black

Almost 13 Reasons Why…(I hope you check out the latest from Black Girl in a Big Dress)

Yup! This is totally (in part) one of those hey-I-did-a-hing-and-maybe-you-can-check-out-my-Indiegogo-please things! But I promise you it’s a good one!
Here’s what’s so great about Black Girl in a Big Dress, Season Two!
Proven Entity
We released Season One last fall to great success! 

Since then, we have grown our facebook group to almost 50K members, racked up more than 2 million views, and were nominated for a Webby Award. It’s been an amazing ride and I’m so proud of the work! 
 
When you join Team BGBD, you join a focused, successful group of professionals committed to continuing to make the great work that they are accustomed to making.

Black Girl in a Big Dress is also beginning her festival run next month at The International Black Film Festival in Nashville, and the Urban Mediamakers Film Festival in Atlanta! 

 
It’s Funny!
If you haven’t seen an episode yet, please check them out!
Our Perks are Great Way to Promo Your Projects
The BGBD community is large, growing every day, active, and they love finding new creators to get behind. By joining Team BGBD, you not only get the initial Social Media Shoutout, but we make it a point to support our fam with regular interactions that will help you grow your audience! Let’s help each other!!
It’s Not Just About Us
 
A portion of everything raised through this Indiegogo will be given to DonorsChoose.org, a great tool that allows the public to support teachers by helping them purchase needed items for their classrooms.
Life at home was challenging for me as a kid, and school was my safe haven. It was thanks to some amazing teachers that I found my creative voice–and the strength to pursue it–and I’m excited about being able to honour that in this way.
Great Community – Making Webseries Great Again
One of the things that I love most about the BGBD community is that it’s so big and has created room for everyone.
Like a lot of us, I’ve been pretty disillusioned with the state of affairs since November 2016 and I’ve definitely pushed some people away because of how different our political views are. It’s just too much sometimes.
Flash forward to November 2017 when I learned that a lot of people who voted for Trump also really like Jane Austen-style stories. Because of their support, I’ve been able to have conversations I never thought I’d have with people I would have assumed I had absolutely nothing in common with. It’s been a real growing experience for me and I’m so proud of BGBD for being able to appeal to so many people.
I figure if people on opposite sides of the ever-widening aisle can bond over crumpets and corsets, then there is some hope for us. I’m excited to connect with more and more people and I’m so excited that art can make that happen.
Diversity That’s Truly Diverse
There’s this really interesting thing that’s happening in the industry right now. On one hand, yes, I’m definitely hearing from more executives who are actively and specifically looking for writers of color to come on to their shows. On the other hand, when I turn up for these meetings, they often says things like “So, we’re doing an urban re-make of XYZ.” Or “We’re looking for the next Lena Waithe.” or “Tell us about growing up in the inner city.
While urban remakes are totally fine and Lena is an amazing talent and powerhouse, the black experience is just as wide and diverse as everyone else’s. That’s why I love this comment that someone left on BGBD’s youtube page:
I love that BGBD expresses more of the amazing variety of experiences that we all have to share!!
Woman-Led, Woman-Centric (and more about being truly diverse)
 
