Wouldn’t it be amazing to turn the tables on the unseasoned for their ill-advised antics? Imagine getting reparations with a carefully worded incantation that gives a pompous bigot a taste of his own medicine.
That’s what happens in Blacker, a new short web series about racism that was co-created by Rhett Owen and Eric Lockley, who also happen to be the stars of the project. Like Freaky Friday but blacker, the series focuses on how we perceive race and how that perception affects the daily lives of black people—via both microaggressions and regular ol’ aggressive aggressions.
“The series tackles the ideas of race with a comedic punch because we all know that laughter is a great equalizer,” Lockley told The Root.
In the beginning of the series, we are introduced to a male character who probably delights in putting raisins in his potato salad. He’s accompanied by his girlfriend, who I’m presuming thinks pepper is too spicy. They’re oblivious to the world around them as they walk down a block dripping with entitlement and privilege. They bump into a black woman minding her black-ass business and instead of apologizing, they blame her for “loitering” and threaten to call the cops.
Sidebar: White people really need to stop treating 911 like it’s a damn Yelp review service for black people.
Where was I? Ahh yes, entitlement. They bump into a black woman and the trio starts to engage in a war of words that ends in the holder of #BlackGirlMagic casting a “spell” on the white man, causing everyone to see him as the thing he tries to oppress—the black man. Now everyone this alabaster-skinned man encounters sees him as a black man and he now has to navigate through life dealing what he’s been dishing out all his years.
Owen and Lockley use the aspect of magic/spell casting as a means to show you how identity can be created for you. How you, as a black person, can walk into an establishment and automatically be perceived as “staff” just by the color of your skin. Yeah, I know, the fact that this is an everyday occurrence is pure and utter bullshit, but it’s the world we unfortunately live in. I welcome any ideas of leaving this bitch and inhabiting another planet.
Blacker is what happens when Stephen King’s novel, Thinner, meets #BlackGirlMagic, real black girl magic. That voodoo that we do, in fact. But the creators are also posing a few questions about that magic. “Is our magic something that we asked for or is it a coping mechanism used to deal with society?” asked Lockley.
Our “magic” is something that we don’t usually get to wield in the film industry for ourselves, or it is often presented in the form of a “magical negro,” who uses his bewitching skills to further the ambitions and dreams of a white person (think The Legend of Bagger Vance or another Stephen King invention, The Green Mile). Blacker makes our story a priority and dispels this idea. The magic is ours to use—and in Blacker’s case, to hilarious effect.
But the real heart of the series is getting others to see what life in modern America is like for black people.
“White people have a responsibility to step up,” said Owen to The Root.
In the first two episodes, after the main character becomes “blacker” to all those who don’t know him, you’re left wondering if this experience will allow him to see the error of his ways. I personally doubt it, but you might want to keep hope alive.
Check out the first two episodes below: