From Black Kungfu Chick To Yemi’s Dilemma: Upcoming Projects About Black Women By Black Women
When it comes to the issue of diversity in entertainment, we think of inclusion. As in more women directors, more actors of color and people of color in every facet of the industry, not just on screen. But diversity is rarely applied to the kinds of stories we tell and support. Stories that go beyond typical settings and eras, stories that present alternatives to the norm, oppose a monolithic view of blackness and reflect the array of beauty within the diaspora. That’s why I want to share the following projects with you, created by four amazingly talented Black women whose work upholds the importance of Black perspectives in film, television and beyond.
Sade Oyinade, senior producer of TV One’s Unsung and Unsung Hollywood, is in the middle of crowdfunding her second short film, Yemi’s Dilemma. You may have seen her first short, Who Do You Know? on ASPIRE TV during their ABFF Independent series. In Yemi’s Dilemma, the writer/producer/director presents three first-generation Nigerian-American sisters whose family is torn apart by an impending wedding. The sisters, though proud of their heritage, relate more to American culture, a fact that leads to clashes within their family, particularly among their parents. For better or worse, their family dynamic will forever be changed after one of them says “I do.”
When asked about what inspired her to bring this story to life, Oyinade stated that she wants to present audiences with a view of the different pressures and challenges that come with being a first-generation Black American whose parents come from African nations. Sade hopes to open peoples’ eyes and present a subset of American culture that often goes unnoticed and is often underrepresented in film.
Writer/director Rae Shaw, fresh off the heels of her supernatural feature film, The Repass, is currently in the beginning stages of crowdfunding her web series, Black Kungfu Chick. A huge kung fu fan, Shaw combined her love of martial arts with her love of community outreach and teaching to create what will be a 10-part dramedy web series with a Black adolescent character as the lead. This character, Tasha, hails from South Central, Los Angeles. She is both highly inquisitive and highly protective of the people she loves. Over time, she learns kung fu from her science teacher, Mr. Jian, who encourages her not to fight but to protect herself and those around her.
There are so few series with a Black adolescent character as lead, particularly a young Black woman straddling that challenging time in between youth and adulthood. Black Kungfu Chick will also get in on its action by concurrently presenting a comic that expands on Tasha’s adventures in and around South Central.
Twin sisters Shawneé and Shawnelle Gibbs thrive in the comic world and recently raised over $17,000 that will go towards the first two issues of The Invention of E.J. Whitaker, their steampunk comic adventure. Heavily influenced by Tananarive Due and Octavia Butler since childhood, the Gibbs sisters have said that their comic is a combination of science, romance, and adventure with an Industrial Age slant.
The heroine of this epic tale is a brilliant young woman named Ada Turner, an inventor’s apprentice who creates a flying machine and takes on a pseudonym in order to have her work taken seriously.
The Gibbs sisters have been creating comics and animated series for years, including Adopted By Aliens, Old Ladies Driving, Sule and the Case of the Tiny Sparks and their YA comedic travel series, Fashion Forward.
Yemi’s Dilemma, Black Kungfu Chick and The Invention of E. J. Whitaker are all female-driven stories that feature diverse, inspirational and unapologetic women. Told via multicultural perspectives and multiple genres, these stories have a little something for everyone, and we’re looking forward to them all.