything over night, but it has meant A LOT. That is what SIS is for us. It’s the beginning of something amazing. The beginning of a revolution. I’m ready for more episodes. I’m ready for a female centered comedy movie. An ensemble cast full of Brown, beautiful, Pasifika women. I can see it, and the future is bright and amazing.

Alofa to those who work in SIS and the creators. Your creativity feels like a love letter to Brown, Pasifika women, girls, and the community. Thank you for your hard work. We lover and appreciate you so much.

From a proud loud, hyena laughing, Brown woman.


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