2:00 AM is for the poets. The lovers and the writers. The visionaries and the photographers. The painters and the overthinkers...and Bea Freeman, a college dropout, out-of-work artist and dreamer sitting at a roundtable in her living room taking shots of Malort. Set in the windy city of Chicago, You’re So Talented, doesn’t ooze black girl magic, there isn't a superwoman-esque protagonist, there’s just Bea Freeman dancing to the beat of her own drum.
The web series follows Bea (played by Sam Bailey) a Chicago-based artist who is figuring out her 20s and the drama that comes along with that while figuring out her next move. In the first season, we get an introduction to who Bea Freeman really is. We see that she’s an aspiring actress who’s easily discouraged as she puts her feet to the pavement looking for work after a gig unexpectedly fell through. We see that she’s just looking for love, but she ain’t beat for the male shenanigans as she owns her sexual power. We see a black girl rising to womanhood as she tries to define her art in her own voice. Bea Freeman has proven to be the next big spokeswoman for the carefree alternative black girl since Issa Rae as she tries to find her niche within the independent art industry where everyone’s trying to make it.
Now in its second season, You’re So Talented has been honored by the Tribeca Film Festival as part of their New Online Work Program and has been nominated for a Gotham Award in the Breakthrough Series - Short Film category. In a sit down with creator and actress Sam Bailey, we get a deeper glimpse into the character of Bea Freeman and more.
Who is the inspiration behind Bea Freeman's character?
Sam Bailey: Bea is a combination of myself and a lot of my friends. We're all artists in our 20s trying to figure out how to stay sane in this world. And Bea has a little bit of all of us in her.
Being the show's creator and the main character, would you say that there is more nonfiction in You're So Talented than fiction?
SB: It's probably equal parts fiction and nonfiction. Sometimes I'm writing from direct experiences, sometimes I'm writing from experiences I've witnessed people in my life go through. My background in writing has always been more autobiographical, though, so I think that comes through in You're So Talented.
Why do you feel her life is one that is relatable to hundreds of black girl millennials?
SB: I don't know if it's relatable to hundreds...maybe three. No, I'm kidding. I think it's relatable to black millennials because it is an AUTHENTIC story about a black millennial. Period. She's not perfect, she's not horrible, she's just a young person trying to navigate a world that's difficult sometimes. I think a lot of us fall into the middle area and it's rare to see portrayals of people of color who are just mediocre, right? Often, we see caricatures of ourselves — empty cardboard cutouts of black people and all we should aspire to be instead of real human beings dealing with the pitfalls of just trying to be a decent person.
For most web series with a black female protagonist we look for those "superwoman" qualities, but it seems Bea's life is one big ball of trial and error. There is so much authenticity in Bea's character. How important was it for you to portray Bea's character as she was?
SB: My mother died when I was 18 and my older sisters were grown/living their own lives by that time. I didn't have any representations of what it was like to be a young black woman navigating her early 20s, especially as an artist. I wasn't going to become a lawyer or a doctor—there was no Olivia Pope in my future. I got through my early twenties by straight up trial and error and long conversations with friends over Malort shots at night. When I decided to write this series I wanted to show a girl who didn't have it all together and in no way had all the answers. And I needed that girl to be black because I knew there was a void for that kind of representation. Awkward Black Girl was the only thing I had come across that was close to that and it gave me so much license to go out and add to the narrative of what black women (and people of color, in general) could be.
Bea and her sister are total opposites, but we often get glimpses of who her sister really is. Bea isn't afraid to succeed and fail, she's not afraid to admit she's lost, whereas her sister, although cut from the same cloth, appears to try hard to fit a particular image. Was this contrast intentional? What are your thoughts on it from a black woman standpoint?
SB: The contrast was definitely intentional. I knew the minute I was going to write a sister character that I wanted LaNisa Frederick to play her because she has a naturally strong yet vulnerable demeanor. Her character is intense in ways that Bea is not and vice versa. I wanted to show that black women are unique individuals—even when we come from the same place. I have two older sisters and each of us are living very different lives—no one is more authentic than the other, we're just different. I wanted to add to the representations of black women and I think having them be complete foils to each other was a successful way to do it.
Although they are such an odd couple, I believe that Bea and Rob could work. Do I foresee a potential relationship development between them?
SB: Mayhaps...mayhaps! I think Bea and Rob are in totally different places right now but they each have something the other wants. For Bea, she thinks Rob has this stability and sense of "having it all figured out." Rob thinks Bea is courageous and exciting. It makes for really hot sex...you have to watch to see if it makes for a good relationship.
Can we look forward to a season 3?
