There has yet to be another Awkward Black Girl since the watershed web series wrapped in early 2013, but - in 2015 - the web is flooded with new short-form series starring strong, flawed and unapologetic black women. While network television has its Olivias and Mary Janes, the Internet boasts a more appealing palette of black women. From typecast actresses to interracial dating to being black and broke in the city, web series have it covered in 2015. For Harriet has been the go-to guide in what to watch when it comes to POC and WOC in web series. Featured is a compilation of their more recent recommendations and their addictive first episodes.
Black Actress is the first web series to explore the struggles that black actresses face in a darkly humorous and honest way; from type casting to competitiveness to the limited roles. Our girl Hazel from Degrassi: TND, Andrea Lewis, acts as creator and producer of the show, as well as playing lead character Kori Bailey. In an interesting twists, episodes are bookended with docu-style vignettes with familiar Black actresses, such as Essence Atkins and Reagan Gomez (who famously produced her own web series last year Almost Home).
Network/Cable Series Equivalent: 50% UnReal, 50% Girls
Why For Harriet says you should watch: The caliber of WOC in the industry attached. Women like Tatyana Ali and Essence Atkins going in-depth on the nature of the industry and Andrea Lewis is "a pleasure to watch."
This light and instantly lovable anti-rom-com series features two black women navigating the scary, scary world of app dating. The real secret weapon here is powerhouse writer/producer Lena Waithe, hot off of her last web series Twenties. Hello Cupid follows two best friends, Whitney and Robin, and their mishaps in online dating.
Network/Cable Series Equivalent: Sex And The City
Why For Harriet says you should watch: It's all about Lena. She is masterfully creating "believable, interesting characters and dialogue". As one of the leading black storytellers on the bubble of success, her latest is true-to-life and impeccably produced. Like Twenties, it's another series worthy of a full-length primetime or cable reimagining.
Drty Diana is the dark comedy taking on black millennial angst. Cassi Maddox stars as the flawed and complicated Nyaomi, a mid-twenties alternative chick trying to get her life together. The overall synopsis is steeped in mystery but the titular character is real and black womanhood has never looked this rebellious.
Network/Cable Series Equivalent: Being Mary Jane
Why For Harriet says you should watch: Maddox’s portrayal of Nyaomi/Diana. She's deadpan, brooding to a fault, and consistently problematic. She even opens the first episode narrating "It’s not that I want to kill myself, because I don’t. But if something were to happen to me, I wouldn’t be sad about it, you know?'"
ACKEE & SALTFISH
Ackee & Saltfish is inspired by a short film of the same name. The series follows quirky besties Olivia and Rachel as they... actually don’t really do all that much. But yet the chemistry is infectious and the humor is bingeworthy. The dialogue is snappy and Emeke’s witticisms feel so fresh, it's hard to find anything else on the web (or on television) like Ackee & Saltfish.
Network/Cable Series Equivalent: Literally like nothing else on TV. Just watch!
Why For Harriet says you should watch: Emeke’s dialogue, without a doubt. It's refreshing and offbeat, but also comfortingly familiar. Plus their British background adds a fun "flavour" rarely seen in minority-led web series.
THE PECULIAR KIND
The Peculiar Kind is a gritty experimental and docu-style series that looks into the lives and experiences of queer women of color with candid and unscripted conversations. LGBTQ or not, every woman in this series is smart as hell and flawlessly beautiful in her own way. There's something here for everyone.
Network/Cable Series Equivalent: The Real L Word
Why you should watch: The series boasts an impressive guest cast, including an appearance from Odd Future’s Syd Tha Kyd, "one of the most prominent Black lesbians in music today". Beyond the series, the brand is also expanded with extra episodes and a documentary as well.
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When it comes to web series, what are your faves ONTD?