There was a time when politics was impolite conversation for the dinner table and was never polite for anyone but men. Glass ceilings have broken in more ways than one during this 2016 election cycle as other genders have proverbially taken their talents to the web to educate and protest issues and political maneuvering.
Khellie Braxton and Lisa Frye are among the content creators. Braxton and Frye both attended Emerson College and moved to Los Angeles to work in entertainment. Like most Emerson College grads, they found work quickly. What they didn’t find much among their colleagues were political voices willing to use their talents to push important conversations forward Both were among the first to join a group started with fellow Emerson College alumni, The Bill of Wrongs, and began making parodies and sketches to challenge social and political issues. Nothing could have prepared them for the material the upcoming election would provide them.
“We felt disenfranchised and unheard with all of the candidates and it seemed bizarre that we would be the only ones” Braxton stated. Khellie, a queer gender non-conforming DJ and writer teamed up with Frye to write a series of candidate specific sketches to launch during the conventions. “Lisa felt the same way. So we started writing.” The two wrote America’s Next Top Leader of the Free World, while the name parodies the now infamous model-search-reality show America’s Next Top Model, the sketches pull bits from reality shows of all kinds. From Bad Girls Club to Duck Dynasty, nothing was off limits
“The premise became clear to us, and almost felt too on the nose when all of the jokes seemed to write themselves.” Lisa said. Many of the jokes are also pulled directly from real political news. “We found a lot of material in the news, and on social media and thought it had to be fake. But more often than not, we found our candidates had been credibly quoted or caught on camera in ways that easily lended themselves to parody,” Frye added.
While the Bill of Wrongs enlightens through humor, there are yet others driving the points through short, strategic viral videos. Tara Vajra is a Head of Production at Brave New Films in Culver City, California. She and Director of Campaigns Regina Clemente work tirelessly to produce new, digital videos and series that can be shared online, tackling controversial issues and stances. We have never shied away from controversy at Brave New Films,” Clemente said, “we talk about the things people feel are far too complex to discuss and we find ways to make them digestible so we can activate more people to take concrete action. From the Flint water crisis to prison reform, BNF has produced shorts that have dived deep, with mass appeal, in under 5 minutes. “Our team is mixed gender, and we have women who do our graphics, who film, who edit, and who distribute here,” Vajra stated. “Everyone has a voice.”
This week, Bill of Wrongs will be releasing the last two installments of Braxton and Frye’s sketches on their YouTube channel. Brave New Films will be launching their Get Out To Vote short entitled Express Yourself. Non-male led and issue driven, the future of our country is being broadcasted online.