Black Girl Nerds TV Editor

I love the Black Girl Nerds community. Jamie has developed a major support system for black nerds (mostly women, but also the guys who support the community) and I am very glad to be apart of it. I’ve written several posts, attended NYCC with the BGN crew twice, and co-hosted quite a few podcasts (more than I had even remembered when I compiled them all!) and now I’m carving out a new space for myself in the community. I am now the BGN TV Editor!

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I want to help Jamie make BGN even bigger than it is. With BGN’s strong Twitter presence, especially as a live-tweeting platform, BGN could be as big as Buzzfeed or Vulture with the amount of TV coverage that we do. So with the idea of creating a Black Girl Nerds TV vertical on the site, I’m curating TV meta content. There are a lot of sites that cover TV recaps and reviews (I write for a couple of them already), but there can never be too much content by black female voices.

As we’ve seen with #OscarsSoWhite and especially Julie Delpy’s comments (she wishes she were black because apparently black people get less hate than women? haha okay sure. & what about black WOMEN though?), black women’s voices are often ignored. The more of us out there, making ourselves heard, the better. So we want to amplify black female voices, especially the nerdy ones.

There are 11,000 (pronounced eleventy-hundred) shows out there for nerd audiences and there are maybe 3 or 4 black female characters (top of the list: Iris West on The Flash, Abbie and Jenny Mills from Sleepy Hollow, and soon Vixen and Misty Knight from Arrow & Luke Cage) currently on the air right now. It’s abysmal that I can count them all. And their characters are constantly suffering from marginalized writing and a misunderstanding of what it is like to be a black woman. So if our voices are heard, if execs and creators and producers realize that we will not let this stand, maybe we can make a change. Better writing, more characters, more LEAD characters.

So we’ll recap. We’ll dissect. We’ll point out the criticisms. But we also just fangirl as a community. That’s my favorite part. Being able to love a show and talk about it smartly and with a community that is going to accept your voice.

I love that Jamie has created a community where people can get started. We can experiment with ideas and present them to each other as a community. BGN is growing and evolving and I’m excited to be apart of it all.

It’s also great for me personally. I pitched the idea and had it accepted. That’s a confidence boost. Plus it puts me in a position I’ve never been in before, but one that I can shape and learn from. And I know the BGN community will support me and will teach me and I will only grow from here. I can put BGN TV Editor on my resume with receipts to back it up. Then I can apply for writing and social media positions more confidently and with more experience. The vicious “you need experience to get this job but we won’t give you experience’ cycle might finally come to an end. I create my own experience. I want to step forward into this take charge attitude and finally move past the awful and confusing post-grad part of my life. I hope this takes me there.

So if you want to volunteer TV recaps for Black Girl Nerds, email me! I have a fancy BGN email address now! connie@blackgirlnerds.com And who knows where this will take us — there’s already something in the BGN experience pipeline that could make this position really great. I’m excited!

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A Discussion Among Two TV Junkies

#BGNPodcast In Case You Missed It: Summer, Fall TV, and Emmys Chat

Jamie (of Black Girl Nerds) and I discussed Summer and Fall TV over on the Black Girl Nerds Podcast, including chats about Mr Robot, Vixen, Arrow and the Stephen Amell mess, and the ridiculous Sleepy Hollow/Bones crossover we’re all confused about. Take a listen!

Listen here: A Discussion Among Two TV Junkies

Last week I did the #BGNPodcast with Cree Summer!

You’ve definitely watched one of these shows, so you’ve definitely heard her voice.

#BGNPodcast In Case You Missed It: Cree Summer

Last week, Black Girl Nerds did a special Thursday night podcast with none other than Cree Summer, from A Different World and maybe every 90s cartoon known to people in my age group. It was an honor to speak with her, she’s well known for her voices but even just her natural voice is soothing. She was really kind, felt connected to the Black Girl Nerds “tribe” and basically invites us to hang out with her in Hawaii at HawaiiCon (if anyone wants to book my airfare, I’d totally do it!).

I grew up on Cree’s voice, including: Atlantis the Lost Empire, Tiny Toon Adventures, Rugrats, and Batman Beyond. A personal favorite? Danny Phantom. Long lost cartoon that I wish I could rewatch? Histeria!. Then later, after college, I finally caught up on all of A Different World, which helps revitalize my desire to write something like that for television. Cree’s career was unconsciously an influence for me without me even knowing she was involved in those projects.