SB: You're So Talented is much more of a drama then it is a comedy. It definitely has comedy elements to it, but because it's not slapstick or "snackable," I think it's hard to have it continue to live in such a short format. As of right now, I haven't made any decisions, but it's definitely something on my mind.
You're 1/2 of a collective "Our Names Are Sam," that helped to create You're So Talented. Can you tell me more about the collective and what your aim is and why?
SB: Sam Lee is my creative partner and we came together when she signed on to help produce and provide original music for the series. Our partnership was a natural evolvement from working together because we had the same views when it comes to creating content. Sam says that she always aims to work with "women, queer folks, people of color and very gentle men" and I've come to adopt that philosophy as well. We want to tell stories that allow people from marginalized communities to be seen as just that—people. Growing up not seeing representations of yourself is a really lonely experience and we're trying to combat that the best way we know how—by being our own storytellers.
As a creative, I know this question is annoying. But are there any other projects we can look forward to?
SB: Not annoying at all! "Our Names Are Sam" have a handful of projects on the docket: We're producing a dance narrative with VAM Magazine, featuring Chicago performance artist Po' Chop next month, as well as a new web series called Brown Girls this summer, which I'm really stoked about. We're also in post-production for a short film we shot in Ghana last year with plans to shoot a feature in 2017.
With the season finale set to release on April 14th at midnight, be sure to catch up on the antics of Bea and her friends here.
You're So Talented: Trailer from Artful Enough Pictures on Vimeo.
Will you be checking out this web series? Let us know in the comments below!
READ NEXT: This new web series is reminiscent of your favorite ’90s...
After graduating college and moving to what's deemed 'The Big Apple,' Muufasa was so ready to live the life he created in his head; gorgeous spouse, a successful fashion blogger, condo sky rise on top of the Empire State Building — Sex and the City much? As a creative coming from a small town like Portsmouth, Virginia you have to dream or life is blueprinted for you. It never fails — you either have a ton of kids, work at a factory or are incarcerated, usually killed before you hit 30.
So, of course, he arrived in New York and reality happened. I MEAN SH*T REALLY HAPPENED! He was broke, homeless at times, not close to even working in the field Sallie Mae made his hotline bling thousands of times for. At that point, he began asking God what his purpose was. It's crazy how we remember a higher being when life starts to turn sour, but nonetheless at that very moment when on Facebook lurking on his ex's page all while doing his daily duty as a Christian by liking all the God memes to get a blessing, he stumbled upon the Triangle web series audition information. He was thinking to himself "who even watches those things?" when he made the decision to go for it.
Fast-forward to a year later and the web series he auditioned for finally finished Season 1 and is now in production for Season 2 with pretty good media coverage and deals being offered left and right, including the first two seasons being shown on OUTtv in Europe in 26 different languages. But most importantly, it's helped him find what he is truly passionate about. Acquiring another family with co-stars and an even bigger fan base of people who are inspired by the content they produce, Triangle the web series has been deemed the first LGBT soap opera of its time. Muufasa is ready to see where this journey is going to take him as he continues to practice the artistry of acting.
Watch 'Triangle' here.
You can check out past editions of MADE here.
The MADE campaign focuses on the journey of entrepreneurship; the good, the bad and the indefinite. Drawing much inspiration from MTV’s MADE series, where everyday people overcame fears to be the very best version of them, we aim to do the same. We hope to inspire others by handpicking select influencers to share their intimate journey of becoming MADE.
Campaign Presented on behalf of Malyia McNaughton, Made by Malyia Jewelry
Creative Direction: Sherod Lewis, Heir PR (@heirsherrod)
Videography: Shayla Jaye, Shayla Jaye Productions (@lipstickndlashes)
MUA: Dominique Jenelle...
One of the best things about the Internet is the way it reveals how others live. Seeing the day-to-day lives of others can offer both insight and inspiration. This definitely applies to Erin O'Garro and Sarah Harry-Isaacs, two London-based creatives who have created a great new web series. French & the Artist follows Sarah (French) and Erin (the Artist) as they navigate and have fun in London’s creative community.
What is it?
French & the Artist is a mixed vlog/documentary-style web series. Shot on a handheld camera, each episode offers an intimate insight into the lives of the two young creatives. You see them in their shared bedroom, you see them on the London Underground, you see them dancing in random streets in Camden. You also get a view of various creative projects ranging from portrait painting and photoshoots to musical events.
Watching French and the Artist offers a welcome insight into the real lives of creatives. Unlike the highly constructed portrayals of creativity we see in the mainstream media via reality shows such as Bravo's 2010 'Work of Art: The Next Great Artist' or even Project Runway, you get a sense of the hard work, challenges, compromises and fun of being in the creative industries.
