'Brown Girls' Producer Sam Bailey Talks Post-#OscarsSoWhite Vibes + Budding Show Hype [Interview]
Photo of Sam Q. Bailey taken by Jordan Phelps.
For all of the calamity that took place in 2016 (fuck you, 2016!) — there was a lot of changes in traditional and non-traditional media that needed to be applauded. Spurn on—some would say—by April Reign‘s #OscarsSoWhite viral jab to the gut, Hollywood and the creative powers that be have lowered their golden gates for new shows from black creatives such as Issa Rae (Insecure), Donald Glover (Atlanta), Ava DuVernay (Queen Sugar) and Cheo Hodari Coker (Luke Cage).
Applause and ratings for these shows have been overwhelming as people have begun to believe that “black is back” on the small screen. While we need a few more years (seasons) to see how true that is — an upcoming Chicago-based web series is sticking to the independent roots while branching out and impacting the populace with stories focused on an audience not always considered by the Nielsen ratings.
Here’s where Sam Q. Bailey enters into the picture. The brainchild behind You’re So Talented, an equally popular web series based out of the Windy City, she has joined with friend-and-fellow-creative Fatimah Asghar to create Brown Girls. The buzz worthy series is centered around two young women of color, Leila (played by Nabila Hossain) and her best friend, Patricia (Sonia Denis). The former is a South Asian-American writer on the brink of owning her queerness and the latter is a “sex-positive” black American musician struggling to commit to anything.
It has the makings of an intersectional, sex-positive version of the Odd Couple without all of those trite jokes from the ’50s. Instead, Brown Girls takes the real-life friendship between Fatimah Asghar and the show’s music consultant (and ambassador of all things #BlackGirlMagic) Jamila Woods and extends it female-centric vibes to the cast (most being women, people or color and/or queer) and crew (95 percent are women).
With that in mind, we reached out to producer Sam Q. Bailey to talk about Brown Girls burgeoning hype, share a little light on Jamila Woods and Lisa Mishra‘s Brown Girls theme song (listen to it below!), how she feels about Hollywood post-#OscarsSoWhite and how the show can expand the conversation of intersectional feminism in television. Enjoy!