A week ago I received this email...
I am not a writer so I wanted to reach out to someone who is. I was hoping you would consider a story about how black lesbian women do not support their own.
Did you know that out of all the black lesbian web series that are very popular right now, NONE of them have ever raised more than 3K for a crowdfunding to keep making their shows. The even crazier part these shows like Studville, Between Women, If I Was Your Girl, each have over 30K followers of their youtube stations. They run crowdfunding campaings and the same women who complain about there being nothing for black lesbians in the media, are the same people who won't donate 5.00 to a campaign.
right now an author by the name of Skyy is running a campaign to turn her first book into a feature film. Her book series is very popular in the black lesbian community, just check out the reviews on amazon. ON top of that she has two very popular black lesbian entertainers set to star in it. BUT the campaign has been running for almost a month and she's just now hitting 10 percent on the campaign. It's sad. So So Sad. Even a lot of the reviews of her books have people saying "oh you should make this a movie"
I don't have a voice. I don't have a platform to address this so that's why I am pitching this to you and others. Something needs to be said and people need to hear this. It's a terrible thing that we can't support our own but white lesbian's get sponsorships and can surpass their funding goals just by word of mouth and support.
I hope you will consider writing about this.
I feel your pain. However, I have been on both sides of this situation. I've been the creator/artist and I've been in the audience watching some of these works. So, I think I can speak on this issue from both sides...
As an audience member...
The shows you listed all suck!
I have tried to watch all of them and I just couldn't get into them. Not only do I find them stereotypical and mediocre, but I'm turned off by the overwhelming portrayal of the Stud/Fem gender roles displayed in these shows. I often feel like I'm watching a straight couple while watching this dynamic play out because so often I find that the writers and actors are taking their cues from black male popular culture. I hope that makes sense. It's kinda hard to explain, and to be honest I don't feel like getting into it.
When watching black lesbians I expect to see TWO black feminine women together. I'm not expecting to see a chick who looks, talks, and acts like she just stepped out of an episode of The Wire. I'm not expecting to see the same stereotypical behavior black women have been complaining about for years in black men portrayed by black women.
To put it plainly, I want to see this: Fem/Fem....not this....Stud/Fem.
Unfortunately, I appear to be in the minority.
I won't even go into a rant about the dialogue, production quality, and overall aesthetics of these shows. They kinda speak for themselves.
As an artist/creator...
Black women are a hard group to please. I too have found myself frustrated when trying to provide entertainment for black lesbians. One of the main reasons I fell back on Sweat is because of all the comments I got that ranged from "Why can't this character be more like so and so?" to "This simply isn't believable." It reached a point where I said fuck it.
I'm no longer willing to cater to black women/lesbians. Honestly, it's not worth the time, money, or effort. I realize you can't please everyone. So, why break your back trying to please such a small toxic demographic (yeah I said it)?
In the 30 years I've been on this earth I have come to see that black women as a collective are not a happy group of people and maybe we are entitled to feel that way given all the shit we go through in this world. However, I have to be honest, I'm no longer interested in putting my money into this demographic. The rewards are small and the payoff is minimum at best.
Perhaps this is something that the network executives know that we like to ignore. Catering to this small extra critical demographic is a money pit. It's like throwing money into the bottom of a well.
On the flip side of all this, black women aren't obligated to support other black women simply because they are black. If a product doesn't appeal to me I'm not going to buy it. No amount of shame, pro-blackness, or "We are in this shit together" is going to make me buy what doesn't interest me. I'm sure some black lesbians feel this way about my work....which is their right....just like it's my right to cut my losses and expand to a bigger demographic.
So, my suggestion to all those black women who find themselves angry due to the lack of support from black women, is cut your losses and move on to "others." Your ideas may not find the support in your community, but there may be others who appreciate your work.