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Talkin’ Knotty with Dennis Dortch: Black and Sexy, Baby!

 

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Scooch over, BET.

There’s a new brand of underground Black comedy that is becoming increasingly popular. Thanks to Black&Sexy TV productions,  short comedies that showcase funny and relatable models of African Americans that are anything but mainstream are available at your fingertips. Reminiscent of UPN in the early nineties, but smarter, more adult, and more fun than ever, YouTube series such as The Couple, The Number, and Hello Cupid entertain and delight viewers weekly with fresh and hilarious material. On top of being entertaining, the female actresses often cast in Black&Sexy Productions are predominately kinky-haired and naturally textured, which makes watching the shows all the more relatable and different from mainstream television.

I know firsthand how great these series are because admittedly, I’m a crazed fan. So much so that I reached out to the creative director of Black&Sexy TV, Dennis Dortch, who graciously agreed to interview with Kiss My Curls. He talks to us about why he loves casting women with natural hair, collaborating with Issa Rae, and how he inadvertently changed the course of future media.*

 

KMC: Shows like RoomieLoverFriends, The Couple, and That Guy are very different from Black shows that we see on television today. When you first started out, was it your intention to fill a niche in Black entertainment that you thought was missing?

 

Dortch: Actually this was not my first intention, it just sort of happened like that. I’ve always loved film and I was really just trying to figure out what my contribution was to the world, and this is it. It’s something that I try not to think about, because it adds a lot of pressure.

 

KMC: Understandable! So I’ve noticed that you showcase a lot of women with natural hair in your webshows. Is there a specific reason for this?

 

Dortch: This has a lot to do with my personal taste! Women with natural hair are beautiful, and I’ve always been more attracted to natural, real women. Also I am a bit afro-centric, so in a way I am rejecting what Black women are supposed to look like in the media. They don’t all have to be light-skinned with straight hair.

 

KMC: Agreed. But you are aware that many natural-haired women follow and relate to your webshows because of this.

 

Dortch: I think that women with natural hair love the webshows because of the actresses I feature, but also because the natural hair movement is mainly taking place online, and so are my shows. Online is like the new underground railroad! We are on the same path of the natural hair vloggers and bloggers, and so our fan bases are bound to mix.

 

KMC: Speaking of online paths, you and Issa Rae of Awkward Black Girl recently collaborated to create series RoomieLoverFriends. How did that come about?

 

Dortch: Black&Sexy was not on YouTube for a long time, we had our own website. I initially saw an episode of Awkward Black Girl and was drawn to it. After watching a few more episodes I thought that Issa really had something, and so I reached out to her on Facebook. I didn’t hear anything back, but ironically I ran into her at a fast food joint here in California, and we exchanged information. She was familiar with our work also, and so there was a mutual admiration that made it easy to work together.

 

KMC: Did collaborating with Issa Rae bring any changes to Black&Sexy, or vice versa?

 

Dortch: We both benefited in a way from the collaboration; she had a large audience that we definitely wanted to reach out to, and she was looking for something fresh and new. So in the end we both made changes based on each other. We both benefit from each other’s success, and so there is no competition between us.

 

KMC: Any plans to work with major networks?

 

Dortch: Absolutely, probably online. We are probably more HBO than ABC because we are less commercial, to be honest, but we would definitely be open to bringing some ideas to and working with larger networks.

 

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I’m crossing my fingers for this. No lie.

 

Thank you for the interview Dennis! By the way, if you are an aspiring actor or actress in California and want to possibly be featured in a Black&Sexy production, sent a resume and headshot to casting@blackandsexy.tv for consideration.

 

If you haven’t seen the wonderful work of Black&Sexy, have no fear, click here! Be sure to check www.blackandsexy.tv online to keep up with the latest episodes of your favorite shows or to become a fan of some new ones. Most importantly, remember to stay sexy! 😉

 

*Questions and answers are paraphrased

 

 

 

 

 

 

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