"I think television has always missed a demonstration of balance for black female identities, particularly favoring us at our most conservative and/or regressive." --Tanji Gilliam
In recent years, the Internet has served as a primary means for roses to grow and flourish from the concrete of Tyler Perry movies and reality television shows such as Love & Hip Hop. The latest blossom in the garden of Web series created by African Americans is Scheherazade, an unscripted series chronicling the lives of a group of black women in their twenties and thirties. The show offers a glance into the personal and professional lives of black women and men throughout the U.S. -- from Philadelphia and New York to Atlanta and San Francisco -- along with an original soundtrack featuring up-and-coming artists, such as Nyticka Hemingway (Usher, "Superstar;" Koda Kumi, "Under"). In the words of scholar Mark Anthony Neal, Scheherazade is "an epic tale of black music and musings."The series, which gets its name from the legendary Persian queen and storyteller of One Thousand and One Nights (also known as Arabian Nights), is executive produced by Oil House Productions, a cutting-edge art conservation and design firm that seeks to "provide a cinematic realism that exposes the fiction of reality TV." According to Oil House founder and show creator Tanji Gilliam, Scheherazade "showcases black life as we see it" while also "defining [Oil House's] dreams for what the future could be." She adds:
"I think television has always missed a demonstration of balance for black female identities, particularly favoring us at our most conservative and/or regressive ... I'm hoping to attract a global audience to the unique agency, dreams, and legacies of independent artists and to the cooperative activism of our company, Oil House."
The series also features music supervision by singer/songwriter/actress Nyticka Hemingway. The first season cast includes Gilliam, Hemingway, Jay Clark, Kilogram, Nakia Thomas, Tracy Agyemang, Darius Wade, and Zakiya Black. Stowe, Vermont; San Diego, California; New York City; and Trenton, New Jersey are among the first season locales.
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