Take a listen to hear her “pirate mouth,” advice to aspiring voice actors, and enticing descriptions of what it’s like at HawaiiCon (take me awayyyy!).

On Forgiving “Writer’s Guilt” & Paying Your Rent – Daniel Jose Older on the #BGNPodcast

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Here’s Daniel at a Geeks of Color Go Pro Panel at NYCC this past autumn

I did another podcast this week with Black Girl Nerds, this time featuring author Daniel Jose Older, whose book, Half Resurrection Blues came out last week. He was very insightful and open about his writing process — offering many great pieces of advice — which I found very encouraging as a writer.

On finding your writing process:

“A lot of what being a writer is, is finding out what your process is and not doing somebody else’s.” He says that even when you’ve found your process, it can still change, depending on your life at the time and what’s necessary for you.

On the realities of being a writer:

“I believe really strongly in taking days off, even when you’re deep in the throes of trying to finish a project. You have to live. You have to be alive. And you have to pay your rent.”

On the advice to “write every day”:

“I’m a big advocate of not feeling like you have to write every day. If that’s your process, then awesome. But that’s not everybody’s. And what really happens with that advice is that people start feeling guilty, shameful, and they don’t write every day and they feel bad about it so they have a really unhealthy relationship to the blank page or the project or whatever. You can’t sit down at the writing desk feeling guilty already! You have to forgive yourself before you begin writing otherwise you’ll be cramped. You’ll just be mad at yourself — that’s not a good place to write from.”

You check out the full podcast here, where Daniel gives more amazing advice on being a writer, the ways in which we should and can use sci-fi/fantasy to discuss power and control especially with regard to racial and economic injustice, and the books and cultures that inspire his writing, but these two quotes above especially stuck with me.

Maybe it’s because I am a chronic procrastinator (most writers are — but I feel like I really take the cake), but I don’t think writing every day is my process. I certainly need to write more, and I need to overcome at least a basic level of sitting down and writing for more than an hour or so at a time (also, I need to make writing more than chronic outlining, though outlining definitely is my process), but it’s encouraging to know that writing every single day doesn’t have to be my process. Because there is a level of guilt or reluctance to sit down. And when you’re in that mindset that you’re “forcing” yourself to write, that often makes the words come harder, because you’re so distracted or you don’t want to be sitting in that chair (even if it’s a bungee chair from Target).

I have this one.

I need to write more, but if I don’t every single day, I’m not failing as a writer. It’s just not my process. I think I am getting closer to what my process is (it involves my shiny new iPad Mini), but it’s good to hear again (because I’ve of course heard it before) that your process doesn’t have to match what the books say or what anyone else’s process is. In the end, as long as you get the work done — and being reasonably happy and healthy during the process might also be nice — then that should be what matters. Your writing process just has to be for what you need, as a person, as a writer, for your genre. So I’m going to keep finding my process, but if I don’t work on my spec script today (I totally did, so HA!), I shouldn’t be harder on myself or feel guilty. That, as Daniel said, develops an unhealthy relationship with the blank page. Writing is hard enough and full of negative emotions based on how inferior you’re feeling, how your words aren’t flowing together, how plotting is SO HARD. When you are able to sit down and write, you shouldn’t be worried about if you didn’t write yesterday. You had other things to do (like pay rent, or get some much needed rest). And as they say, write forward. Work on bettering your writing and your process so that you WILL want to write everyday — no guilt necessary.

I’ll stop blathering, I feel like I’ve stopped making sense. Listen to the podcast, read Daniel’s book, ask me if I’m writing, but don’t expect guilt if I haven’t been. (You might get a little guilt.)(And I should’ve been writing recently at least.)

(Ok, I’m really done now.)

Happy writing!

BGN Podcast with the black-ish Kid Cast

This week, I had the awesome opportunity to once again join the Black Girl Nerds Podcast, whose guests for the week were the kids from ABC’s hit new sitcom black-ish. Three out of four of the kids were able to join, Miles Brown, Caila Marsai Martin, and Marcus Scribner, while Yara Shahidi was unable to join in due to travel conflicts.

