If you’re thinking digital media has been lacking in diverse representation lately, then a show you need to get excited for is WingChick, where Brown Sugar meets Girlfriends, coming this summer and brought to you by Girl, I Guess Productions.
WingChick is a smart and hilarious new web series centering around protagonist, Raven (Bree Mei-Li-) who is “a late twenty-something bougie-mixed-with-a-dash-of-hood Black girl,” (via tonjareneestidhum.com/wingchick/ ) attempting to balance her budding career as a professional dating site profile writer, while being a professional dating lost cause. One of Raven’s many talents (as well as big ol’ flaw) is mastering the art of intimacy without being intimate, meaning: being the perpetual best friend, the confidant, the “wing chick” for her male friends.
Raven and her partner-in-crime Michael (Aubrey Marquez), mutually deal with that special brand of “we’re just friends!” sexual tension in the series. While Raven navigates through the ins and outs of dating and the “Friend Zone” mess she and Michael have created for themselves, she finds herself in a whirlwind of shenanigans, and wouldn't be able to handle it all if it weren't for her girl gang: Greer (Riannah Pouncy), Lenora or “Leo”(Lesette Latimer) and Tess, (Johanna Middleton).
Wingchick the series was actualized in July 2017, following a successful Indiegogo production campaign (which you can donate to here) including a generous contribution from Academy Award nominee, Kimberly Steward (Manchester by the Sea).
I had the pleasure of sitting down with the show’s creator, writer director, and co-founder of GIG productions, Tonja Renée Stidhum and the producer of the series, Alysia Allen. We got to talk about their roles as creatives and their relationship with WingChick.
WingChick Creator, Tonja Renée Stidhum
I asked Stidhum where her inspiration for the series came from, and the Chicago writer chuckles as she explains how her dating experiences mainly end up in the perpetual “Friend Zone,” just like Raven. Stidhum explains as she got older, these relationships became more complicated, as the relationship is between Raven and Michael. “Like any creator, WingChick is largely rooted in the shenanigans of my waking life,” the writer has said about the series. “Raven’s Wolfpack is inspired by my very own sister-friend circle of the same name [and] Michael is an amalgamation of male best friends I’ve had over the years.” With WC, Stidhum ultimately wanted to create a project that portrays a different narrative for young Black female characters in media, for Black women who are forever the“home girl” in their platonic-ass relationships.
Alysia Allen (street cred) comes into play later on in the WingChick journey. The Inglewood native recently made headlines when she and partner, Aaron Magnani, acquired rights to a Hattie McDaniel biopic (Shadow & Act, Variety, The Hollywood Reporter).
WingChick Producer, Alysia Allen
With dreams of becoming the next Betsy Beers for future Black-created projects, Allen was drawn to the WingChick series and loved the idea instantly. The producer mentions the lack of diverse representation in media, but specifically, how the narrative of Black millenials is rarely seen, this being the main motivation behind her WC support. When talking about her role as producer, and her part as a role model for other Black femme creatives, Allen makes the point: “There’s room for everyone [in this industry]. It is the obligation and responsibility of the veterans in the industry to stop talking the talk, and actually start walking the walk.” She explains further the importance of mentoring younger writers and creators, and has made it her duty during this project to be open as a mentor for the WC cast and crew.
Together, both Allen and Stidhum rightfully have high hopes and expectations for the series and its potential place in pop culture, from turning into an actual full length comedy series to “Which WingChick Character are You?” Buzzfeed articles, the creators and cast want it all. The series may very well be on its way as it was announced this month that the pilot debut of WingChick will be streamed during Glowfest, a media festival dedicated to showcasing cutting edge web series, happening August 11th 2018. For more information and tickets, click here.
You can find more information on the series here:
WingChick Links: http://tonjareneestidhum.com/wingchick/
Twitter and IG: @wingchickseries (#TeamFlat or #TeamDrum?)
Tonja Renée Stidhum Links: http://tonjareneestidhum.com/
Palmira Muniz is a CSUITEMUSIC.com blogger.
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