Twenties

Dear networks, why isn’t TWENTIES on TV?

Writer/producer Lena Waithe is trying to change the game. After working for Nickelodeon and producing hilarious web series like Hello Cupid and Sh*t Black Girls Say, Waithe is aiming to create a space for more black women to tell their stories.

While the Chicago native is busy producing the upcoming feature film, Dear White People, she’s kept up a breakneck pace turning out scripts, web shows, and pilot presentations to get our voices on the air.

Waithe’s latest project, TWENTIES, is a show “about three black girls, in their twenties, who are trying to get their sh*t together” and is being produced by Queen Latifah’s company, Flavor Unit.

With so much talk about Lena Dunham’s breakout hit Girls and its lack of on-screen diversity, TWENTIES just might be what disaffected Black viewers were clamoring for.

Waithe explained her reason for creating the show (which she hopes will get picked up by a network) to Shadow & Act:

“I didn’t write this pilot just because I wasn’t seeing myself on television. I wrote it because it was a story I needed to tell. And usually when a writer sits down with that kind of fire in their belly it always strikes a chord with audiences. TWENTIES is the most personal script I’ve ever written and I don’t think it’s a surprise that it’s also gotten me the most attention. People like it when you tell the truth. And this is mine. But I also think it’s universal. Because who can’t relate to being in your twenties and sucking at life? It’s a magical time when you don’t have to have everything figured out. It’s a ten-year window when you’re free to have awkward sex, unhealthy friendships, and a boss you can’t stand. Usually when you see young black women on television they’re either perfect and pristine, or they’re trying to accidentally get pregnant by a professional athlete. There’s very little middle ground. And the truth is that’s where most of us live. Somewhere in the middle.”

While most up-and-comers usually use web teaser videos to raise money for their projects, Waithe only asks viewers to do one thing: share the video.

“The good news is I don’t want your money. There’s no Kickstarter or IndieGoGo attached to this project,” she told Shadow & Act. “All we want you to do is commit to sharing TWENTIES with twenty of your friends. The more you spread the word the better chance we have of getting it on TV. We’ll keep pitching. You keep sharing. Let’s do this!”

Could ‘TWENTIES’ be the Black women’s answer to ‘Girls’? Check out the four-part pilot presentation & click share to spread the word and get it on TV!

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

  • GG

    Yes! So waiting for this. Every show with a black woman in a decent role is about thirty somethings or older career woman. There needs to be twenty something and teens stories told.

  • BeanBean

    ‘Black women’s answer to Girls.’ WTF? Anything involving blacks is done to match that of whites. Isn’t that what this title is saying??? I would love to see this show, but I have a problem with this headline.

  • ETC

    This series is so amazing and I can relate on ALL fronts. I will pass this on to everyone I know!

  • stacy

    This acting isn’t nearly the quality Dunham’s Girls

  • lolala

    Can’t tell if these are really old looking twenty-year-olds, or if my friends and I look like babies.

    But otherwise, this is awesome.

  • Guest

    Ok, it was… Different. Certain parts I didn’t get like the tampon thing. But I’d give it a try.

  • Keenz

    I love everything about this pilot presentation! I will definitely be sharing it with at least 20 of my friends!

  • http://twitter.com/realestsoul Windy (@realestsoul)

    I have to agree with BeanBean- there’s no need to compare this to Girls. Why do we feel that our shows must always be compared to a white equivalent? You’re never going to see a white show compared to a black one. Could you imagine waking up one day and reading “Could __ ___ be white people’s equivalent to The Game?”. Nah suh, you wont be seeing that in this lifetime.

    I think this show will speak to some black women more than others but we have to realize that that’s any show we watch and/or create. What matters is getting these different representations of the black woman out there so that there is something for everybody.

    From what I’ve seen from the pilot, I don’t much see how this speaks to my experience (beyond the fact that the actresses are black).For now, I’ll stick with Girls.

  • mEE

    hmm…I will make myself keep watching simply because I believe in supporting “us”. but I definitely didn’t see anything that reflected my life as a 20something. ..or anyone else I know for that matter. like the character said, “I was whelmed. definitely not over”

  • Laura Charles

    I watched this yesterday and I wasn’t all that excited. It was just ok and at times I found the lead a bit annoying. The acting feels forced.

    I’ll still support in hopes of it getting better.

