There is a Huffington Post article that talks about how a web series called “The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl,” written by Issa Rae and Tracey Oliver, was able to raise over $50,000 through Kickstarter to keep the series running. The video above is the one used on the Kickstarter page.
When I initially created the series in January, I had a camera, a temporary office job and no budget. The “Awkward Black Girl” character had been swimming around in my head for two years and I knew in my mind that if I didn’t shoot the first episode at that very moment, I never would. So, I called up one of my best friends from high school, Devin Walker and asked her to shoot the episode for me guerrilla style. “I’m down!” she exclaimed, “But you have to tell me what to do.” I then reached out to another friend from Stanford, choreographer/dancer Andrew Allan James, and asked him if he’d play “A,” my bugaboo office fling. I offered him gas money for his trek from Hawthorne to Baldwin Hills, L.A. and he scoffed, “Are you kidding? You don’t have to pay my gas. Please. I want to do this.”
This would become the general attitude of our wonderfully amazing cast and crew.
The team asked for $30,000 in order to keep the series running, only to have the project end yesterday with a total of $56,259. I am blown away by the generosity and grassroots organizing I’ve been seeing all over the web. This is a huge, monumental occasion and I want to encourage everyone reading to watch this series. Not only is cast composed of a majority of POC, it is also accessible to a variety of individuals, for free, through YouTube and the ABG website. My only complaint is that there is no captioning available.
I’m not going to speak for the show — Rae and Oliver have that all wrapped up — so I’m just going to quote from the Kickstart page and say ya’ll really need to get your ass over to the site and watch this!
Television today has a very limited scope and range in its depictions of people of color. As a black woman, I don’t identify with and relate to most of the non-black characters I see on TV, much less characters of my own race. When I flip through the channels, it’s disheartening. I don’t see myself or women like me being represented. I’m not a smooth, sexy, long-haired vixen; I’m not a large, sassy black woman; an angry Post Office employee. I’m an awkward black girl.
And I’m not alone.
Now more than ever, we need more diverse characters and stories on-screen. The golden era of the 90’s is long gone. The great television shows from my childhood days—The Cosby Show, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Martin, Living Single— are examples of what great television can and should be. Those shows were diverse, human, entertaining, and intelligent. Though the casts were primarily black, the show’s themes and storylines were universal, which was reflected in the millions of people who watched them every week.
Like Cosby and Fresh Prince, I believe ABG is also universal. It’s a series with a black female character in the lead role, but at its core, it’s about being “awkward,” which is a unifying and universal thing that we all have experienced in some capacity. With the series, the lead character, J, faces the most mundane and trivial problems, but they are problems that we all have encountered—and that’s where the humor and heart from the show originates.
ABG is simply about embracing the “awkward” person in each and every one of us and learning to accept and love ourselves for who we are.