Lena Waithe and Kid Fury Bring Queer Black Woke TV to HBO
It was announced this week that YouTuber and co-host of “The Read” podcast, Kid Fury, has teamed up with Emmy-winner and The Chi showrunner Lena Waithe to create a 30-minute series for HBO. The news comes via Variety. Initial details are limited. Here’s what we know so far:
“The untitled project is described as a surreal dark comedy that follows Greg, a 20-something sarcastic gay black man navigating adulthood and responsibility in New York City while struggling to wrap his head around his undiagnosed clinical depression.”This news is particularly thrilling. As a lover of HBO’s style of comedy and drama, but exasperated by the predominately white narratives that command HBO’s screen time, a look at queer blackness dealing with hidden disabilities is right on time. The combination of Waithe’s sharp perspective and Fury’s biting comedic chops is a promising combination.
Gregory A Smith, aka Kid Fury, speaks openly about his experience with therapy on his show “The Read” with co-host Crissle. In a section where they give advice to listeners, the pair often confirms their support for mental health treatment. They describe the struggle for Black Americans to get mental health because of finances, cultural mistrust of therapy, and a desire to work solely with Black mental health professionals. If one thing is certain, this show won’t be shying away from any painful truths.
This will be a much-needed change for HBO. HBO is a network that has struggled to bring diverse content and representation to its screen. When HBO declared the next project for Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and D.B. Weisse, Confederate, Twitter erupted with the hashtag #NoConfederate. Confederate has been described as a sci-fi show depicting an alternate history in which the North lost the Civil War and slavery is still a major part of Southern commerce. Created by April Reign, the hashtag aimed to get the show canceled before it reached production. At the TCA’s this week, HBO confirmed that Confederate was still a work in progress and would be released to the public.
That’s a shame.
HBO has had one show that features queer characters. Looking only lasted for two seasons. It was canceled for its low viewership. Criticized for the caucasian focal point in the heavily diverse city of San Francisco, the show never caught on in the same way that Queer as Folk or The L Word did. Instead of listening to the criticisms of their audience Netflix ended the show, allowing creator Michael Lannan to finish the storyline with a movie.
HBO also recently ended its 18-year-long winning streak for most Emmy nominations. They were unseated by Netflix, who had 112 nominations in 2018. Early reports out of HBO is that the channel, recently acquired by AT&T when the phone company purchased Time Warner, is taking its competition with Netflix seriously.
John Stanky, who runs WarnerMedia, has a plan to keep people watching HBO between seasons of Game of Thrones. He told the Philidelphia Inquirer, “What we’re attempting to do is open up those constraints on very high, top-quality projects that we think will balance out the schedule, so that we have a more engaging experience with HBO throughout the course of the year. That will improve the fact that we can see, especially on the digital platforms, customers jumping in and out based on scheduling. If we can smooth that schedule, we can drive churn down or improve retention and power additional subscriber growth.”
Since the rise of #MeToo movement, networks, festivals, and studios have been doing a lot to bring diversity to the forefront. Both Sundance and the Toronto International Film Festival have invited diverse film critics to their upcoming festival. In addition to this untitled project, HBO also announced its purchase of Euphoria, starring Zendaya and produced by Aubry Grahm and Future the Prince.
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