Living Single was one of my favorite shows growing up. It featured four different women exploring what it means to be a working adult in the nineties. Yes, the audience reactions were a bit too much (I hate laugh tracks); and yes sometimes the plots were a little too simple, but it did something important — It gave black women a voice on television. A voice that today is almost non-existent.
With BET creating characters that are devoid of depth and reality shows exploiting the loud and fabulous, the multidimensional television depictions of women of color are few and far between.
A recent slew of web shows have cropped up showing different voices on what it means to be black including a few of my favorites: Awkward Black Girl, Hello Cupid, and now TWENTIES from writer/producer Lena Waithe and executive produced by Queen Latifah.
In her own words, TWENTIES is a show “about three black girls, in their twenties, who are trying to get their sh*t together.” She continues:
“I didn’t write this pilot just because I wasn’t seeing myself on television. I wrote it because it was a story I needed to tell. And usually when a writer sits down with that kind of fire in their belly it always strikes a chord with audiences. TWENTIES is the most personal script I’ve ever written and I don’t think it’s a surprise that it’s also gotten me the most attention. People like it when you tell the truth. And this is mine. But I also think it’s universal. Because who can’t relate to being in your twenties and sucking at life? It’s a magical time when you don’t have to have everything figured out. It’s a ten-year window when you’re free to have awkward sex, unhealthy friendships, and a boss you can’t stand. Usually when you see young black women on television they’re either perfect and pristine, or they’re trying to accidentally get pregnant by a professional athlete. There’s very little middle ground. And the truth is that’s where most of us live. Somewhere in the middle.”
Her goal is not to raise money through Kickstarter to create a web series, her goal is to get the show on television. I hope the networks are listening. After watching the four brief teasers, I am both invested, interested, and mildly obsessed with seeing these characters fully realized.