It was a fun podcast. The kids are all super polite, eloquent, funny, and really self-assured. They had us adults talking and listening re-evaluating our lives! They really know their stuff and know how to inspire people (Dream Big, Inspire Many! as Miles likes to say). They have a lot of fun on set and it seems all three kids had great Christmases. I am so glad the world is theirs and they are such good kids to represent the black kids watching them on TV. They will be a great inspiration to so many young children watching black-ish, the way the Huxtable kids or the Banks kids or the  (for older viewers) the Hillman kids were for the young viewers watching them. Marcus, as the oldest, especially. He wants to go to Stanford to be a Journalist! He’s already got really academic aspirations and seems smart, and confident yet still nerdy. And humble, all three sounded extremely humble and just happy to be where they are. It was a great conversation and I feel so inspired having spoken to them. Listening to them will make me like black-ish even more because I know such great kids are behind their characters.

Listen to the podcast here. I’ll be back on the BGN Podcast next week with author Daniel Jose Older, author of a novel coming out this week titled Half-Resurrection Blues. Then I’m on a podcast hiatus for a while. Maybe.

#BGNPodcast In Case You Missed It: The Kids of #BlackishABC.

Looking Back at 2014

I wasn’t going to do one of these posts — I’m bad at putting retrospectives into words, writing about feelings, forgetting to include something, and all of that — but other blogs I follow are and I should probably acknowledge that 2014 was certainly better than 2013 in many ways (despite my feelings about how the end of this year is going). So here’s a super last minute look back at 2014.

In January of this year, I started interning at the Gotham Writers Workshop. I took TV writing and Sci-Fi/Fantasy Writing classes, a one day workshop on Children’s Book Writing, and surrounded myself with writers as a way to constantly inspire myself to write. It’s somewhat worked, lol, but the lack of discipline is still there. To more writing in 2015! Also early in the year, my work with TVOvermind gave me the opportunity to interview Penny Johnson Jerald, Seamus Dever, and Juliana Dever of the show Castle. I was, of course, very nervous, but I had a lot of fun breaking out of my comfort zone.

Around spring, I got to go to a dear friends wedding, got hired by a temp agency into my current long-term assignment, and got approved for my NYCC Press Pass for Black Girl Nerds! In September, I went to the Paley Fest Previews and got to watch 10 fall pilots before they aired. It was a great way to bring new content to this blog and I got to recommend (or warn away from) new shows for my friends and whoever reads this blog. It was a good year for lots of diverse faces on television. Let’s hope this year’s successes bring even more stories from people of color to both the small and bog screens.

Comic-Con was in October, which was amazing. The week before, I’d gone to the Black Girl Nerds NYC Live Podcast event, where I met a few other black girl nerds like myself. We had a great time and I made some new friends. This helped the following week, during NYCC, when I got to hang out with at least one of them while online for a panel. I saw some panels, bought some art from black artists, and took lots of cosplay photos. My live reporting skills have some ways to go, but I am ready for more learning experiences like that one.

Stemming from one of my purchases at Comic-Con, I was asked by Jamie of BGN to co-host a podcast with her and graphic novel author Eric Dean Seaton, because I’d bought his book trilogy at NYCC, I was nervous for my first podcast, but I also really enjoyed getting to do something new like that. I’d never thought about podcasting before and hadn’t listened to too many, but it was a great opportunity that I am glad I did. It’s already leading to more opportunities — be on the look out for at least two additional podcasts co-hosted by me in January!

Also in November, Keith from The Nerds of Color emailed me and asked me to join their website. I was ecstatic! Someone cold-called me and read my stuff and wanted me to write for them! It felt really good and the people over at The Nerds of Color and cool and nerdy and a lot of us are on the same wavelength. It also gave me a place to get out all of my Arrow and The Flash feels — outside of the comment section of fellow my fellow blogger over at Just About Write. I wrote a lot of Flash and Arrow stuff and even participated in a video podcast after the Flash/Arrow crossover.

In the fall, I also rebranded my blog. Formerly titled ConStar Studies TV, I decided I wanted to sound more active about what I want to do on this blog — and that’s write. I want to write for and about TV, so I changed the name and bought a URL: constarwrites.tv. I paid extra for the .tv but I kind of love it. I hope to do more writing in 2015. Smarter (more efficiently written) episode reviews, I gotta work on those pilot ideas I have, I need a new show to spec (my Parks spec is unfinished and no longer useable, Scandal’s pace is too fast for me right now, every time I get a good idea, it’s done in some alternative fashion on the show. =/). But I’m feeling good about 2015 writing wise. I think it will be a good year for learning and growing and getting better at this writing thing. Feeling less self-conscious, doing new things, experimenting, finishing something?, sending something out?, it’s a whole new world of possibility for growth and change and discovery. I’m excited for 2015.

