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Founders of Black & Sexy TV Talk About Their Growing Movement

Dennis and Numa

The past year has offered the general public a surplus of lead African American roles on prime time television. But prior to 2014, when they were few and far in between, Dennis Dortch, Numa Perrier, Brian Harding and Jeanine Daniels sought to produce content with Black people solely in mind.

Now, the innovative group of thinkers are climbing extremely fast up their own ladder of success, in their own creative way. In an exclusive interview with Atlanta Blackstar, Dortch and Perrier talk to us about the movement that is Black & Sexy TV.

Dennis Dortch and Numa Perrier, founders of The Black & Sexy TV network, have banded together to create a space where African Americans can be seen in the simplest light, doing normal activities, but with a unique edge.

The inception of the Black & Sexy brand as a whole started with Dortch when he was a film student. Along with cinematographer and co-founder Brian Harding, the two birthed the 2008 independent film, A Good Day to Be Black & Sexy. They met Perrier a year prior to the film’s release via Myspace, forming a mutual appreciation for one another’s work.

Not long after, Perrier jumped on board to help create the movie poster for the film, thus helping to create A Good Day to be Black & Sexy. The film was a featured success at the Sundance Film Festival in 2008. It was there that their famous tagline, “Black and Sexy Baby,” was born as well.

Consisting of six vignettes, the film showcases situations dealing with sexuality in the Black community that have traditionally been considered taboo—including interracial relationships, marital infidelity and age difference attractions.

Dortch and Perrier admit that there were some difficulties in the genesis of their journey, because money was a major issue.

“You either need money or you need time, so we had lots of time,” Dortch remembers.

Internally, their team had all the skills it took to edit, write, direct and market, but the money to fund the projects was low.

“We were at danger of being burnt out because we were wearing so many hats,” Dortch says.

Additionally, they had to figure out how to release their work, as well as how to sustain it.

“We were creating all of this content but we didn’t have a place to put it,” says Perrier. “So it was just sitting on a hard drive and we were kind of day dreaming about this idea, but we hadn’t really executed it fully.”

They decided to take their work to YouTube in 2011, releasing their first web series, The Number, which saw significant success. From there Black & Sexy TV released several hit web series via YouTube, including The Couple, the American Black Film Festival award-winning Roomieloverfriends, Hello Cupid and That Guy.

Each series featured fully developed plots that focused on the everyday ins and outs of life, while still delivering a fresh narrative. Bolstered by diverse acting talent, Black & Sexy TV’s lineup of shows tapped into the nuanced experiences of Black people, garnering the network a respectable following of hundreds of thousands of viewers.

Taking the brand even further, Black & Sexy TV began airing pay-per-view episodes of various shows, when they entered the world of premium subscription services earlier this year with Black & Sexy Now. In partnership with distribution and streaming company, VHX, the network provides new original material, along with behind-the-scenes footage and commentary for only $7 per month. Sexless and its spin-off, Chef Julian are among Black & Sexy Now’s most popular shows. Perrier and Dortch both credit fan loyalty following their partnership with VHX to the “homegrown feel” of their marketing strategies.

“Marketing has been a natural knack for us,” Perrier says.

Using social media keeps Black & Sexy closely connected to the fans.

“We still feel obtainable, accessible,” says Dortch. “We’re still connected to people, which is different than most corporations can actually achieve. What we get in return is people feeling like they know us or that we’re giving them a gift, and they give a gift back by spreading or sharing the word about what we’re doing.”

Dortch and Perrier also say they’ve created attention for their upcoming shows by spreading the word through already successful series. They both say Black & Sexy TV has changed them individually.

“Black & Sexy is alive in my DNA,” Dortch says. “It’s given me the opportunity to fulfill that dream and fulfill that brand that I started off doing and literally becoming a source of income and my focus every day. Before I was chasing Sundance and opportunities to work in Hollywood. Black & Sexy TV has stopped all of that. It’s about what we can do for ourselves at this point.”

Perrier agrees.

“I’ve always been very creative and also I’ve always wanted to figure out to make money off of my creativity,” she says. “I’ve always had a strong chord in me that’s entrepreneurial and creative. I think Black & Sexy TV, is a place where both of those exist really well. It’s just kind of grounded me where I’m not footing around wondering where to put all of this creative energy and how to have my own company, it’s all come together.”

Recently celebrating over three years of their productions, Black & Sexy TV aired their first awards show on June 21, 2015. The hour-long program featured singer Janelle Monáe, who was presented with the Black & Sexy Icon Award. Perrier and Dortch say the awards ceremony was both affirming and validating, and next year they promise it will be even bigger and better.

Furthering their creative vision, Black and Sexy TV recently scored a development deal with HBO for one of their early hit series, The Couple. Currently still in the editing process, the show isn’t expected to receive a release date until fall.

In the meantime, the network will continue to showcase its diverse array of programming, including the third season of That Guy and a new series, Driven.  Starting in October, the prequel season of Roomieloverfriends will begin airing, and in December the second season of Sexless and the third season of Hello Cupid is expected to air. Additionally, the Roomieloverfriends movie, will drop on Christmas day. There is also a new series being developed, but the network is keeping the details under wraps.

With its innovative approach to storytelling and commitment to bringing diverse Black stories to the masses, Perrier and Dortch shows no signs of slowing down. When asked to describe Black and Sexy TV in one word, their answer is simple—”revolutionary.”

 

What people are saying

One thought on “Founders of Black & Sexy TV Talk About Their Growing Movement

  1. Em Adams says:

    This is the most significant development since the independent distribution of the film, "Daughters of the Dust", back in the mid 1990's. CulturalGrassroots.com Funding Images and Stories We Want To See!
    This is what is meant by "Economy of Our Existence" our Images and Stories give us a competitive advantage in the market place. Support Black&Sexy Baby!

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