"Black Folk Don't" Web Series Challenges Stereotypes

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Other common "Black folk don'ts" include behavior traits that point to not being "Black enough." For those of us raised in non-Black communities, our dialect (or lack thereof), our dress, our hair, and our preferred music signal that we don't belong. For me, it was my love of heavy metal and my group of white, male, metal-loving friends; my dress, my hair, my family (they're White); essentially, everything about me. For a friend of mine, it was her long, naturally wavy hair, patrician features, and upper-middle class neighborhood, which her grade-school classmates envied. For other Black female friends, it was their academic acheivement. The rejection from both Black and White communities was at times unbearable, and our experiences made it hard for us, now adults, to trust that anyone would love us for being ourselves.

When filmmaker Issa Rae began her extremely popular web series, The Misadventures of an Awkward Black Girl, it struck a chord. Black folks of all ages rejoiced as Rae articulated the trials and tribulations of people who were socially awkward and didn’t fit into stereotypical norms. On her Kickstarter web page, she wrote about why she started her project (which, by the way, was successfully funded):

"I created this series as an extension of my everyday experiences, as well as my friends. I wanted to change the perception and portrayals of black women in television by creating characters and storylines that moved beyond stereotypes and one-dimensionality."

Black Folk Don’t will hopefully have the same effect. By shedding some comedic light on cultural stereotypes we inflict upon each other, we might see how foolish it is to keep ourselves in boxes. We might start to not only celebrate our differences, but even find new aspects to life that we had been too afraid to explore.

Contributing EditorRace, Ethnicity & Culture

Blog: Writing is Fighting: www.lainad.typepad.com

Visit the Facebook page for my book, What Are You Doing Here? 


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