Keith Josef Adkins, a former writer for the now-defunct CW series Girlfriends, has undertaken an ambitious project with his new webseries, The Abandon. Adkins is shaking up an industry not known for casting strong Black leads within the science fiction genre.
Colorlines caught up with Adkins as he spoke about The Abandon, which launched its pilot episode last December after getting an $8000 Indiegogo funding boost. The premise of the show is both intriguing and timely: a group of friends go out of town for a weekend camping excursion but find out on Twitter that the planet is being invaded by aliens. Adkins spoke on the task of writing lines for five Black professional men and what messages he hopes to inject.
“There's so little representation of black people on TV, period,” said Adkins. “But even when you think about thrillers and sci-fi and horror, the black person, particularly the black guy, is usually killed off first. It's just to allow, you know, black characters to be central to the story.”
Adkins also spoke on the difference in writing for male characters versus the all-female leads on Girlfriends. “It was great writing for those guys. It allows for me to paint a picture of the diversity in the black male community,” shared Adkins. “I wanted to make sure that I represented as much as I could within that group, and that everyone is in their own transitions.”
Adkins said he's currently in another round of fundraising and hopes to have the show's next episode ready for a February release. He aims to make a larger statement that because the characters are all African-American, their race becomes secondary and their fight for survival becomes primary.
Check out the full interview here and the pilot episode of The Abandon below.