Reality is Not Good Enough

47 3Arts supporters
$5,367 raised of $5,000 goal
3ARTS MATCH SUPPORTED BY THE JOYCE FOUNDATION
0 Days 0:00:00 LEFT
Rashayla Marie Brown's project was funded on August 03, 2015
    • 3Arts matched
    • 107% contributed

In a Nutshell

Reality Is Not Good Enough is a video and photography series that turns reality TV on its head, especially the shows featuring a mostly African-American female cast. Beyond a parody, this will be an artistic inquiry into the tropes of reality television that is conceptual and abstract, while also being humorous and indignant. The project involves shooting a series of “mockumentary”-style shorts that will be edited together to artfully complicate the current images of black women in mass media and entertainment. I am attempting to flip the script—literally—by reimagining narratives about excellence, mediocrity, and power using this vernacular form. This will help me occupy a new space as an artist: that of a cultural producer working in the public sphere rather than only in the rarified worlds of art and academia. Your contributions are critical to the development of this project, which in its final presentation I hope will also support other emerging artists of color and women-identified performance artists. Donations will help cover the costs of filming and production such as actor salaries, location rentals, camera equipment, lighting, and a camera operator. The final videos will become part of my first commercial gallery exhibition with Aspect/Ratio. Once the show is over, I will host discussion forums on the internet and in real life to expand the audience.


The Full Story...

In 2012, my cousin, the founder of the non-profit Micah’s Voice, was attempting to shop a reality show featuring her, my mother, aunt and cousins living their lifestyles as philanthropists and socialites in Los Angeles. Her show was subsequently rejected due to the fact that it was not stereotypically negative, such as showing fights and other tired scenes we’ve all seen on reality TV. My family is a group of loving, smart, powerhouse women, and the fact that they were not appearing to be what networks thought they should be inspired me to create a series that questions the relationship between “reality” and stereotypes.

I am trained as a sociologist, so for the initial stages of this project in early 2015, I performed ethnographic research that required I wear a wig at all times. I’ve also done extensive research on the origin of stereotypes and black vernacular critical forms such as “hokum” and “shade” and plan to incorporate this into the series.

This project is twofold. Firstly, I will hire performance-based artists and actors to portray characters that I create (the backstage mom, the gold digger, etc.), and then I will edit the videos together to weave in humor and social critique on power and privilege. Secondly, I will make conceptual photographic portraits of the actors that I shoot for my extended project, investigating tropes of leisure and opulence.

The goals of this project are:

  • To share my work in its development stage with new audiences, including those that don’t normally participate in the art world
  • To question stereotypes and create relevant, new narratives of black life in contemporary culture
  • To collaborate with several artists in Chicago and beyond in the production of the series
  • To make my debut as the “cultural theorist as cultural producer”
  • To develop a series of photographs and videos that a non-exclusive art audience can enjoy.

I am currently developing my creative team and will share progress with you, my lovely contributors, as the cast and crew are confirmed.

Thank yous

Contribute any amount or choose from the levels below.

  • $10 - Personal thank you on social media
    ($0.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $25 - Dedication in the credits of the final video series, and personal thank you on social media
    ($0.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $50 - An autographed limited edition poster, dedication in the credits of the final video series, and personal thank you on social media
    ($0.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $100 - An 8" x 10” print, autographed limited edition poster, dedication in the credits of the final video series, and personal thank you on social media
    ($0.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $250 - A 12" x 15” signed and numbered print, autographed limited edition poster, dedication in the credits of the final video series, and personal thank you on social media
    ($0.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $500 - A 16" x 20" signed and numbered print, invitation to pre-release private screening with the cast, autographed limited edition poster, dedication in the credits of the final video series, and personal thank you on social media
    ($0.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $1000 - A cocktail reception with live performance and private screening with the cast of "Reality Is Not Good Enough," plus all of the above.
    ($0.00 is tax deductible.)
Rashayla Marie Brown image
A lifelong nomad who has moved 24 times, artist/scholar Rashayla Marie Brown manages a living studio practice across an extensive list of cultural production modes. Exploiting the role of ...
  • Update 1: Video Unlock Thank you
    Posted on June 20, 2015

    The project has been live for only 24 hours, and we've already reached $300! For each day that I get closer to my goal, I will unlock a video where you all can see my rarely-shown work as a video artist as a thank you. Today's video is Gaze (2011), where I danced like a video vixen for my mother. Her reactions are golden. My interest in complicating stereotypes began at the start of my art career. Thank you all so much for your support!

    Gaze (2011) from Rashayla Marie Brown on Vimeo.

    Update 2: Video Unlock Thank You #2
    Posted on June 22, 2015

    The project is almost at 25%! As a thank you for reaching this milestone, I will unlock a video where you all can see my rarely-shown work as a video artist as a thank you. Today's video is Puro Teatro (2013), where I construct an opening scene for a movie using symbols associated with the singer La Lupe. Thank you for supporting!

    Puro Teatro (Coming to Theatres) - 2013 from Rashayla Marie Brown on Vimeo.

    Update 3: Video Unlock Thank You #3 and #4
    Posted on July 07, 2015

    In anticipation of reaching 33% where 3Arts will match my campaign donations, I have unlocked two rarely-shown works from 2013 and 2015. I thank you all for supporting and sharing my project with your loved ones. Many folks who donated, I've never met, and so hearing from you definitely helps me get closer and closer to my goal! Much love as always!

    https://vimeo.com/rmbstudios/offthehook

    https://vimeo.com/rmbstudios/privateparty


    Update 4: Matched by 3Arts
    Posted on July 28, 2015

    Thank you all for your generous contributions, which allowed me to reach my match. We have one week to go, and 23% of the goal left to reach! Please spread the word. As a thank you, I'm sharing a meme I made to celebrate the occasion!

    Black Kardashian (2015)

    Update 5: 10% and 3 Days to Go!
    Posted on July 31, 2015

    I'm *this* close to reaching my goal. Thank you all for spreading the word and making sure folks know about the project. As a thank you for reaching this far, and to push through my last $500 or so, I want to share another meme I made for the occasion, this time featuring Nene Leakes. 

    White Nene Rashayla Marie Brown

    • Thank you to the following for contributing to 3Arts with the recommendation that we support this project.

    • Ann-Marie Hammond

    • Tom White

    • Taylor Hubbs

    • joe carpenter

    • Matt Morris

    • Sherrilyn Carter

    • Scott Smith

    • Emily Green

    • Kescia Gray

    • Rami George

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    • Alexandria Eregbu

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    • Bonnie Jean Cranon

    • Andria Matthews

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    • Cecil McDonald, Jr.

    • tameka norris

    • Stacey Cartier

    • Anonymous Supporter

    • Ashlee Jacob

    • Ashley Denise

    • Janelle Miller

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