'P-Valley': Nicco Annan on Uncle Clifford Going Through 'Hell' in Season 2 (Exclusive)

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P-Valley has finally returned, and it’s wasted no time getting back into the drama only two episodes into season 2. For Uncle Clifford, that means finding a way to survive both the pandemic, which has temporarily shut down The Pynk, as well as heartbreak, as she finds herself struggling to get over Lil’ Murda (J. Alphonse Nicholson). 

Simply put, the fan-favorite is going through “hell,” says Nicco Annan, explaining that she -- like a number of the other characters -- is feeling haunted by not only what happened at the end of last season, but also by what’s going on around her. “This season has a layer of horror and a haunting, whether that is from a physical haunting of death at their hands or the death that’s coming around from Rona, you know, from the COVID pandemic and police brutality.” 

Annan adds, “A lot has been happening. And I think Uncle Clifford is at the center and the heart of all these things. So, she kind of feels it all.”

P-Valley Season 2
Starz

While talking to ET, the breakout star, whose performance as Clifford continues to enrapture viewers, opens up about what’s in store for his character, especially as the The Pynk is still finding its footing under the new stewardship of Autumn Night (Elarica Johnson), why Clifford’s so unwilling and unable to face her 40th birthday, and if there is any hope for reconciliation with Murda. 

“I think Uncle Clifford’s journey this season is something that is reflective and similar to a lot of our journeys of literally reimagining what life is in this space,” Annan says, referring to the fact that Clifford is trying to figure out how to provide, how to move about, how to stay safe and, most importantly during these unprecedented times, how to stay alive. 

“Then, you add on top of that the element of love and the element of, like, ‘Are you worthy of it?’” Annan continues.  

When it comes to love, fans know that Clifford and Murda’s relationship fell apart at the end of season 1 after they found themselves reaching the limits of hiding their affair and Murda’s use of homophobic slurs in front of others at The Pynk. “She was present and was ready to be involved in the relationship after hesitation and different reservations,” Annan recalls. “And then, boom, Murda shatters her heart, literally, on the VIP floor.” 

Annan adds, “Uncle Cliffords don’t come around all the time… I’m not talking about non-binary people. I’m talking about people that can be present with you, that can love on you in such a clear and intentional way. So, when you refute that love or you mess it over, there is a true cost. And to be able to get back into her good graces, Lil’ Murda’s got to do some things.” 

“Everyone can relate to being shunned by someone that they love. It doesn’t matter what your sexual identity is,” says creator Katori Hall. “And we really wanted to share the effects of pandemic pining.” 

If there’s any hope for the two, it’s because Hall says they’re “on a love map,” and it seems they're still trying to figure out how to navigate their way back to each other. “I don’t think it’s a lustful connection they had,” she says, hinting, “And if we go on, I think these two souls are meant to be together.” 

P-Valley Season 2
Starz

While audiences see Lil’ Murda attempt to apologize to Clifford before he leaves town to go on tour, forgiveness isn’t granted all that easily. And it seems that Clifford may not be ready to receive it, especially right now, with all the distractions going on, from getting The Pynk ready to reopen to turning 40. 

“This is a milestone birthday,” Annan says, explaining that “the fact that she’s single, she’s still living at the house with her grandmother, we’re in the middle of the pandemic and the world’s going down, she has a touch of hunger. There’s a bit of that pandemic pining going on." 

So, when Clifford is kidnapped by her friends and dragged to a surprise birthday party, it’s a special moment, especially because it was done for her by “real friends that can see that there’s a space in your life that needs to be fulfilled,” Annan says.  

And for Clifford, that’s a chance to feel loved again. “It’s really important to me that we see Uncle Clifford and all non-binary people fully deserve to be loved,” Annan says. “And I think to be in a space where she can be loved on completely, you know, you love the unicorn that she is. There’s no shame to her.” 

The actor adds, “There’s no shame and there’s a full acceptance. And I think that is a revolutionary act in and of itself.” 

P-Valley Season 2
Starz

If there was one downside to Clifford’s birthday -- and possibly a hint at what’s to come this season as Montavius’ (Cranston Johnson) death still lingers over The Pynk -- is the way she starts confessing to all her sins, including that time she “helped chop up that man’s body and throw him into the river,” when she still thought she was being kidnapped. 

“In the moment, it was literally like, ‘Oh my god, I’m about to die. And it’s all about to end,’” Annan says, explaining that Clifford’s prayer from season 1 and her confession here is all because she has a close relationship to God. 

Meanwhile, Hall notes that “some things went down at The Pynk at the end [of last season]. And so, you know, that’s going to haunt Uncle Clifford, Autumn and Mercedes [Brandee Evans] as a collective.”

However, this momentary revelation is not a sign that Clifford is going to spill secrets anytime soon. Annan pushes back on the notion that she’ll be the one to unravel moving forward. “I don’t think that she’s one, definitely, to spill secrets. Those are things that literally came out of a flashing before her life,” Annan says, noting that “she knows that snitches get stitches.” 


P-Valley season 2 airs Sundays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Starz.

 

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