  • https://www.facebook.com/jilliangrin Jillian Green

    This show is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. Forget about it being the a response to GIRLS. It’s a response to anything on television that hasn’t properly captured the truth of young black women. GIRLS was the opening act if anything. Bravo, Lena.

  • https://www.facebook.com/jilliangrin Jillian Green

    I 2nd that. hell. 3rd 4th 5th 6th and 7th too.

  • GlowBelle

    Maybe because I’m in my twenties now and I’m being a bit more critical, but this was just okay for me. A real rough draft, with some overacting and unfunny lines, but I see potential. I’m just a little worn on this ‘we gotta have a Black ‘Girls’ now!’ deal and all the comparisons. It’s why this looked more like a parody when that is obviously not the creator’s intent.

  • Apple

    Ehh…I didn’t like it :( . I think I’ll stick to Awkward Black Girl and Unwritten Rules

  • omfg

    well damn, dunham has hbo backing and can afford hbo caliber actors.

  • Rakel

    ITA. I’m not watching this show as a response to Girls, I actually love that show. I’m watching it because I am very excited about this web series and I enjoyed the clips that I saw.

  • Nicole

    Didn’t really care for it, but I think there’s some potential there.

    Also, I’m slightly disturbed by the thought of twenty-somethings who don’t know how to use tampons. Just saying.

  • jjbrooks

    I was 19 when i first learned how and i was taught by my college roommate. TMI but my mom didnt use them in the house so i did what she did. but once i knew better lol Ive never looked back!

  • Chrissy T.

    kudos to this show being brought to the forefront! I watched the four videos posted and I have to admit, I had to warm up to the first couple episodes but by the last video I could. really appreciate it. As a twenty-something year old, I could definitely relate to some of the subject matter or at least know people who could relate to some of the subjects and situations…i will definitely be supporting!

  • SayWhat

    I find it interesting that a few of you don’t see how this show speaks to your experience, but Girls does. How does girls speak to your experience? curious minds want to know.

  • Apple

    Hey hey I’m 24and still haven’t used a tampon .once I lose my virginity I maybe game to try other wise thst sh*t hurt!

  • LaVerne Hall

    I love this show, I can really relate to the lead character and the writing is very witty. Please keep it coming!

  • Maine

    The lead actress isn’t very charming, shes actually kind of annoying. I doubt this will get picked up, no one wants to watch a group of grown woman put tampons in themselves. They need to spend more time developing these story-lines and do a better job with directing the actors. The two key elements of a hit tv show, especially a hit black tv show are having great, likeable actors, and universal storylines. This show has neither.

  • we gotta wake up

    yall cant even come together and support each other lol. Then you wanna complain about what others need to do for you. Hilarious.

  • Ash

    If you want some youtube shows that may be a bit easier to relate to, try Black and Sexy TV. The shows “That Guy”, and “Roomie Lover Friends” are some of my faves, but I like them all. I have yet to see Girls, but as far as show about black women and different issues, I still love Girlfriends. I know, old and not quite about being in your twenties but I’m 25, and relate to Girlfriends quite well.

  • Ash

    If you want to watch some youtube shows that may be a little easier to relate to, try Black and Sexy TV. Some of my faves are That Guy and RoomieLoverFriends, but I like all of them. Also as far as shows about Black women and issues we experience, I still really love Girlfriends. I know old, and not exactly about being in your twenties, but I’m 25 and find that I relate to Girlfriends quite well.

  • http://twitter.com/realestsoul Windy (@realestsoul)

    Girls is a coming of age story that focuses on the lives of different girls. Because the characters are so diverse, there is something there for everybody. Hate to say it but this came off as unauthentic to me…pretty much just another black show on youtube. The script is lacking in substance. There are plenty of black shows on youtube I do relate to: Black + Sexy TV series, Awk Black Girl and The Unwritten Rules are leaps and bounds more relatable than this. I’m not going to relate to it just because the actress is black. Wack is wack.

  • Nikki

    Definitely potential, but it has to re-visit the development stages. Twenty somethings face deeper situations then a tampon problem. I can see it possibly getting better so I’ll hang in there to see how it goes.

  • http://ThisNegroeSpeaksofRivers.Tumblr.com Jonny B.