Another experience I’m having in good ol’ H-Town (No one calls Hollywood “Good Ol’ H-Town” do they? Well, they should!) is that yes, people want more and more stories about women, but similar to the race issue, there’s a feeling that the type of stories they’re looking for are rather particular.
I get a lot of requests for my female characters to be hyper dysfunctional, totally crass, etc. A lot of “Wouldn’t it be great if she was a sex addict–totally not one of those girls who’s trying to get married.” or “She should be totally just one of the guys, like we shouldn’t even know that she’s a woman per se.
Again, all that is super fine and I definitely like some shows with ladies like this in them. But I love being a little romantic, uncynical, and more playful than promiscuous. I love that the Black Girl in her Big Dress is truly feminist: She’s being herself, supporting her friends, and giving other women the space to be who they are–even if they’re not exactly like her.
Our team is also female-led, which is amazing to see. Myself, the directors, this season’s Editor, many of our sound mixers, some of our camera crew, hair and makeup, and the consultants working with me to get the clothes and period particulars correct are all women. And we’re a super diverse bunch of women who come from all backgrounds, races, sexualities, marital and kid statuses, and I LOVE having them all in the family.
Werk and Work
One of my big goals with my projects is to never do the Copy/Credit/Meals form of payment again. I want to honour the work, passion, and expertise that everyone is bringing to the table with money. I want my people to get paid.
Having worked on the studio side of things for 16 years, I’ve seen how hard it can be to hire someone if they exhibit the excitement to do the job, but don’t have gigs on their resume to show that they can. This goes double and triple for trying to hire people from underrepresented groups. I’ve definitely sat across from candidates who I KNOW can do the job, but they don’t have the on-paper cred that I can use to justify them to my bosses.
By paying my crew fairly, I hope to be able to give up-and-comers the opportunity to work more, and not have to turn down projects they’re passionate about in favour of less fulfilling work that at least comes with cash.
Did I Mention It’s Funny?
So much love and passion has gone into Black Girl in a Big Dress and based on the community feedback, I think it shows! We’d love love love for you to join the family. If you have a moment, please click the link below and see what works for you.
Other Ways to Help
If contributing isn’t for you just now, that’s totally ok!! Here are some other ways you can help us reach our goals:
Share this email with 1 or 2 people who share these values/hopes/dreams
Join us on YouTube and leave a comment there and share one of the videos.
Thank you!
Thank you thank you thank you for reading and considering Black Girl in a Big Dress!! Please let me know if you have any questions!

White (on the inside) Christmas!

Like everyone, Oreos have some time-honored and special holiday traditions. Get a taste of an Oreo-tastic holiday here!

Diary of a Mad Black White Woman – Chicken and Waffles and Shame

I wonder if this restauranteur would have understood.

Dear Diary,

I guess I had it coming.

I did break an Oreo rule and consent to having a late night dinner at the RBP hangout Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles. But I was in the company of four non-colors, I thought I was safe. I thought for sure that everyone would see me for who and what I really am.

Sam, Chris and Steve parked first and put our names in at the door. At Roscoe’s, you cannot take a table until all members of your party are there. I was still looking for a parking space with Jason, so we were the two lagging behind.

(Ugh! That means I was late–another RBP thing! Man was I off my game)

Jason and I finally got to the door and Sam went up to the host.

“Our party’s all here now.”

The boys stood in a semi-crescent shape and I was standing in the middle of them, feeling safe and secure and protected by my blanchetourage.

The host looked me right in the eye, pointed at me, smiled and motioned for me to come towards him.

“And what party are you with? How many are you?”

I looked back to the boys, dumbfounded…and then I realized.

He didn’t think I was an Oreo hanging out with comedians after a late night show. He thought I was…an RBP, waiting to go inside and meet more of colors for a late night transfat celebration.

Luckily Sam came to the rescue, as I was too shocked to speak, and answered for me.

“She’s with us. Like I said, we’re all here now.”

The gears slowly turned in the host’s head, but he finally got it. Just in case he was still unclear, I did ask him where the “loo” was and if he knew how close we were to the Getty, the Museum of Modern Art and  the Equestrian Center.

Working in restaurants can be really stressful–I’ve seen Hell’s Kitchen and Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares! So I suppose I can grant him some leniency. What are your best/worst restaurant experiences? Let us know in the comments!

Click here for the time I turned this sitch around to avoid a line. Or to see the time the gmail stepped over the line.

******

For Mor-eo Oreo: Follow The Oreo Experience on Twitter (@oreoexperience)
Leave a comment here or at any of the above and let us know what you think!

The Minority Report – Megamind

Rejoicing at his advanced tickets to For Colored Girls. He is of color, after all.

Welcome to The Minority Report–a super short Oreo-centric movie review.

Megamind

The minority population of Metrocity consists of  one black baby who has a black mother and two brown guys in prison. Wondering if one of them is the baby daddy.

Also, there is apparently only one woman worth falling in love with in the whole city.

Questions: What do you think of characters who are not traditional colors. Like Mr. Mind. Does making someone blue (or green or magenta or an animal or whatever) remove/augment/affect ethnicity at all? Any funny, goofy ethnic actors come to mind who could have played Mega…or any of the other roles for that matter?

Oreo Interviews – Dale, grocery store owner

Grocery cartEvery once in a while, I have the chance to talk with people who really remind me why I’m fighting so hard for my Oreodom. I stumbled across my latest interview quite by accident. 

