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Our Names Are Sam: (l-r) Sam Bailey, Samantha Lee.

Our Names Are Sam, the creative collective behind You’re So Talented: (l-r) Sam Bailey, Samantha Lee.

You’re So Talented Gets It Right.

If you are tired of the trauma porn of Orange Is The New Black, you may be seeking something a bit more uplifting. This is where You’re So Talented comes in. You’re So Talented is the tale of a 20-something Black actor living in Chicago, Illinois.

The show centers on the character Bea Freeman, played by one of the show’s creators, Sam Bailey. She laughs, loves, creates and thrives as she bounces back from the usual disappointments that someone in their ’20s inevitably experiences, particularly if they’re a struggling young actor.

What a concept.

Related: Orange is the New Black is Trauma Porn Written for White People [spoilers]

No gut-wrenching tales of BIPOC ripped apart for white audiences to watch them emotionally bleed on television, no expected stoicism of the Strong Black Woman archetype. Bea simply experiences the usual ups and downs that are part of navigating early adulthood. The show provides much-needed representation to a variety of audiences without objectifying anyone. Why is this so hard for networks to get right?

You're So Talented

You’re So Talented.

You’re So Talented premiered Feb. 4 on weareopen.tv, a new digital distro hub for female filmmakers, queer creators and artists of color. The show is written, directed and created by Bailey, produced by Samantha Lee and shot by Mateo Gonzalez. You’re So Talented features original music by Whatever Spectrum, which includes the show’s producer, Samantha Lee, and Alistair Slaughter. This is not a massive production, but it has seen critical acclaim from the Tribeca Film Festival, the Gotham Awards, BET and Bitch Media.

The show is in its second season after a successful debut. The second season was produced with a grant from the Chicago Digital Media Production Fund, a project of Voqal fund administer by Chicago Filmmakers. It is yet another brilliant example of why we need more grants and funding toward the arts in order to continue diversifying media.

Bailey and Lee are behind the creative collective Our Names Are Sam (ONAS). Together, ONAS aims to produce stories highlighting women and people of color both online and in cinema. Currently, they are in post-production for their short film Raina’s Not Here. Bailey is a writer, actor and director. Lee is a musician, educator and writer/director. They describe the relationship, in their own words, as “choosing to create, work, and co-sign each others’ bullshit in Chicago.”

You’re So Talented is a perfect example of the experiential art that women are capable of making when they have support. The audience is clearly there. We’re watching and we’re loving it. ONAS, you’re so talented.


Laurel Dickman is an intersectional feminist, plus size model, stylist, and fat activist that can also be found via her blogs, Exile In Dietville and 2 Broke Bitches. She grew up in the south between Florida and North Carolina, migrating to the Portland, OR in 2005. All three places inform her perspective of the world around her a great deal. While in Portland, she worked with the Alley 33 Annual Fashion Show, PudgePDX, PDX Fatshion, Plumplandia, and numerous other projects over the near decade that she was there. In August of 2014, she moved to the Bay area with her partner, David and trusty kitty, Dorian Gray. She continues her body positive and intersectional feminism through various forms of activism, fashion, photography projects, and writing from her home in the East Bay. She can be reached at laurel@wyvmag.com and encourages readers to reach out to her to collaborate!

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