The current social climate has taken on a new form of racially tense considering the connectivity that the internet has provided. More than ever are we aware of discriminatory events and are quick to pounce on them on our social channels. The representation of race and ethnicity has become exclusive to 140 characters to some people. It is a jarring thought but with the uptick in racial sensitivity and insensitivity we have had the fortunate growth of storylines representing people of color in more ways than one.
TV, Film and Streaming services have bolstered their storylines that feature characters of color in leading roles. In a recent article by Fast Company Fatimah Asghar and Sam Baily creators of the web series Brown girls spoke about their quest to make a show as brown as possible. Asghar told Fast Company:
"When I was first starting to write this, I was thinking about how I don't often see friendships between women of color of different racial backgrounds represented in film and TV,"
Their show features two main characters of different ethnicities and religions humorously navigating through life. There isn’t one white extra in the series either. Brown Girls Co-Creator Baily made a great comment as she outlined how they developed the show:
‘This is what being a white person must feel like—you get to see so many different versions of yourself.’ And we get to add that narrative. We're not trying to be the voice of young black and brown women. We're just trying to add to the voices that are there because all of them are valid."
Queen Sugar, Insecure, Blackish and Atlanta can all be included in those relative voices. More and more we are seeing diverse narratives on major platforms. Are they taking a leap into a new frontier? No, but they are displaying actual and relatable stories for brown, black and tan folk of all ages. Take Netflix’s series Chewing Gum and their much anticipated series adaptation of the movie Dear White People. Both are tongue and cheek but they add to that narrative.
The film Moonlight not only took home the highest award at the Oscars this year (in a controversial way unfortunately) but told a story pertinent to young black men around the world. While Hidden Figures may have been begrudgingly snubbed by the Oscars, the film is an inspirational account of African American women with pioneering careers in N.A.S.A that is now inspiring girls everywhere.
It is naïve to say that we are in a better more aware world and not pivot to the rather heartbreaking things that have occurred due in part to race. In a small way however the shows and series we binge on HBO and Netflix will someday be a representation of people of color to young boys and girls. (…like seriously, it will) Are we comfortable with the depictions of our past as we move forward?
I am optimistic of what new accounts of our world and our voices will be created but this is just a silver lining to the shit cake that is America at the moment.