It seems these days that most images of African-Americans on television often come in the form of reality TV fights, but instead of waiting on networks to get smart and diversify their shows, black directors, producers and writers are taking matters into their own hands and onto the web — and they’re proving they’re a force to be reckoned with.
The trend of black web series has been growing fast over the last two years.
As the people behind the comedy sketch web series Dormtainment told theGrio, “This is the day and age where you can have an idea for a video, plot it out, and shoot it without going through the hands of uncreative suits or others who will dilute your ideas.”
“It is also possible to gather a fan base that can rival a television show,” they said. “The conversation about what you’re creating is a two way one, and the audience actually cares about the characters in the series, as well as the people who create it.”
Issa Rae, the creator of the wildly popular web series The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, recently made the jump to prime time, but there are many other producers who are creating original and entertaining shows for audiences on the web.
I compiled a list of six web series providing quality content online. Scroll down to see what shows you should watch out for.
In no particular order:
Black folk don’t…camp, tip, swim — the list goes on. This web series explores and challenges common black stereotypes by going right to the source. Director and producer Angela Tucker hit the streets of New York with her team in the first season, asking African Americans what they thought of these stereotypes. This season, the team is in New Orleans with a whole new set of stereotypes to discuss.
“I knew I wanted to do something that was somewhat high concept,” said Tucker. “I wanted a series that provided a space for a multiplicity of voices and was an open-ended question that had no right or wrong answer. I hoped to create a complicated race conversation in a fun and dynamic way. From all of that, Black Folk Don’t was born.”
“We have a lot of exciting things planned for season three, including a trip abroad! We’ll announce all of it on our Facebook page.”
Described on its website as being inspired by hit shows Lost, True Blood and 24, this web series follows Osiris, a man who can never die no matter how many times he’s killed, as he works to solve mysteries, including the one about his eternal life.
“My primary goal was to create a show with a great story and characters. Osiris is a fun, thrilling, mysterious, suspenseful show that just about anyone can enjoy,” Donnie Leapheart, creator of the series, told The Grio. “When we look at the fans we have on Facebook and Twitter, we are amazed by how across the board the people in our demographics are. People of many different races, ages, genders seem to love the show and its creativity.”
He continued, “We felt there was a need for alternative programming featuring African Americans in the world of not only web series, but also film and television as well. We didn’t have much of a budget but we made up for that with a high concept that seemed fresh to all of those helping to make it happen.”