In today’s economy many young adults are unemployed or underemployed. Young adults have a degree, but are having a hard time breaking into the competitive job market. Especially those who want to break into the entertainment industry. Sometimes you have to take matters in your own hands and do things your way. There are people who are brave enough to make their own opportunities rather than wait for an offer letter. Issa Rae and other black web series creators have done just that.
I remember the summer of 2011, and all of my favorite shows were on their hiatus. There was nothing to watch on TV, but one day Stacia suggested I watch “The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl” online. I decided to check it out and I fell in love with it like the rest of Black America. I waited every month or two for the next episode to premiere to see how the main character, ” J” would handle her next awkward situation. I thought the idea of a web series was brilliant. It is brilliant because there are an underwhelming number of scripted television shows that have black producers, directors, writers and actors. Issa Rae, the creator of “The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl”, I believe is successful because she decided to tap into the underrepresented audience of media consumers. She is authentic and hilarious which is a great combination. Since starting her web series, a production company and partnerships with Pharrell Williams and Tracey Edmonds, Issa has garnered over 20 million viewers. Within a small amount of time Issa Rae’s popularity grew and her “Awkward Black Girl” brand began to trend. Next thing I knew several series were popping up that feature characters that I could identify with. She started a movement of the Black web series and set a precedent of how to market and grow an online brand.
Here are some of my favorite web series that I think you should watch and support:
Hello Cupid is created by Dennis Dortch and Numa Perrier; Produced by Brian Ali-Harding. This web series is about two friends who get caught up in an interesting online love triangle. This show stars Ashley Blaine Featherson, who is a Howard alumna.
Twenties is created by Lena Waithe and produced by Queen Latifah. It is not a web series but a pilot presentation that is set up like one. This series also features Ashley Blaine Featherson and follows young black adults in their 20s as they try to discover themselves. This is a really creative way to gain momentum for a project. Lena Waithe is not new to using YouTube to start a movement, she wrote “Ish Black Girls Say” and dropped the concept trailer for “Dear White People”. Its popularity helped raised enough money on Indiegogo to begin filming the movie.
The Choir is created by Issa Rae for Tracey Edmond’s online network called, Alright TV. Alright TV is a faith-based online network that features content and web series on relationships, health, wellness and comedy. You might even catch a sermon from one of your favorite Pastors on the channel. Tracey might not have a television network yet, like Oprah or Magic Johnson but she is taking her own steps into creating something similar online.