Sunday 21st January 2018,

What OTHER Shows Will Pharrell Distribute on YouTube?

What OTHER Shows Will Pharrell Distribute on YouTube?

Fans of The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl were greeted with a surprise today when Pharrell Williams’ premium YouTube channel, iamOTHER, premiered the trailer for the popular web series’ anticipated second season, for which fans raised tens of thousands of dollars last year.

In it (below), Issa Rae’s J does her rap thing, recapping last season’s events and building anticipation for the upcoming season.

It’s easy to see why Pharrell got interested in ABG. After all, J’s most interesting — and often political — characteristic is her music, her self-described violent rapping that she does in private to save face. If Pharrell’s channel is aimed at “others,” J’s music is the vehicle through she expresses her otherness as an idiosyncratic, yet relatable, black woman. And her lack of “political correctness” in this arena has gotten her into trouble. So it’s charged: just the thing YouTube channels want.

For his part, Pharrell is trying to translate his (waning?) brand of cool to YouTube. iamOTHER has an interesting slate of programs planned, including a show on art and activism, a tech show with Jonathan Geller, a nouveau trend show called Hypebeast.

All of this is packaged under the moniker of “other.” As Pharrell narrates in the channel’s promo, posted last week: “You’re right. I am different. I am weird. I don’t fit in your world. You know why? ‘Cause I’m other.”

I’m intrigued by the channel’s ambiguously political, alterna-hip image, and the ABG pick-up was an very saavy move. ABG has tens of thousands of fans — now future-iamOTHER subscribers. In the wake of TV’s whiteout, which might be changing but of which ABG is a recent victim, iamOTHER now looks cooler, like the kind of neo-television YouTube is hellbent on creating.

Of the many, many, many “other” web series out there, what ones will Pharrell deem hip and cool next?

iamOTHER is certainly a channel-to-watch.

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About The Author

Aymar Jean Christian is assistant professor of communication at Northwestern University. He writes about media and society for a number of publications. For more information, click the "About" tab at the top of the page.