    Prologue:

    I know that many people are always frustrated and angered over the constant comparisons of Black shows to their alleged White counterparts. “Girlfriends” was first called “The Black Sex and the City,” then “Living Single” was considered “The Black version of ‘Friends.’” (even though LS premiered over a YEAR prior to Friends), as well as other countless others. I hope the comparisons between “Twenties” and “Girls” will be that these broad social issues impact all of us and are not isolated and singular.

    Now to what we were just presented.

    Hattie seems like a bubbly, opinionated young Black girl trying to vlog her way to the top of the new waves of media moguls. She seems to be suffering from the “I know that I’m Black, but I really like these White cultural things so please don’t judge me!” Hattie’s friends are right in the fact that she speaks down to her audience in lieu of engaging them. We then are shown a get together of Hattie and her three friends with two significant others. Out of the couples present, one is interracial (with the White girlfriend being stereo-typically clueless) and the seemingly happy Black couple. Hattie laments about her financial and professional situations; her friends, while empathetic try to give her advice on how to improve her show and her job crisis. Then some woman Hattie and her friends know “likes” the recently posted and the complain about Hattie still harping on her.

    The men leave to install an air conditioner while the ladies deal with the crimson wave. No one has pads on them, but the White girl presents the deus ex machina for the situation, a tampon. Even when being instructed, Hattie’s friend cannot stand the idea of using a tampon, and will have her boyfriend pick some pads up from the store. Hattie goes with her other friend into the bedroom and gives her a gift off of her “registry,” a photo og President Barack Obama. It is a tender, if not unsettling moment until a loud shriek is heard from the other room.

    The next scene jumps ahead to where Hattie is vlogging about becomes completely honest; she has been evicted from her apartment and is now staying with a friend, she’s bad with money and is in love with a heterosexual woman who won’t give her the time of day. This video elicits a better response from the Youtube public.

    While I admire this pilot for showcasing young Black life in the city…it wasn’t without it’s faults. Everything seemed a bit rushed, and especially the eviction. If Hattie just saw the eviction notice, it would take weeks (if not months) for her to have to move out of that apartment. She could appeal the eviction or speak to her landlord. Hattie seems a but bougie and has champagne tastes on a tap water budget. The positive suggestions her friends give fall on deaf ears, I wish they would show her to be more open minded and willing to listen/take criticism. Overall I didn’t really get a good sense of who Hattie or any of her friends were. I just found them to be too plebeian to have a long term vested interest.

    The one thing I really detested was the “Boyfriend on the Down Low” plot line. For me it came completely out of left field and unnecessary. I am so sick and tired of Black gay men on scripted television series being either flamingly gay or utter closet cases. If “Twenties” wants to have a gay character, please just make him a out, proud gay man. This just perpetuates the extinction of an honest, enduring romantic relationship between a Black man and woman. And her friend becomes another bitter Black woman having angst and anger towards Black men in general. The White girlfriend annoyed me to no end. Black actors have complained on end about the stereotypical modern “Stepin Fetchit,” whereas in Black written mediums White characters become modern “Officer Hoppy” from “Sanford & Son.” Often being portrayed as out of touch pariahs in the Black world. I’m assuming that Hattie’s Lesbianism or Bisexuality was kept on the back burner until the 11th hour in case there was worried people would be so shocked or appalled they’d be turned off from the series in general.

    I’m intrigued by the series, it could just use a very, very fine tuning.

  • Marshall

    Preach. I want to support these types of shows – just not this one in-particular. I’m hoping everyone doesn’t jump the bagwagon to get this on air. It’s honestly not that good. Both the acting and the writing need work. I wasn’t impressed.

  • lola289

    Damn…I’m in tears. I watched the 1st part thinking ok whatever, but by part 4…
    I’M HOOKED. I need this in my life. She reminds me of me before my BF.
    Also, I’m sick of everyone thinking blk girls aren’t quirky or Zoe-ish. We come from different cultures and backgrounds, but we still are very similar.

  • lola289

    But thats why its ilke “Girls”. The lead isn’t always likable…at least in the beginning.

  • Kelly

    I totally agree. The characters come off a little bougie. it just seems to forced and not natural.

  • RenJennM

    I like it. Definitely has a lot of potential.

  • rashee

    i liked this. answer to girls? no….but nice on its own merits? i’d say so.let’s see more. is the internet and you-tube a black woman’s answer to main stream media though? absolutely!

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