Posted on February 27 2017
“POC” is a buzzword that’s found itself in the media as of lately. Thanks to the rise of the fascist right, “marginalized” communities are finding themselves back at the drawing board, trying to figure out the ways we could work together. “POC” stands for people of color, a group that also translates into anyone but white people. It’s different than the buzzword “diversity” which usually translates into 5 white people and 1 person who isn’t white. The Brown Girls Web Series capitalizes on the idea that diversity doesn’t have to equate to tokenism. And that brown can represent people of varying ethnicity. It’s an idealistic idea that draws on the “multicultural” dream we were force-fed in the 90’s.
It attempts to sell us a world where a brown girl of Indian descent, Leila played by Nabila Hossain is BFFs and roommates with brown girl Patrica, played by Sonia Denis who is of African American descent. And it succeeds, even if it’s a bit heavy handed. The character’s family all make it a point to talk about how great their friendship is, in a way that comes off as obvious. I blame this on the web series format, which gives it’s characters a ridiculously short amount of time to give background into characters. But as the episodes play out we get past the annoying formalities and into the interesting character dynamics.
There’s a scene when Leila is affectionately tweezing Patricia’s eyebrows and their other friend, Victor whose character is a gay black guy played by Rashaad Hall comments on how cute they are. Almost too cute. Almost like a couple? Leila is queer and we later learn that Patricia is straight but that doesn’t take away from the “will they or won’t they” tension between the best friends. After all, don’t friends make the best lovers? Too bad Leila is just a whole hot mess who can’t come out of the closet. She’s in an on and off again situationship with a thick latina and they’re very adorable together. Leila just can’t find the strength to come out to her Indian family and this internal tension makes her Zoe Deschanel like quirks implode at the least convenient moments.
Patricia, has a Daria like disposition, she’s obviously the straight man. She’s getting over a huge break up with “thee” ex. Her mom, who in one episode quickly steals the show, will also deliver a blow that sends Patricia’s mental health into a spiral. Without giving away too much of the 7 episode web series, it’s very relatable for young queer people of color exploring themselves, their sexuality and their career interests in a big city. Even if you aren’t queer and are just tired of a lack of color in your rom-com sitcoms, the Brown Girls web series, is perfect for you.
Graphic By Sophia-Gach Rasool.