BET’s ‘Twenties’: For Twenty-Somethings That Are Not White

by Gwen Berumen

Almost every twenty year old on television is white, ESPECIALLY in comedies (give or take the occasional token brown friend). Organic stories about the lives of people of color aren’t typically seen as small screen material, because COME ON, people experiencing racism in the work place? What kind of social justice bull is this?! I’m tryin’ to relax.

These kinds of racist attitudes are exactly why I am stoked for Twenties, an upcoming project that is written, produced, and created by Lena Waithe. Waithe, writer of “Shit Black Girls Say,” producer of the upcoming film Dear White People, and staff writer for Bones, started working on the pilot for Twenties back in 2012. The loosely biographical comedy series’ goal was always television, and what first started as a couple of YouTube videos created to sell the project to major networks is now going to be developed into a fleshed out television program. BET picked up the pilot (produced by Queen Latifah’s production company Flavor Unit) and while we don’t know when the show will be airing, watching it get picked up is reason to celebrate on its own merit.

There is an incredibly talented staff behind this project, and the YouTube clips themselves create a form of realism. There are two moments in the videos that stuck out to me. One – was when one of the girls asks for a pad but is only offered a tampon. In an article written last year on Jezebel, Waithe is quoted as saying,”that tampon and pad thing is a thing I’ve heard from black girls. For some reason, our mothers didn’t have tampons in the house, so we just kind of followed what our moms do. [You’re taught that] you don’t wear tampons until you’re sexually active.”

I personally resonated a lot with this because while I am not black, my Mexican mother never kept tampons in the house, so when my little bloody friend came along, tampons weren’t an option. The scene in the video (above) shows a group of twenty-something’s in a tiny bathroom trying to teach their friend how to put in a tampon. It’s widely refreshing, and unbelievably relatable.

Another scene (below) has our main character (Hattie) talking to her camera about her life. SPOILER ALERT – she reveals that she is in love with her straight best girlfriend. It leaves us wanting more, and it leaves me shocked that a network hadn’t picked this show up before.

Waithe is an extremely talented individual, and I’m not entirely into the fact that she is often compared to the other Lena (Dunham). That being said, Twenties is expected to shake things up just as Girls did, but this time – in a much more relatable way. I’m excited not only to enjoy myself while watching, but also to resonate, and most of all, I am excited for the representation. A gay black lady is the protagonist. How is that NOT the coolest thing?! 

Read more on this story @ The Visibility Project.  Watch pilot videos here


Photo via, indiewire, and videos via YouTube. 

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