The Click: Web Watching for Black History
Welcome to The Click, where we curate the very best of Black entertainment on the InterWebs including digital series, vines and vlogs. Come back every Thursday and catch up on the who’s who and what’s what of alternative entertainment, as guided by writer, producer and web series creator Kozi Kyles of Myth Lab Entertainment. Think you’ve got a hot project? Find Kozi and tell her about it via @mythlabent. You can also send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In honor of Black History Month, I’m rounding up those web series and viral videos that aren’t afraid to tackle the tough and taboo racial issues still facing our community. From the humorous history lessons taught by “Ask A Slave” to the “Unwritten Rules” recount of racial stereotypes in the workplace, these are my five picks for this week’s watch list that I call: Black History Channel.
1. Ask A Slave
This pick is dedicated to all the confused souls (here’s looking at you Pat Buchanan and Michele Bachmann) and racist Internet trolls who’d like to rewrite history and suggest that slavery wasn’t such a bad deal after all. The comedy web series introduces us to the character Lizzie Mae, housemaid to George and Martha Washington, as she fields questions from modern-day tourists. The part of Lizzie Mae is played to perfection by the show’s creator/star Azie Mira Dungey and the cringe-inducing questions are based on the actress’s real-life experience working as a living history character. The comedic series manages not to trivialize slavery, but instead satirically skewers those who would like to downplay this devastating part of history.
Yellow, the new docu-series from Black & Sexy TV, offers a voyeuristic look at an often overlooked victim of colorism: the light-skinned Black man. Facing their own set of stereotypes and slights to their masculinity, series star Austen Jaye shows us just how these skin tone-based stigmas impact a man’s personal and dating life. (Note: Episode 1 contains nudity.)
3. The Unwritten Rules
Diversity Training has never been so entertaining. Described as “The Office with a twist,” Unwritten Rules examines the comedic and not so “post-racial” realities of African Americans in the workplace. Series creator Kim Williams based the show on her book 40 Hours and an Unwritten Rule, but I swear I could have been the source material for some of these episodes. Tackling issues that hit close to home for many of us, it’s no surprise that the popular series has over 1 million views and has been featured on several top web series lists.
4. The N-Word “Double Standard”
Franchesca Ramsey (aka Chescaleigh) is widely known for her viral video “Sh*t White Girls Say…to Black Girls” and the popular vlogger is back to enlighten folks on the one word they shouldn’t be saying to anybody. Ever. Following Madonna’s use of the N-word on Instagram, Chescaleigh took to the Interwebs to give her perspective on the use of the epithet by other races and debate what some people perceive as a double-standard.
5. Black Guy Breaks Into a Car
Speaking of double standards, check out this social experiment conducted by YouTubers Simple Misfits. The video explores the difference in reactions and consequences when a White man and a Black man both fake an attempted car break-in. The results are just another reminder of the persistence of racial stereotyping and inequality in the justice system.
About Kozi Kyles
Kozi Kyles is a Chicago-based content creator and senior-level marketing executive who co-founded Myth Lab Entertainment. Among her buzzworthy projects is the Video Vixen series, a send-up of African American female stereotypes in the media, and she is the mastermind behind “Human Resources,” an award-winning Webisode series featuring comic Lil Rel. Subscribe to her YouTube channel and follow her via Twitter at @mythlabent.