OpenTV’s webseries, Brown Girls, is headed to a Home Box Office channel near you. The grassroots online show narrates the lives of varying women of color, with a focus on the queer community and the gritty, fly of everything that is Chicago.
The series’ home is Chi-town, which is why co-creator Samantha Bailey admits that she believed “people in Chicago would be down for it.”
Representation plays a major role in the entire series for the other half of the show’s creative team, Fatimah Asghar. She reveals that when they pitched to HBO, she wanted to transfer the Windy City’s “mercurial, resourceful, and sly” atmosphere to our living room screens.
Reiterating the “resourcefully fly” tendencies embedded in each character, Asghar reassures, “We don’t want a show that is flashy and smooth. We want a show that is gritty. That has this kind of realness to it.”
For obvious reasons as simple as the title, the duo wanted Chicago to be portrayed from a woman’s point of view. From ensuring that all, but one, of the artists featured in the Brown Girls’s playlist were Chicago-based to filming in the Illinois city, they’ve pretty much achieved their goal. Humbling themselves, Asghar denotes their success to the triumph of Issa Rae.
“I don’t think we could be possible without Issa Rae,” Asghar begins, “Without Issa, and all the things she did to knock doors open, people would not have looked at us or taken us seriously. She kind of paved the way for us and we can do that for other folks. I hope we can do that for other girls. I hope that it can continue to happen to the point where we have such an abundance of different races on screen and people don’t feel like one show has to represent everything—it can represent a specific story of a specific individual.”
And we couldn’t be more thankful to Issa Rae for her inspiration. From Brown Girls’ soundtrack, to its authentically complex melanated characters, we could only hope for nothing less than the success that equates Issa Rae’s Insecure.