If any of you follow Yaba Blay on social media, you’ll know two things about her: She loves Black people and has lots of fly ass best friends. For the past decade and a half, she’s been working actively as an Africana Studies scholar or as we say, teaching the truth to the young Black youth.
More recently, however, she’s begun producing a new kind of scholarship: TV. Last year, she forayed into television production with Professional Black Girls, a web series that highlights all of the remarkable aspects that make Black girls SHINE.
On the one hand, we are experiencing a moment where Black women and girls are publicly WINNING! From Representative (aka “Auntie”) Maxine Waters to Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, Sloane Stephens to the Nigerian Women’s Bobsled Team, Marley Dias to Issa Rae. (And as far a we’re concerned, Michelle Obama and Serena Williams win FOREVER.)
On the other hand, everyday Black women continue to be judged and criticized simply for who we are. On a scale of respectable to reality TV, we can’t seem to catch a break. Don’t speak like this, don’t wear that, don’t dance like this, don’t..don’t…don’t. Who, then, should we be? How, then, should we act?
By announcing ourselves “Professional Black Girls,” Black women and girls assert an unapologetic identity in a world that too often tries to tell us how we “ought to” act. Ultimately, we know that “acting right” robs us of our freedom, so instead, we free ourselves to be ourselves.
Last year, she put out Season 1, featuring some of academia’s bad asses feminists and activists – Joan Morgan, Dr. Kaila Story, Tarana Burke, Akiba Solomon and Dr. Treva Lindsay. For Season 2, however, she decided to switch things up a bit, and take the show on the road – to New Orleans to be exact.
Now, everybody loves New Orleans. They love the people, the culture, the music, the good times, and the food. Now imagine all of that, plus some very colorful Black women on camera rolled into one.
PBG Season 2 takes you into the lives of unapologetically Black women, good time girls who are committed to their craft and all of the incredible things that make them authentic cultural creators that they are.
She didn’t just get any random people, she got THE Originators of New Orleanian Professional Black Girldom. People like the Godmother of Twerking – Old School Bounce artist Cheeky Blakk. She interviews Tank from Tank and the Bangas and so many more.
So, on Tuesday February 13th, Yaba’s kickstarter campaign will come to an end. Her goal is to raise $50,000 by that time. While she actually achieved her initial goal of $25,000 in a record breaking THREE DAYS (I’m about to actually ask her to let ME hold $20), her new stretch goal will allow her to pay so many people who have worked so hard on this project, namely her producer Fresh Johnson.
Sidebar: Let me tell you about Fresh through me. I have to say this because Yaba has a bad habit of playing with my friends and not putting them back. You know the friend who would come to your house and play with your toys and try to walk out with them because they were an only child and they thought the toy belonged to them but you both know that it didn’t?
Well that’s Yaba. When she meets my friends, they all of sudden become HER friends. So anyway, Fresh was my wedding planner. She is also my soror. She is also a radio on-air personality. She also is a majorette in an ally girl crew called the Lady Pussyfooters. She also walks out of the door wearing a fluorescent colored wig on any given day. Fresh is THE show. And not only is she producing PBG Season 2, she’s also in it. But I digress.
Yaba wants to pay the nice lady, Fresh. So why don’t you let her hold $20? You know she’s good for it. And count down to the Season Premier of Professional Black Girl Season 2.
-Shantrelle P. Lewis aka @apshantology