Aryka Randall is no stranger to speaking to the queer community. In 2010 she started The Fab Femme, an online magazine dedicated to sharing the stories of feminine women in the LGBTQ community. Three years later, she created a web series, Girl Play, about queer women in New Orleans. Then, in 2016 she released her book, She’s Just Not That Into You: The Fab Femme’s Guide to Queer Love and Dating.
After years of honing her storytelling skills, Randall decided to create a new web series, 30. Based on her book, the series is a “comedic portrayal of what taking on a quarter-life crisis looks like.” It explores the lives of three queer friends in Houston, TX. While the plot may feel similar to something you’ve seen before (Randall admits that she took a page from her favorite television show, Sex and the City,) 30 is much different.
For starters, it boasts a refreshingly inclusive narrative. Black, Latinx, and Afro-Latinx characters dominate each scene, offering a level of representation and diversity rarely seen in traditional media, or even popular queer media. Randall explains that this move was intentional on multiple fronts: She wanted to create representation for Latinx women, who don’t get enough screen time in film. She also aimed to deliver a lighthearted and accurate depiction of life as a Black woman, minus the downtrodden backstory Black characters are often saddled with.
Even more, Randall felt it was important to depict the strong bonds between Black and Latinx women. She explains, “I have friends of all races but I know a lot of Latinx women. It didn’t make sense to me that there wasn’t anything showing these women spending time together because we’re all minorities.”
30 uses humor to speak to queer millennials about what they’re going through as they’re going through it. From marriages to divorces and dating to career paths, 30 examines one of the most transitional periods in our lives so far. It does this by keeping the tone lighthearted while still touching on bigger topics that ripple through the queer community. Characters discuss spirituality through the importance of connecting to the universe and navigate conversations exploring polyamory and monogamy.
“I didn’t want the show to be just a lot of fluffy, meaningless, goofy whatever. I wanted it to have some depth in a comical way,” Randall explains. Her hope is that viewers take it upon themselves to explore any unfamiliar topics they come across while watching 30.
Having crowdfunded the money to produce the first half of season one, Randall’s relationship with the audience is different than most. 30’s fan base pitched in what they could, and the volume of those contributions tallied almost $10,000 in funding. Fans have followed along as the series moved through production.
“30 not only shows that coming together to create our own spaces is possible and necessary, but also that we can all be proactive about contributing to them.”
30’s first two episodes are currently streaming on Amazon Prime.