BLACK&SEXYTV is an independent video network on YouTube. An outgrowth of Dennis Dortch’s 2008 feature A Good Day to Be Black and Sexy, it has released five episodic series, including The Number, RoomieLoverFriends, That Guy, Hello Cupid, and The Couple, for which the network successfully crowdsourced a spin-off. It has been featured in Ebony, Clutch, Shadow and Act and Indiewire, and regularly collaborates with up-and-coming talent, including Issa Rae and Lena Waithe. This essay is part of Televisual‘s “Indie TV Innovation” series.
Some gravitate to the title with excitement. Others are more shy and quiet about it.
Our digital network is making the simple statement that black culture is modern, progressive and every day – all day – sexy.
Our approach is realism.
Founders Dennis Dortch and Brian Ali-Harding have been carving out this niche since their college days. Jeanine Daniels and myself – also founders – line up with that sensibility and bring the woman’s touch to the brand. It’s a great balance of four creatives, and we are relentlessly straightforward with each other doing whatever it takes to serve the brand which is ultimately our people – our audience.
The sense of humor we promote is a mix of wryness and mischief – we like to be playful, and we infuse that into all of our series. If we’re laughing you will be too. We are constantly asking ourselves – what would really happen or what has really happened…imagining and re-creating realities provides more emotional or hilarious moments.
We are on our 5th episodic series. The structural mechanics of running a network are challenging and sometimes daunting. We suffer from sleep deprivation and stress to turn out our weekly Black&Sexy releases, but our vision of becoming a household name keeps us on target as we take a deep breath and deal with the weekly priorities. Those include managing everything from script development, to production, post-production, internal and external PR, merchandising, other sales opportunities, and packaging for possible network placements. Black&Busy Baby.
Music is a strong component of our brand as we collaborate with indie soul artists for every series to bring the nuanced emotional tone through the story. We will be expanding on this relationship we have with the indie music community in the near future.
Our actors are handpicked through referrals and auditions. Many have remarked on our focusing on black women with natural hair, and we feel we are a visual representation of the new tide of black women that don’t feel bound to always wear a straightened hairstyle. We aren’t limited to this, but we definitely speak to that variety. With our actors we look for subtlety and honesty in performance, as well as the ability to improv and stay flexible with our ever-changing scripts and storylines.
We are most successful when we combine our instincts with the energy of our viewers. Our audience is smart, very astute and not afraid to speak up for what they want. We lean eighty percent women with a median age of 24-35. US, UK, Canada, France and Germany. Ultimately, we are here for the long term – building our community worldwide to tune in and interact with our content as often as we deliver it.
Numa Perrier is co-founder and head of development at BLACK&SEXYTV. She heads development and creative production for the BLACK&SEXY.TV network at large, ushering projects from script to screen. She is co-creator of the breakout YouTube series RoomieLoverFriends, distributed on the Issa Rae Channel. Numa also co-stars in The Couple, BLACK&SEXY.TV’s most watched series.