Goodbye, winter caps—hello, summer hats! It’s that glorious time of year where many of us can switch from content creators to content consumers. NYWIFT members Mellini Kantayya and Kathryn O’Kane have put together #SummerHours, a series of fun summer books, movies, and TV shows by or about women.
By Mellini Kantayya
I have decidedly gone all-out-fan-girl over Issa Rae and her HBO series Insecure. I’m far from alone. In The Guardian review, writer Brian Moylan says, “There’s something quite remarkable about HBO’s long-gestating comedy Insecure. It’s the first pilot this season that comes close to perfection, the sort of show that leaves you feeling giddy, eager to tell all of your friends about it.”
Issa Rae in HBO’s Insecure
Indeed. But why stop there? I first discovered Rae through her 2011 web series The Mis-Advenures of Awkward Black Girl, which follows J, a likable twenty-something nerd, as she navigates laugh-out-loud uncomfortable situations, exacerbated by her own self-consciousness. The series has that fun-indie-film feel à la Clerks and you’ll buzz through the episodes quickly.
This summer, I am also looking forward to reading Rae’s New York Times bestseller, also titled Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl. Comedic luminaries Lena Dunham and Mindy Kaling have both sung its praises, describing it as “brilliantly wry” and “lovably awkward” respectively.
(Cover photo by Bridgette Matthews)
Meet NYWIFT member Jean Criss, an accomplished woman in media and tech, who has founded four successful e-commerce companies, showcasing brand innovation and ability to create. With certifications in digital media, fashion, and business, Jean is a notable figure in the industry, regularly appearing on TV, podcasts, and live radio shows. She is also a philanthropist and passionate advocate for women in business, actively supporting growth and female empowerment. Jean’s commitment to emerging technologies and trends allows her to navigate these ever-changing territories with resilience and fortitude.READ MORE
Welcome to NYWIFT, Kilara Sen! Kilara is a Japanese female stand-up comedian and actor, moving to New York this summer. Kilara currently is hosting "Japanese Whisky Lockdown" and "Japanese Whisky World" on Dekanta TV. She also appeared on international TV such as Asia's Got Talent, Paul Hollywood Eats Japan, and Welcome to the Railworld. Kilara is gender non-conforming (she/they), a "hikikomori" survivor (a form of severe social withdrawal), and had a wonderful year at Historically Black Colleges. Based on her experiences, she shares her strong and funny voice on mental health, feminism, and diversity. She believes that everyone should be as special and unique as a unicorn. Also, she is the voice breaking stereotypes of Japanese women: the New Pink. Kilara thinks of herself as a Pink Unicorn. Kilara spoke to us about breaking down stereotypes, community support, and finding liberation through comedy.READ MORE
Let’s give a warm NYWIFT welcome to Myrakel Baker! Myrakel is a documentary filmmaker and development assistant living in Brooklyn. Inspired by her upbringing in a Black southern household, she aspires to produce character-driven stories rooted in identity and belonging with a focus on women’s voices. As a development and programming assistant, she’s worked with HBO Documentaries on George Carlin's American Dream, Spring Awakening: Those You’ve Known, and The Janes to name a few. She is looking to growing as a director and development producer, expanding on her work of sensitive, vérité-led documentaries.READ MORE
NYWIFT member Arlette Thomas-Fletcher is a multi-talented filmmaker and production executive. She has handled every creative and technical aspect of media production during her decades-long career, writing, directing, and producing her own projects and those of others. Arlette is a published author and has several books on Amazon, including her children’s book Dreamer’s Journey, which was just released. She is currently working on an animated series called The Cat Faced Cat.READ MORE