5 Reasons Why You Should Check out Open TV's 'Brown Girls'
Brown Girls is a web series currently on Open TV, a Chicago-based streaming platform for queer and intersectional television. The show was created by Fatimah Asghar and directed by Samantha Bailey (who also wrote, directed and starred in the Open TV series You're So Talented), and follows Leila (Nabila Hossain), a queer Pakistani-American writer, and Patricia (Sonia Denis), an African-American musician with commitment issues, and the friendship they maintain through their turbulent lives.
If you're new to the breakout series (which is sure to get even more hype now that a series based on it is in development at HBO; see No. 5 below), here are a few reasons why it’s worth checking out.
- It's easy to relate to the characters' stories
The characters you see on Brown Girls are very diverse and realistic; they’re not caricatures. They have flaws, and the show does not shy away from showing them—while also making the point that they're not something to be ashamed of. The stories of Leila, Patricia and others are ones that audiences could go through, as Asghar and Bailey found out from their viewers—many comments about the show mention how it resonated with viewers on a personal level. As a 20-something myself, I found myself relating with parts of both Leila and Patricia's stories as the season went on.
- Despite their brief run times, the stories draw you in completely
It’s incredible how much can be done with a story over just seven short episodes. The very first scene—Leila calling her aunt and having a falling-out with her on-again, off-again girlfriend Miranda (Melissa Duprey)—sets the groundwork for Leila’s character and introduces elements of the plot that recur throughout the season. It makes you wonder where her life is going to go, and whether she'll stay in the "single girls club forever" like Patricia. Likewise, the first scene featuring just Patricia—as she recites her “single girls club forever” mantra before kicking out her one-night stand—serves a similar purpose, giving us more insight as to what kind of person she is and what her issues are.
- Brown Girls is not afraid to keep it real and take on tough subjects
Messy relationships, jealousy, financial frustrations, coming out to family members. This series tackles a lot of real problems and handles them tactfully. Leila and Miranda's relationship, for instance, is not uncommon, nor is Leila's desire to make up despite her friends trying to push her in the other direction. Patricia's reluctance to commit to things following a bad relationship is also done in a way that is tasteful.
- It boasts a killer soundtrack
A strong soundtrack in the background of a good show can make it even better, and Brown Girls is no exception. The featured music is a mixture of R&B and indie pop, and it’s almost all Chicago acts, like the talented Jamila Woods, who also serves as music consultant. Each song fits the scene it’s in superbly, whether it’s the chill “Don’t Obey” by Drea Vibe Dealer, which plays as Leila, Patricia and Victor (Rashaad Hall) walk home after a rough night out; or the more powerful “I Ain’t Got It” by Daryn Alexus, as the trio talk about what they all want for themselves and each other.
- You'll be in the know before a Brown Girls series debuts on HBO
It was announced a few weeks ago that Asghar and Bailey secured a production deal with HBO for an untitled series based on Brown Girls. Details are scarce right now, but if you can’t get enough of Leila and Patricia after the seven episodes of season one, this adaptation is one to look forward to. I personally am excited to see what comes out of the adaptation, as there is a lot more that can be done with this series—the final episode in particular left me wanting more.
Brown Girls is available for streaming on Vimeo, or at its page on Open TV.