It’s “Girls” For Black Women: Check Out Potential New Series “TWENTIES”
Personally, I’m a big fan of the Lena Dunham-created, HBO series Girls. And even though I can relate to most of their struggles, there are times when I’m a bit out of the loop. After one episode, I asked no one in particular, “Do white girls really have this much [casual] sex?” I wasn’t expecting an answer, it was just a rhetorical pondering; but my sister, who lived with white women throughout her college career, chimed in almost immediately to let me know yes, they do. Hmm interesting.
Now, I’m not saying that the Girls story lines and my sister’s roommates, represent the overall population of white women in their twenties. I say all that to say that my friends, who are black, and even friends of friends don’t get down that much. Which made me think of other ways in which the women of Girls aren’t indicative of what it means to be a black woman in your twenties trying to find your way. My parents wouldn’t pay my way while I find myself in New York City even if they wanted to– and they don’t.
Where’s the show about me?
Well, loves I’m here to tell you that someone is working on that very show.
In fact, you can even preview this new show and decide whether it holds up.
Lena Waithe, (isn’t it a coincidence that her name is Lena too?!), the woman who wrote the hilarious “Sh!t Black Girls Say” and is producing the poignant, upcoming film “Dear White People,” is working on a series that will tell the twenty-something story from a black woman’s point of view.
The show, “TWENTIES” is described as a show “about three black girls, in their twenties, who are trying to get their sh!t together.”
And people seem to have hope for this thang. In fact, it’s being produced by Queen Latifah’s company Flavor Unit.
The only thing is, Waithe is having trouble convincing others of her vision. In a recent interview with Shadow and Act, she explained the struggles she’s facing in getting networks to support the project.
A lot of networks read the script and loved it, but they either thought there wasn’t an audience for it or that it already existed. Of course I became extremely frustrated because I knew neither of those things were true. So I realized I had to show these network executives that TWENTIES was one of a kind and that there was nothing on TV like it. And I figured the best way to do that was to shoot a pilot presentation, which meant we would shoot a few pivotal scenes from the script, edit them together, and give people a sense of how the show would look and feel. Lucky for me, Justin Simien (writer/director DEAR WHITE PEOPLE) offered to direct it and Flavor Unit was willing to pay for it. Now I had the opportunity to show people what I was going for instead of trying to explain it to them. My plan wasn’t just to show it to executives, but to show it to the world so that the people could have a voice in this as well. And just so we’re clear: this is not a web series! I repeat this is not a web series. Not that there’s anything wrong with doing a web series. I’ve done one. My goal is to partner with a network that understands what I’m going for.
Waithe, like Lena Dunham, based this story off of her own experiences in her twenties and explains why the stories she’ll tell here are universal.
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 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.
So what does Waithe want from us? Well, you’ll be happy to know you don’t have to open up your wallets.
The good news is I don’t want your money. There’s no Kickstarter or IndieGoGo attached to this project. All we want you to do is commit to sharing TWENTIES with twenty of your friends. The more you spread the word the better chance we have of getting it on TV. We’ll keep pitching. You keep sharing. Let’s do this!
You can read the rest of Waithe’s interview over at Shadow and Act.
Take a look at the pilot presentation on the next page.