Golden Globe-nominee Issa Rae began her career on YouTube with The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, a hilarious web series about a Black female protagonist trying to navigate a culture that still misunderstands introversion. Tracy Y. Oliver, co-writer of Girl’s Trip, also co-starred on and co-wrote that popular web series. Now, years after The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl ended, there are still scores of young creators who are bringing their ideas to free platforms, like YouTube, to hone their chops and give us 10-minute spurts of joy.
In this Bitch Approved list, we’re highlighting three relatively new web series that are definitely worth watching.
1. 195 Lewis
Brooklyn, New York is an artistic mecca, particularly for queer Black people who are seeking community. In 195 Lewis, director Chanelle Aponte Pearson offers a glance at a Black lesbian community in Bed-Stuy that’s constantly entangled in drama, but trying to figure out how to enter healthy and functional romantic relationships. 195 Lewis follows Yuri (Rae Leone Allen), a polyamorous lesbian who’s involved in multiple complicated relationships. There’s her girlfriend Camille (Sirita Wright), who she’s practicing “radical honesty” with to keep their relationship intact; Yuri’s college flame, Kris (Roxie Johnson), who’s moved from Texas to Brooklyn and is wreaking havoc along the way; and Harlem (Trae Harris), a new mysterious woman who’s caught Yuri’s attention. 195 Lewis shows Brooklyn as a “queer mecca.”
2. Life or Death, Basically
It’s incredibly refreshing to see pop culture normalize women with mental illnesses. Whether it’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’s incredible third season or the new web series LIFE OR DEATH, BASICALLY, television is grappling with the stigma women with mental illnesses face. LIFE OR DEATH, BASICALLY follows Maggie (series creator Kimberly Rolfs), a writer with borderline personality disorder, as she navigates codependent relationships. Rolfs has borderline personality disorder, which is the reason she decided to create the web series. “I have never gotten to see a borderline person tell their own story,” she said in a press release. “But, in addition to that, I feel that there is a substantive lack of real stories being told about women with mental illness and the way that they relate to the world.” Check out LIFE OR DEATH, BASICALLY when it debuts this month.
“Humans aren’t the only ones that need therapy” is the tagline for the hilarious web series Avant-Guardians. Avant-Guardians is the brainchild of writer and standup comedian Alesia Etinoff, and follows the Guardian Angel of a 12-year-old kid who’s going to be the third Black president. After an incident, God mandates that she attends therapy with Dr. Hanniel, an arch angel, who helps her navigate everything from pizza preferences to how to grapple with transphobia and homophobia. Much like The Good Place, Avant-Guardians is a funny and brilliant look at the afterlife, and those who are guiding us from the other side.