When I hear phrases like, “this show didn’t do it this way,” or “you’ve got to do it this way first.” How about this one, “we’ll just wait and see if it works out for you” – that means, we’re on board if it works out but if it doesn’t, we might not say it, but we’re thinking “I told you so.” I hear what they’re saying, I jot down a few bullet points, question why people are so quick to think the worst and I keep it moving.
After I go through those rituals, in which I have to go through a lot in this industry, I go to my television and I find a recording of an Oprah Winfrey’s Life or Master Class shows and I watch, sometimes several in one sitting. Sometimes, I just surf the web and read stories about people who are trending because they chose not to be followers and traveled the road less taken, or better yet, paved their own road.
I found that article today about a young lady that I’ve followed since I was first introduced to her work, “The Misadventures of an Awkward Black Girl” back in 2011. I remember reading an article about her, possibly in The Huffington Post, where she described how she felt like her voice was missing and decided to do something about it. She didn’t have deep pockets. She didn’t have backers with deep pockets. She didn’t have a studio executive picking up her idea and signing her to a nine-episode deal. And, she didn’t have a roadmap to follow that was drawn by someone who decided to branch out on their own and produced and distributed their own content on the internet. What she did have was a heart for what she wanted to do, a belief in herself and thus, the power to succeed.
Not only did Issa Rae find herself at the helm of a successful run of the show on the internet, but because it was so successful, she also found herself being praised in the New York Times for her work, offered to host a show on Pharrell Williams’ YouTube channel, and, by the way, this is a big AND, she ended up collaborating on a pilot with Shonda Rhimes. That’s a win-win situation. The show they collaborated on didn’t get picked up but Issa Rae kept it moving. She still has content on the web, she’s writing a book and more.
So, Issa Rae is my inspiration for this part of my journey. The article that I read, “Between Ratchet And Bougie: Black Creatives Discuss The State of Black Women On TV” by Rhonesha Byng at The Huffington Post is now a part of my personal motivation file and has given me self-assurance that the reality show I’ve created, “On The Rise” is one that I will not give up on.
Here’s the link to the article if you want to check it out: