If you haven’t watched Netflix’s Cheer, you are definitely missing out.
The six-part docuseries centers on the pressures of being a cheerleader at Navarro College in Corsicana, Texas. This school may be small, but they have a huge presence on the national cheerleading. Honestly, I have never seen anything so intense before. The broken bones, the long hours of practice and the pressure to win. It’s a lot.
While each team member is their own character, one of my favorites is La’Darius Marshall just blew me away. The 21-year-old Fort Walton Beach, Florida native can flip and cheer his a** off with an enthusiasm like none other, but as writer Bobby Finger noted for The Cut, “he can come off as abrasive and arrogant, his signature attitude accompanied by a sharply raised, well-manicured eyebrow and GIF-worthy critiques of his teammates.”
Yes, those eyebrows are sculpted to the Gods. Now, he is deservingly gracing the magazine’s April cover, his first-ever, and absolutely KILLING IT!
He is giving us all the high cheekbones, angles and shoulders in this stunning photo spread shot by Erik Tanner. According to The Cut, the inspiration behind the shoot came from a fusion of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and the iconic style of Grace Jones (peep them shoulders). Tanner wanted to focus on the way La’Darius’s movements blend sensitivity and strength. “He had such a great sense of his form, but beyond that is his expression,” Tanner told the Cut.
“The looks that he gave — I believed them because they were thoughtful and honest.”
LIVE, WORK, POSE!
In the interview with Finger, La’Darius, who identifies as gay, opens up the freedom that came with opening telling his truth about being sexually abused as a child.
“You have to battle yourself and battle your inner demons … because they tell you it is socially unacceptable to talk about it and you’re being a wuss if you do,” Marshall said of revealing his truth.
“And I just don’t see how that culture is even close to being healthy. That’s like me going through my entire life and not telling my story,” he explained.
But he admits that sharing that part of his life made him fall into a “dark place,” because he was worried about what people would think of him. That, and didn’t want to be labeled a “victim.”
“I never wanted to be perceived as a victim,” he explained. “I don’t like the word … I know what I’ve been through, but look how far I made it.”
Now, for the future, he will make sure he won’t “have to have shields on.”
“I should just live,” he said to The Cut. “You’re gonna miss out on your blessings if you don’t allow people to come in.”
On how cheering has made him feel visible in this world: When I’m performing, you’re going to see me. In that moment, the kid in me is like, ‘You’re going to see me whether you like it or not,’” he said to the outlet. “And I feel like that kid is finally gone. He definitely got what he wanted.”
On how the coronavirus crisis has ended their cheerleading season: “I’m just taking it day by day and accepting that this is yet again another one of God’s plans for me,” Marshall said. “I love Navarro with all of my heart and cherish every moment we had together.”
I just love his openness and these fly pictures! You better bring it boo.
***Now, I also really love Jerry too, another bubbly Black boy on the team who is pure joy. Here, he and La’Darius give an incredible interview to NBC Out. Take a look:
Cheer is available to stream now on Netflix.
Read La’Darius’ Cut profile in its entirety here.