I’ve had the idea of doing a web series in my head for quite sometime. When people started producing more and more original content on the web back in 2011, I remember saying to myself, “I can totally do that.” Not throwing shade at anyone who was doing their thing, just saying that a web series would be something that was up my alley. Still, at that time, the timing wasn’t right. I was still living in Brooklyn and barely making ends meet and there wasn’t any clear storyline in my head that I needed to share at that point.
Fast forward a few years and I now live and work as an English teacher in South Korea. Over the last year my freelance writing has picked up and I have more free time, and disposable income to do the things that I want and need to do. After some brainstorming I decided to do a show that was focused on my experiences being African-American in Korea, that is how Black Girl in the ROK was born.
You know, it’s such a simple concept but it just works. Being African-American in South Korea is something that very few people know about and/or can relate to. As far as I know, something like this has never been done before, making it the perfect thing for me to do! This whole explosion of independent content that is happening right now is so exciting on so many levels. Never before has it been easier for people to produce their own original content. It used to be the only way to get things done was by going to one of the big wig places and practically begging and hoping that they liked what you had to offer. That’s not the case anymore and thank god for that!
As we all know, it’s so hard for people of color to get accurate portrayals of themselves out their on television and in the media. Sometimes it feels like if it’s not our vision, we’re just relegated to being supporting cast to the often times white, main character. Things are changing and we do have more shows with black people at the forefront, but a lot of those shows are mainly reality television shows. And as we can all see, while women in those types of shows exist, they aren’t the only version of black women out there, though sometimes looking at television, it seems as if they are. It’s not that I have a problem with the representations that are out there of us, it’s that I have a problem that those seem to be the only ones that are seen on the regular.
That is why independent television and web series are so great. Television is important ya’ll. The world is big and sometimes people’s only interactions and impressions of a culture or a group of people are what they see on television. If more people of color have more control over their image and the type of content that is produced about them, then that means there will be better, more varied images of people of color out there in the world.
Honestly, I am kind of fed up with the way black people are portrayed in movies and on television. We’re not all Basketball Wives or Tyler Perry characters, we are as complex as anyone else. There are so many more different life experiences out there and I want to showcase that with my work. I have a degree in theater that I never use. When I was a little girl I wanted to be an actress so bad. But when I got older I was disenchanted with the opportunities available to African-American women. So I stopped acting for that and many other reasons.
But now I am in a different place than I was personally all those years ago. I’m more sure of myself and what I’m interested in and am willing to do. I think being in control of my own project is the best thing for me, not just because I’m a control freak, but also because I love the fact that I can see my ideas in bright lights! As a memoir writer I love telling my own stories but there is only so much magic that can happen on the page. I want to see things acted out in front of me, live action style!
Putting this project together has been quite the challenge. It’s hard work doing something like this AND holding down a full-time job. Writing the damn thing, was like the easiest part. Now comes the real work: getting a decent crew together, scouting for actors and locations, coming up with a schedule to shoot the thing, finding an editor,etc, etc. But I’m cool with the workload because I know it will all be worth it in the end.