I was researching famous black actor Steppin Fetchit. Mr. Fetchit changed the course of life for African Americans everywhere by condoning what ruling class performers were already doing in minstrel shows by becoming a minstrel who came already blackfaced. Instead of presenting himself as an intelligent, upwardly mobile human, he presented himself as a shuffling, idiotic, infantile man. And in so doing, became the first African American millionaire.

His legacy forever altered the way of colors were seen on TV.

Naturally, this is the kind of material a good Oreo should watch over and over again just to keep the self loathing fresh and on hand.

When I googled “step n fetch”–the term that was ultimately derived from his name to describe a certain type of behavior and persona, I found a variety of businesses who use the name.

The first one I was able to contact was Step N Fetch Um Grocery in a small town in Oklahoma.

Because it’s rare to find a business who so blatantly reminds its customer base what the average Oreo is fighting against, I knew I had to speak to the owner  to thank him for justifying my fight. Below is the transcript of some of the highlights of the conversation.

OW: …I actually found your business because I was looking for some information on the actor Stepin Fetchit. Do you know that is?

Dale: Mmm, no. I never…I heard about it, but I don’t know–

OW: –Who he is?

Dale: Ahh, I don’t know any details on it. I just…Somebody has–they’ve asked several times and I tell them “I don’t know.”

OW: Oh really? People have asked about it before? What do they say?

Dale: They just asked me if I come up with that name, I say “no.”

Dale then explained to me that the name was actually created by his business partner who unfortunately passed away quite some time ago. Dale bought the business from his partner’s wife and kept the store and the namesake.

OW: Have you ever looked up who Stepin Fetchit is?

Dale: Mmm, no. In fact, though, last year, one of the school kids, I guess they were studying something in school and they asked me about it.

OW: You guys should look up the actor sometime, though, he’s really interesting. He was a black actor in the first part of last century, which was really groundbreaking at the time. But he kind of created the sort of character that a lot of black characters are in movies today. He was kinda dumb and very much like “yes, missa, lemme do that fo’ ya  missa,” like evoked that kind of persona. Which, I don’t know. I’ve heard that some people get offended by that. Have you heard that?

Dale: Yeah. I’ve heard some of it. It’s kinda like …and I don’t know if you remember this or not, but do you remember Sidney Poitier, he played with–he was the first black cowboy I’d ever seen. 

OW: What was he like?

Dale: He was great. He was a real good actor.

OW: Sidney Poiter was an amazing actor. Did he play the same kind of character that Stepin Fetchit did? Like the kind of dumb guy?

Dale: No, he played one of the main characters.

OW: That’s great. Good thing you didn’t name your business after Sidney. That would have been an awkward homage.

We talked movies for a bit, before returning to the topic at hand.

Dale: It’s interesting that people bring this up every once in a while. Evidentially, it must be back in the history books.

OW: Are they upset or bothered?

Dale: No, they just ask about it and I tell them my partner made it up.

OW: Was your partner black by any chance?

Dale: No. He was from down eastern Oklahoma.

OW: When people ask about the business name, are they upset or concerned or do they like it?

Dale: I had one lady who said “Well, that’s kinda offensive.” I said “Well, I dunno. Not that I know of.”

OW: She asked if you thought it was offensive and you said you didn’t know.

Dale: Yeah, it was somebody from out of town. It wasn’t nobody–

OW: Oh, she wasn’t from your town?

Dale: No. Huh-uh.

OW: Was she black?

Dale: Uh, she was part. But she was asking me about this and I said “I don’t know!” 

OW: Well, I mean, why would you konw. And why would you go look it up? That’s a lot of time to take.

Dale: Well, a lot of people get curious on stuff like that. I’m not a great big history buff. It doesn’t concern what we’re going through. If it doesn’t affect us now, I don’t really worry about it. That was 40 or 50 years ago.

OW: Yeah, stuff that happened 40 or 50 years ago does not affect what’s going on today. 

Dale: It’s like my ancestors. They came over here from Switzerland. 

OW: I love skiing. Do you get to go skiing very much?

Dale: My granddad used to talk about fighting over horse biscuits in the street.

OW: Horse biscuits?

Dale: Horse poop.

OW: Oh! Those kinds of horse biscuits.

Dale: They had to use it for burning over there. I thought that was kind of hard to believe, but like this other stuff, it doesn’t have anything to do with what’s going on today. 

