These Web Series Are Telling The Stories We Actually Need To Hear

Andreanna Hayes; photographed by Michael Beckert; produced by Sam Nodelman; produced by Yuki Mizuma.
While we’ve spent the past few years debating ourselves to death about the diversity being offered mainstream television, the internet has been offering solutions for this problem all along. Some of the most progressive and representative television programming, like Broad City and HBO’s Insecure have humble beginnings on YouTube as web-based series.
Free of network bureaucracies, timing obligations, and the insider status to even get a meeting, web series creators can make the shows they want to see, and we all benefit from it. They may not have budgets in the tens of millions, but web series can easily become an addicting part of our lives just like our favorite broadcast and streaming shows. In fact, The Verge has even suggested that web series are the new pilot.
BET recently acquired its first ever web series Brooklyn. Blue. Sky. and co-creator Dui Jarrod told me exactly why he avoided the pitch-a-pilot route. “They haven't seen how you tell stories,” he said. “To be able to put my resources and talent into the universe so that people can actually see the way I tell stories, the way I structure my web series, and the way I write is a more nuanced way of getting the attention of networks as opposed to just sliding them a script.” And it worked. Brooklyn.Blue.Sky. has become BET’s first acquired web series.
Bringing a story to life for millions of people to watch is a form of art. It’s a way to tell stories and express oneself through a medium that has evolved from theater and plays. Obviously, people on the margins, like Jarrod, who is Black, have things to say. Here are the creative web series that are well worth your time.
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Broke & Sexy
Black & Sexy TV is an entire web-based network that hosts a roster of original content that is worth every penny of the subscription fee. All of their shows focus on some aspect of the Black experience. Binge watch Broke & Sexy, one of their 2017 offerings, for only $6.99 a month.
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Refinery29’s very own Facebook original series is about Isobel, a woman who is exploring her blossoming bisexuality via a host of Airbnb guests renting out her spare room. It’s funny, raw, and female-focused.
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The newly acquired web series offers a new take on the love story. Dui Jarrod told me that it stands on its own because, “Web series (and series in general) love to deal with Black love from this point of two people that need to fight to stay in love with each other. But I wanted to tell a different type of love story where Blue and Sky’s creativity was the love story, not them two as people in a relationship.” The result is beautiful.
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Loosely Exactly Nicole
Comedian Nicole Byer’s show was originally aired on MTV and canceled after only one season. Less than six months later, Facebook announced it would be picking it up for a second season. The first episode has racked up 13 million views. I don’t think we can call that a downgrade at all.
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Brown Girls
Following in the footsteps of Insecure, the OpenTV series Brown Girls is headed to HBO for the full television treatment, according to ELLE, which premiered the show. It’s about the trials of two brown queer women in Chicago.