To complete my look back at 2014, here are some of my favorite posts on this blog this year:

If you have ideas on how to make this blog better, want to yell at me gently inspire me to write more, or just want to chat TV or diversity, tweet me!

Happy new year!

I Was Quoted in Bitch Magazine on the New “Annie” Movie

A while back, I wrote this article on Annie for Black Girl Nerds (still super proud of it’s title), then Emily Hashimoto of Bitch Magazine asked for more of my thoughts on having a black girl lead in a movie, which I happily provided. Here’s the quote:

“Having more images of [young women of color] on film, which everyone absorbs from a very young age, could be so inspirational and allow girls to look at themselves as heroes, as conquerors, as worthy of rising above whatever problems they may have, because someone who looked like them was able to do it, even if it’s just on film,” writer Constance Gibbs explains.

In another article I wrote for Black Girl Nerds, I talk about “People of Color and the Empowerment Fantasy” and the lack of stories starring PoC protagonists who get to have superpowers. The great thing about Annie is that she is a poor girl who gets to live richly. There are very few stories where people of color get to live that fantasy. There was a film in the 90s called Blank Check where a kid finds a millionaire’s signed but blank check and he puts $1 million on it and deposits it. Then he has days and days of fun until he spends all the money. Could that film have been made with a black kid? I doubt it. We rarely get to rise out of the media portrayal of blacks in poverty (which is why The Jeffersons and The Cosby Show and Fresh Prince of Bel-Air were so important, showing the other side of the coin), so movies like Annie are important in showing black kids, especially poor black kids, that they can be themselves and have fun and that its still possible to escape whatever problems they’re living in. It’s all about hope; sometimes that hope is all you need to see a better future for yourself even when things are bleak.

Anyway, please read the rest of the article In Praise of Difficult Girls | Bitch Media.

P.S.

She called me “writer Constance Gibbs.” Ahh! 2015 is about living up to that title even more than this year.

Flash v Arrow Video Podcast with The Nerds of Color

Replace Barry with Christelle, replace me with Oliver and you have the Nerds of Color’s Flarrow Team!

Looks like podcasting is an official part of my life now. Before last month’s live podcast with Black Girl Nerds and Eric Dean Seaton, I’d never considered being a part of a podcast before. How would I even get involved? But one thing led to another and here I am doing a second podcast/show with at least two more slated for January! I seem to be on a roll!

On this show, for The Nerds of Color‘s weekly “Hard NOC Life” series (great title, right?), I get to virtually meet some of my fellow writers and fans over at the Nerds of Color and we talk about this week’s amazingly epic crossover between The Flash and Arrow, definitely two of my favorite shows this season. I’ve been writing recaps for these two shows for the last few weeks (barring the weeks when my TV broke, where Christelle and Keith took over), so it was great to verbally talk about the show in a cool format with other cool and level-headed fans who are equally passionate about the shows.

So if you want to see me talk about The Flash and Arrow, their trajectories this season, where I think they’re going and other nerd/TV things, watch below!

Or click through here: Flash v Arrow: Dawn of Just Awesomeness | thenerdsofcolor.

Podcasts are kinda fun! And my co-hosts were very easy to talk to, Keith had to cut our 2 hour conversation down to the hour and nine minutes presented before you! I’m glad to be getting more opportunities to meet new people and express my opinions. Maybe I have a future in TV criticism!

My First Podcast with Black Girl Nerds and Eric Dean Seaton

I joined my first ever podcast this past Sunday with Jamie from Black Girl Nerds and Eric Dean Seaton, a TV director and graphic novel author. Since Seaton is a TV director, we talked a bit about that as well as his graphic novel series Legend of the Mantamaji, which stars a black superhero.

I was super nervous, but I’d met Seaton briefly at NYCC, where he successfully sold me the advanced three-pack of his graphic novel, and had prepared questions in advance. Seaton worked on a lot of great shows like Living Single, Smart Guy, and That’s So Raven. He currently directs for quite a few Disney Channel original shows, including Austin and Ally, and has done a few “grown up” TV shows as well. It was great to speak to a black director, as that’s just another arena where people of color are underrepresented. He was super easy to talk to and very forthcoming about his experiences in both television and publishing. I really enjoyed myself, learned a bit about television, and did something new (hard for introverts like myself to do).

Click through if you want to listen; I’ll be doing some more next year!

#BGNPodcast In Case You Missed It: Eric Dean Seaton of The Legend of the Mantamaji – Black Girl Nerds.