A Day in the Life of a Black Actress

Slate's Culture Blog
Nov. 6 2013 2:06 PM

A Day in the Life of a Black Actress

1383763897
Kori Bailey (Andrea Lewis) faces an awkward audition in Black Actress.

YouTube

While filming a movie for Nickelodeon a few years ago, actress Andrea Lewis had an eye-opening experience. One of her fellow cast members showed his agent around set, addressing everyone by both their real and character names. When he got to Lewis—the only black person on set—he introduced her as “Andrea … the urban one.” As she recalls on her website,

I was so confused, I mean I understand that I’m the only black girl in this movie and more than likely I was cast because they needed a dose of color and this is their way of showing “diversity” but to be introduced to someone in that way? The urban one? Wow! I didn’t see myself that way.
Advertisement

That moment inspired her to write and star in Black Actress, a new Web series appearing on Issa Rae’s YouTube channel. In the premiere episode, Lewis plays Kori Bailey, an actress returning to the ever-stressful auditioning world after a “much-needed” hiatus and a breakup with her boyfriend, whose own acting career seems to be on the rise.

The series, produced by Rae, Brian Walker, and Tatyana Ali (of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air fame), premiered yesterday. The series will be immediately understandable to those who have been in the minority at an audition, but many of its moments will likely feel familiar to anyone who’s ever auditioned at all—or even had a job interview. As Ali says at the close of the episode, “It’s just a weird thing to go into a little room and ask somebody to love you.”

Aisha Harris is a Slate staff writer.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Don’t Worry, Obama Isn’t Sending U.S. Troops to Fight ISIS

But the next president might. 

The Extraordinary Amicus Brief That Attempts to Explain the Wu-Tang Clan to the Supreme Court Justices

Amazon Is Officially a Gadget Company. Here Are Its Six New Devices.

The Human Need to Find Connections in Everything

It’s the source of creativity and delusions. It can harm us more than it helps us.

How Much Should You Loathe NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell?

Here are the facts.

Altered State

The Plight of the Pre-Legalization Marijuana Offender

What should happen to weed users and dealers busted before the stuff was legal?

Surprise! The Women Hired to Fix the NFL Think the NFL Is Just Great.

You Shouldn’t Spank Anyone but Your Consensual Sex Partner

Moneybox
Sept. 17 2014 5:10 PM The Most Awkward Scenario in Which a Man Can Hold a Door for a Woman
  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 18 2014 8:58 AM Does this Colorado Poll Show Latino Voters Bailing on the 2014 Election?
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 17 2014 1:36 PM Nate Silver Versus Princeton Professor: Who Has the Right Models?
  Life
Dear Prudence
Sept. 18 2014 6:00 AM All Shook Up My 11-year-old has been exploring herself with my “back massager.” Should I stop her?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 17 2014 6:14 PM Today in Gender Gaps: Biking
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 17 2014 9:37 AM Is Slate Too Liberal?  A members-only open thread.
  Arts
Television
Sept. 18 2014 8:53 AM The Other Huxtable Effect Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 17 2014 9:00 PM Amazon Is Now a Gadget Company
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 18 2014 7:30 AM Red and Green Ghosts Haunt the Stormy Night
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 17 2014 3:51 PM NFL Jerk Watch: Roger Goodell How much should you loathe the pro football commissioner?