How Awkward Black Girl Utilized KickStarter/Social Media To Fuel Momentum

August 5, 2011  |  

In case you’re not familiar with the Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, it’s a comedic show that follows (you guessed it) an awkward black girl as she navigates through work, love and life. The creator, who is also the show’s star, developed ABG to showcase and embrace the awkward in all of us and to finally give black women a lead character in media they can actually relate to.

Let me repeat, ACTUALLY relate to…because we all know good and well no Sistah can actually relate to some of these women that are invading their TVs via reality shows as of late. I digress.

The reason why I am so intrigued by this series is for two reasons (in addition to being hilarious):

– ABG is a web series: African Americans are always [and rightfully so] complaining about the lack of representation on network or broadcast television. We know that the chances that a black (or minority) show getting enough support from networks to actually be popular is slim to say the least. It can even be a relatively positive show…It doesn’t even have to be all hugs and kisses – we’re easy to please.

But via digital media, anybody with skills (demonstrated by ABG’s creator, Issa Rae), a strong support system (I’m pretty sure the ABG cast/crew isn’t rolling in the dough), and a decent camera or two can shoot, upload, and spread their show to fans and completely skip the “Hollywood Experience.” Now, I’m not sure what Issa Rae’s ultimate goal is for ABG. Maybe it is to eventually land on network/broadcast television. One thing is for sure, instead of sitting back and getting the same run around that other talent gets trying to “make it in the industry”, she used digital media to do her own thing and turn an idea into a popular web series.

– The fans responded via Social Media: As with anything, doing a show, either on your own or with the help of a major network, takes resources. ABG has received great responses from the fans. They have subscribed to Issa Rae’s YouTube channel, retweeted and posted status updates and shared new episodes to their streams, and flooded the show’s website with praise. But, as much as Issa wants ABG to be great, as supportive as the cast/crew is, and as much as we love ABG, “money makes the world go ‘round”. In order for the show to survive the first season, Issa created an ABG Kickstarter project to raise funds to shoot more episodes.

Kickstarter is a service where anybody with an idea can create a site where people can visit, learn more about the project, and donate. Similar to most fundraising efforts, based on your level of contribution, you receive different levels of appreciation from the project’s creator. The hook to Kickstarter is your project only receives funding if you meet the pledge goal you set. All those who pledged funds, won’t see a debit from Kickstarter if the project fails to meet the goal. So it’s up to the project’s creator to spread the word to meet the goal and receive funding. I have pledged to multiple projects in the past and just about all missed their goals.

I’m happy to report (yes, I backed this one too) that ABG met and surpassed its goal with two weeks to spare. To me, this represents the power of digital/social media and its ability to give ALL of us a chance regardless of the barriers that traditional media puts up (See: “The Gatekeepers Are Gone”). No need to suck your teeth and roll your eyes at the TV of some ignorant chicks throwing drinks in each other’s faces doing “what it takes” to be relevant. The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl shows that there are other options for entertainment, and other options to create your own success…sans the whole glass ceiling (and ignorant) thing.

…and I will be looking for my awkward stuff in the mail

I’m a Husband, Father, Consultant, Writer and all-around “Jack of All Tech” who is constantly giving folks the “Low Down” on technology on my blog BrothaTech. I also get my tech-writing hustle on via various tech-related sites all over the interwebz. My main tech topics include: mobile apps, smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices, small business, social media and related web-tech. Yeah, I Tweet about tech (and some other stuff) too. Look me up @BrothaTech

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