By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act December 19, 2011 at 10:03PM
Continuing on as promised with the S&A toasts proposals to, as I stated in the first honoree post last week Friday, all the brave, passionate black men, women and institutions in this ruthless, monocratic industry we cover here on S&A, who were, as the late Steve Jobs put it in that famous ad for Apple, the crazy ones.
The second 2011 toast goes to the black web series!
Maybe it's just me, but, given how often I received emails throughout the year, alerting me to the existence of a new web series from black content creators, centered on stories about black people, I'd say this was definitely the year of the black web series.
Not that there weren't any before 2011, however, I noticed a proliferation of them this year, and across just about every genre. What I applaud and appreciate most about this is that it tells me that black filmmakers (or content creators, as the zeitgeist demands that I call them) are realizing and exploiting the technology currently available to almost anyone, as the *process* is no longer one that's exclusive to those with wealth, or access to wealth.
There are no more excuses. The box has been smashed, and the means of production, distribution and exhibition, sufficiently democratized, are now far more accessible than they were as recently as 10 years ago.
Of course, they all won't succeed, depending on how each creator defines success; however, a few will standout from the deluge, and then go on to bigger and better things, whatever those things might be.
I expect this trend, if you will, to continue into 2012, and beyond, as content creators claim their independence, free of restraints that previously limited their creative expressions, free to be bold and daring, to take risks, to experiment. So, if you're one of those who has been lamenting the lack of variety with regards to representations of black people on screens (primarily film and TV), I suggest you look to the web, where you'll find the diversity in representations that's long been lacking elsewhere.
So, a toast to those of you who are no longer just talking about doing "IT," but who are actually taking control and doing "IT," and doing "IT" well.
And also congratulations goes to those who are being recognized for doing "IT," staring with undoubtedly the most notable web series success of the year, Issa Rae's Awkward Black Girl.
Others we've featured in 2011 as regular serials on Shadow And Act include Donnie Leapheart's Osiris, Pete Chatmon's Queen Hussy, Angela Tucker's Black Folks Don't, and a few others.
So with the 4 titles I just mentioned, you've got the quirky comedy, the sci-fi thriller, the raunchy period piece, and the documentary series, all created by and starring people of African descent. Like I said, variety; You're not going to see any of that on television.
And there's a lot more where those came from.
Lastly, I'd be remiss if I didn't also toast the organizations that support these web series, like the Rockstone Foundation (RFI) and Black Women’s Entertainment Network (BWE) $10,000 web series writing contest, which was highlighted here on Shadow And Act. With the winners already announced a few months ago, I expect we'll be talking about their new web series sometime in 2012 or beyond.
As I said in last week Friday's post, you've all taken risks; and as is the case with all risk, reward isn't always certain. But at least, you took the risk. And sometimes risk IS rewarded; occasionally, the reward is far beyond what those who took the risk likely expected (see Issa Rae's Awkward Black Girl as an example); and I (and I'm sure countless others) certainly hope the trend continues, as more of you become increasingly aware of and claim your own independence, collectively positioning yourselves as veritable challenges to the industry status quo.
A toast and cheers to you all!
I'll be back tomorrow, Tuesday, for the 3rd Shadow And Act 2011 toast proposal.