Why should I watch it?
Sarah and Erin are being open about their lives in order to help others who are on a creative journey or those who are considering entering the creative world. If you are working a 9-to-5 and want to start something on the side, this is the series for you. You'll see what it really takes to be a creative. In addition, the series is just really well put together in terms of visuals and production, and it has some lovely random touches, such as Sarah and Erin running around a park or going grocery shopping.
What can I expect?
Five episodes of French & the Artist have been released so far. Episodes are released every Sunday. Here’s the very first episode:
French & the Artist is quite simply a fun web series. Sarah and Erin don't take themselves too seriously, they are frequently hilarious and always open and honest. I think that it is admirable that they want to inspire and share their experiences with other young creatives. Yet, even beyond the series, with the glimpses of their exploits that we get, I am sure that these two have bright creative futures ahead of them.
Follow French & the Artist:
French (Sarah) - Twitter/Instagram
The Artist (Erin) - Twitter/Instagram
Have you checked out 'French & the Artist?' Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
READ MORE: This web series is a "visual mixtape" of a creative's transition to...
Bryant Terry is a 2015 James Beard Foundation Leadership Award-winning chef, educator, and author renowned for his activism to create a healthy, just, and sustainable food system. He is currently the inaugural Chef in Residence at the Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) in San Francisco where he creates programming that celebrates the intersection of food, farming, health, activism, art, culture, and the African Diaspora.
Bryant Terry website: www.bryant-terry.com
Twitte and IGr:...
PhazonTv’s The Journey is a 10-part video series that takes you into the creative mind of photographer and filmmaker Phazon Mitchell. Don’t call this a documentary, it’s more of a visual mixtape into his experiences as an artist during his transition to NYC.
The series opens up with Episode 1, titled "Voicemails," that features shots of NYC layered with the voicemails of Phazon’s closest friends.
You can follow the rest of the series on his Youtube Channel, Phazon Mitchell, where new episodes will be uploaded every Monday at 9 p.m.
See Phazon’s most recent work at www.phazonmitchell.com. You can also follow him on Instagram, Facebook, Soundcloud and on Snapchat at...
JustLatasha's first comedy web series, Sit Black & Relax documents what it's like to be "casually living while black amongst white friends." The story focuses on Maya, a young adult in New York who is figuring out how to balance her dreams, day job, love life, and the city alongside her best friend,...
Can you imagine working with your siblings? Is the idea a nightmare, or do you think you could effectively push each other to achieve greatness?
Priscilla Owusu, an 18-year-old screenwriter and producer from East London, created a new urban UK web series called A Lesson Learnt alongside Danny Wonders, her 26-year-old brother. Wonders directed, filmed and edited the series while Owusu recorded the sound, wrote and produced it.
The siblings work under Wonders' production company, Wondervisionfilms. They're the only crew members on this project, showing the power of a driven family unit. The six-part series shows the dynamics between older and younger generations and serves to educate as well as entertain. It shows the things we do on a daily basis that could unknowingly hurt others, tackling the harsh reality of how that affects our loved ones.
The cast and production of this drama both break barriers and show the diversity in the black experience in the UK and all throughout the diaspora.
The series was released on the December 6 and will be released every Sunday evening as follows via YouTube/Wondervisionfilms.
Follow the team on social media at: @DannyWonders , @Scillawrites , @Alessonlearnt, @Wondervision_
What do you think about the first episode? Let us know in the comments...
Cheetah in August is about the journeys of the main character, August Chandler (Andre Myers) from his high school years into adult life and touches on the topics of sexuality, love, religion, psychology and self-hate. Watch the other episodes...
Dormtainment, a sketch comedy collective comprised of six black men who write, produce and film original content, recently released season 2 of its series Six Guys One Car. The project is super funny and is currently available on Comedy Central’s Youtube page. Though short, each of the episodes will give you the dose of smart and silly humor you need to make it through the day. The first episode is below!
And, if you want more (which I’m sure you will), definitely watch season one of Six Guys One Car and check out Dormtainment’s Youtube channel for their other equally-hysterical sketches. They also have a weekly(ish) podcast to hold you over as they make new videos. You can listen to that...
Sometimes #BlackGirlMagic just interrupts whatever you're doing and you need to pay attention. Heels Off UK came across my Twitter feed, and did exactly that. Hosted by five women about their business (Rita Balogun, Amina Habeeb, Mercedes Benson, Ashley Watt and Oloni), the only thing stronger than the conversation seems to be the hustles they each have.
Make sure keep up to date with Heels Off on Twitter and Youtube, grab some tea (you might spill it), and tune in. It's...