Al Thompson, the creator of the new web series Lenox Avenue, recently discussed his inspiration and aspirations for the show in an interview with 24 Wired TV. Thompson, who’s also a lead actor and director for the series, spoke about the importance of a multicultural presence in entertainment, and how he thinks Lenox Avenue harkens back to a heyday of people of color on television. Additionally, Thompson shared what his show has to contribute when it comes to “colorblind content” and seeing more positive representations of men–especially in a multiracial sense–who don’t shy away from commitment and family. Check out some of what he had to say:
What would you say Lenox Ave is in a nutshell?
Lenox Avenue is a digital series that I created. I wanted to create something that really doesn’t exist in television platforms or film platforms, but should. A project that was not only multicultural but really highlighted today’s man, as far as guys who are already doing their thing, guys who have positive relationships, and guys who basically have good credit and want to have families and want to get married. Things we don’t traditionally get a chance to see.
What inspired the show’s set of characters?
A lot of it was people that we all know. We all have that friend who is getting engaged. We all have that friend who is trying to figure things out in his current relationships, to do the right thing, but needs the guidance from his boys. A lot of it is people who are very relatable but, again, we don’t get an opportunity to see a lot. Usually, when you see men in a multicultural sense, in TV and film, they’re usually depicted in a sense of being made fun of. They’re always running around, they don’t want to get married, they don’t want to have children–almost like they’re in fear of it. But in fact, we have friends–and everyone does–who are the total opposite of that.
What do you want people to get out of Lenox Avenue?
My mindset floats around what I like to call “colorblind content.” I was always inspired growing up by the intrepid amount of series that we had back in the day, whether it was The Cosby Show, A Different World, Living Single, Martin, Fresh Prince–you know, there were so many shows that were multicultural on the air, and there were not just black people watching these shows. They were extremely colorblind. People didn’t refer to each other as a race. People were just having a good time. That’s what foundation I come from with TV and entertainment–where you can sit down and you can watch an episode and just enjoy yourself. And I want people to have that experience with Lenox Avenue.