An award winning black playwright and screenwriter walks into a studio executive’s office one day — stop me if you’ve heard this one — to pitch this idea for a new sci-fi/horror show.”I’ve got this great idea for a sci-fi television series,” the playwright says. The executive grins. “Sci-fi? Cool. Let me hear more.” The guy describes the series as a story about 5 black men who think – “whoa, whoa, wait,” the executive says. “Five black, what?” The playwright repeats that the series is about five black men and one black woman at the center of an alien invasion.
The executive pauses for five seconds while he looks this guy in the face to determine whether he has lost his mind. Then he takes two additional seconds to scan the room for any cameras belonging to Michael Moore or the latest iteration of Smile, You’re on Candid Camera. The coast is clear so he goes all executive mode on the dude and spits out some statistics about how the sci-fi genre is made of an army of white males from the age of 13 and 49. And, he heavily implies that they hate black people, don’t want to see them in any sci-fi show without a white guy as the clear hero, oh and no one else – black, latino, Asian, — likes sci fi more than these very same white guys so you can forget anyone else wanting to watch this… series.
Ah, that was fun.
Although, I’m totally embellishing the story according to this post by said award winning black playwright and screenwriter Keith Josef Adkins this did, in fact, happen. That’s the bad news.
The good news is Mr. Adkins has decided to join the movement of black filmmakers across the world who have decided to OCCUPY YouTube. Apparently, he has raised about $7,000, put together a crew and is about to start shooting at the end of July.
I alluded to YouTube’s plan to attract celebrity level talent in Blogaboutech Mixtape, v. 2 so I’ve had my eye on this. At the time it was reported that YouTube was investing $100 million to attract big name talent to create original programming. However, I never anticipated that they would swell with so many talented black actors and filmmakers (and I doubt that was their intention).
In one year alone I have watched some excellent web series (which I intend to write more about in the coming weeks) like 12 Steps to Recovery, The Couple, Osiris, The Number, Thank God it’s Monday, She Got Problems, Allison is Having a Really Bad Day. And, I can’t wait for the Lance Reddick production Drone. Michael Jai White will be reprising his role as Jax in the second season of Mortal Kombat: Legacy. Nigerian actor, martial artist and director Joey Ansah (Bourne Ultimatum) is shooting a web series called Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist which will release in 2013. And, now today’s news about The Abandon.
I am really excited to see this continue to grow and I’m even more excited to see black artists embracing this independent spirit and going H.A.M. with their own visions. This movement reminds me of rap music in the 1980’s. I’ve said it a million times: Once black people become focused on something (tennis, golf, music, fashion) we change it.
This is the beginning of something BIG… and historical. You heard it here.