Why Does Wanda Sykes’ Lucretia Use a Cane in The Upshaws?

Image Credit: Lisa Rose/Netflix

Netflix’s ‘The Upshaws’ is a comedy-drama series that focuses on the ups and downs in the life of the titular family. Starring Mike Epps, Kim Fields, and Wanda Sykes, the show centers on the humor and conflict in the Upshaw family. Epps plays Bennie Upshaw, who runs a garage and is trying to set things right with his wife, Regina, played by Fields. Bennie has messed things up a number of times. However, he loves his family and is ready to do anything for them.

Sykes plays Lucretia Turner, Regina’s older sister, who is richer than the Upshaw family and doesn’t like Bennie, a feeling he reciprocates. The banter between Bennie and Lucretia is one of the more entertaining parts of the show. We often find Bennie making jokes at the expense of Lucretia and her walking cane. You might be wondering what happened to Lucretia and why she uses a cane. Here’s what you need to know about it. SPOILERS AHEAD

Why Does Lucretia Use a Cane?

‘The Upshaws’ is co-created by Regina Y. Hicks and Wanda Sykes. They wanted to make a show about working-class families to focus on their lives and struggles. Sykes noted that generally, the shows featuring Black characters are either about “we all have arrived” or about some painful part of their story.

Image Credit: Adam Rose/Netflix

“You don’t see this family on TV, you know, just a working-class family. It’s either we all have arrived. You know, we’re well off, or you know, or we’re struggling, you know, slaves, and there’s some black pain going on. But we wanted to do a show that represented how the majority of not just black people but just how all people in America are living, you know, it’s like families, just doing their best just, you know,  trying to have a good life and loving each other. So that was, like, really key to us,” Sykes said.

While constructing the characters for the show, the writers wanted to bring as much relatability to them as possible. This is where Lucretia’s case comes in. Sykes was interested in showing some form of disability for her character. “I want her to use like a cane or crutch, and also it spoke to how a lot of families, especially, you know, the working-class families. Everybody has a family member who was in, like, a work accident or car accident, got hit by public transportation, or something. You know that that’s that, that was the come up through, and I wanted to touch on that, but also, like you said, to represent, you know, and let disabled people see themselves also,” she added.

Another thing that Sykes wanted was not to show Lucretia’s disability as something that holds her back. Through her character, Sykes wanted people to be able to “see themselves living a full life and loving.” This is why the show doesn’t go into the details of why Lucretia has a cane. It’s a part of her life, but it does not define her arc and character development in ‘The Upshaws.’ It is purely to serve the character rather than the plot.

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