Open TV is a Chicago-based beta platform for “original series about independent art and artists.” While this may sound like your standard production company, Open TV is different because they focus on stories told by artists who are queer, trans, and people of color. In its first year alone, Open TV has given us original queer series like Two Queens In A Kitchen and Been T/Here. Both of these shows address life, politics and self-care among queer communities of color with a refreshing honesty most TV writers aren’t afforded.
This morning, they dropped the trailer for Brown Girls, their latest web series in 2017. The synopsis:
Brown Girls is a series putting the stories of two young women of color front and center. Leila is a South Asian-American writer just now owning her queerness. Patricia is a sex-positive Black-American musician who is struggling to commit to anything: job, art and relationships etc. While the two women come from different backgrounds, their friendship is ultimately what they lean on to get through the messiness of their mid-twenties
Directed by Sam Bailey and written by Fatimah Asghar, Brown Girls promises to be a triumph of queer, intersectional, and brown-based storytelling. The trailer alone tackles topics like eating ass and being single forever while brown ladies kiss each other and moms judge disappointing roti recipes. Looking at the credentials of those involved, there’s little doubt that Brown Girls was created with mindful intentions and purpose. Creator and director Bailey handpicked the team behind the series and said of Brown Girls, “When I was putting the crew together, I really focused on making sure that the people behind the camera represented the story they were telling in front of the camera.”
While major shows like Queen Sugar and Jessica Jones have promised to have women direct every episode and take charge behind the scenes, it’s refreshing to see a web series get the opportunity to pull off this feat. “Our crew was probably 95% women, people of color and/or queer people. We got on set every day and the energy was just different. You could feel it. Everyone was so invested. It was personal for them and I think that comes through in the final product,” Bailey said of production. That energy shows in the trailer. 2016 has seen the expansion of black storytelling on major TV networks with shows like Insecure and Atlanta, but Brown Girls’ DIY attitude and background opens up the possibilities of experiences that can be shared.
“On the first page, where the characters are listed, Fati (the series’ writer) wrote: All of these characters are to be portrayed by people of color. Once we got into it, I was immediately drawn to how this story celebrated brown people and their unique relationships with one another. How often do we see that? Very rarely. I grew up in a neighborhood that used to be full of different POC so this story spoke to me on a personal level. I knew I wanted to explore those relationships and highlight them in a way that shows that while we’re not a monolith, we are worthy of complex depictions that show us laughing and crying and struggling and loving. All the things that white characters get to do on TV every day.-Bailey”
If that dedication to honest depictions of queer POC wasn’t enough, Brown Girls also features a soundtrack put together by Chicago-native Jamila Woods, whose music is all about #blackgirlmagic. Brown Girls debuts in March 2017 and you can check out the trailer below. Need something to tide you over until then? Check out Sam Bailey’s previous web series, You’re So Talented and Open TV’s full slate of queer-focused programming.