OW: That does sound like the same issue as Stepin Fetchit’s dubious legacy.

Dale: Yeah, because we don’t have to put up with it. 

OW: Yeah, don’t have to put up with fighting for fuel in the streets. Don’t have to put up with terrible images of black people in movies.  It’s all better.

Dale: Yes.

Dale went on to tell me how he grew up mostly around Native Americans. He even had a black friend in high school. 

OW: So, because you grew up around so many minorities, do you feel a connection to the cultures?

Dale: Oh yes! They had the same problems that we did.

OW: Exactly the same problems. 

Now, I understood. That connection that he so proudly proclaimed clearly explained why he didn’t waste any time figuring out if the name of his business was offensive or at the very least, outdated.  

OW: Now, are there very many people of color in your town?

Dale: I’ve got one sitting right here.

OW: Well, congratulations.

Dale: Do you want to talk to him?

And that’s when the conversation became terrifying. Not just because I was chatting with another of color–if any other Oreos would have seen me, I’d be chastised for sure, but because of what he told me mere second into the conversation.

 OW:  I’m a little intrigued by the grocery store Step N Fetch Um. Are you a regular here?

RBP: Oh yes.

OW: Do you like the name?

RBP: Yeah! Ain’t nothing wrong with this name. We still have to step and fetch it!

Well, technically not since 1865, but who’s counting?

OW: Do you know the actor Stepin Fetchit?

RBP: I know all that, but if you leave the name alone, it’ll be okay.

OW: Did you like his work? Did you think he was funny?

RBP: Yeah, he was funny. 

OW: So you’ve seen very many of his movies.

RBP: I’ve seen practially all of them. 

So I guess Tyler Perry is on to something, after all. 

OW: Well, thank you. I am off to go shine some shoes and serve some lunch, I will talk to you guys later. 

RBP: Okay, bye.

Please enjoy the following clip of Stepin in action. (Just in case it’s not clear, Step is the lazy man in bed who can’t get up, is fascinated by the telephone, can barely get his words out, and happily admits to being 11 months behind on rent)


Oreo Outrage Over Ointment

A friend sent me this video this weekend and I was horrified. The ad is for skin whitener and it features a fair skinned man telling his friend that in order to get the girl/job/general symbol of success, he needs to lighten his skin.

What an upsetting piece of advertising!

The whitening should come from within.

Bleaching your skin is just cheating. It’s a final step only if and when one achieves true Oreodom through actions, thought repression and penance. When the rest of the world accepts you fully as one of their own despite your overabundance of melanin, then and only then can you complete your transformation. Until then, the efforts of your blood sweat and tears you cry to yourself with when no one else is looking will shine through and make you seem white without the crutch of a cream.

Diary of a Mad White Black Woman – I Guess I Really Should Have an IPod Anyway

Dear Diary,

Sad news.

After bringing it into the theater to provide a selection of ambient classical music while I prepared for my Neil LaBute showcase, my CD case went missing.

Gone are my collections of the American musical. No more are my ATB German electronica CDs. Au revior to my Mozart arias, my Bach sonatas, my Shostakovichian overtures in all their festivity.

But the truth is, those collections are basically replaceable.

Less replaceable, a CD that got me through some of my darkest days. A CD, given to me by a friend with whom I am no longer in contact, that always picked me up when I was low, put a spring in my step where there was none and gave me the strength to journey on.

The Georgetown Chimes.georgetown-logo

Ahh, the Chimes. The premier all-male a capella group from the school that graduated President Bill Clinton, America’s Next Top Model contestant Sara Albert and a host of other notables,  Georgetown University.

These 10 – 14 masculine voices blend in perfect harmony to bring classic songs to renewed and brilliant life. Nevermind what they do with timeless folk songs like Danny Boy and Loch Lomond, it’s what they do with traditionally ethnic music that makes my heart skip a beat. Motown and Do Wop just don’t truly resonate until they’re sung by a baker’s dozen of boarding school bred boys.

As the CD came from a friend whose contact info I no longer posses and not from amazon.com, the dulcet sounds of The Chimes will have to ring on in my head and never again through my car stereo. I will have to Hoya Hoya Saxa it alone.

Goodbye, boys. I shall miss you dearly.

Lie down forever, lie down, my friends

Lie down. Forever lie down.