Francina Smith wears many hats. Along with being a writer, actor, and community activist she's also the mind behind the new and oh so relevant "Black Panties Web Series". Black Panties Web Series takes place in NYC and is centered around four friends Mahogany, Valarie, London & Juice. We watch them deal with love, mental health, relationship/situationship drama and everyday issues black women face. The series was written to "give a platform to plus size women to be honest with the world through storytelling" but honestly no matter what size or gender you are, these are stories that relate to everyone. We recently caught up with Francina Smith to learn more about the series and her background as a creative.
Creative. Fearless. Free.
You’ve loved creating stories from a young age, what's the first story or content you can remember creating?
I can definitely vividly remember creating mini skits and plays during family gatherings. I remember having journals and diaries and creating stories, recalling events, and birthing poems that carried me to the next day.
You wrote and performed a one woman play called “Same Blood/ Different City”, what was that play about? What was the inspiration behind that play?
Same Blood/Different City is a play that deals with the Black Woman’s mental psych due to police brutality specifically against Black Men in America. The inspiration behind the play came from cases such as Tamir E. Rice, Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland and many more.
What are some of your all time favoriteshows and why?
Living Single, Good Times, Golden Girls, Hey Arnold, Underground, New York Undercover. I love classic storytelling. The shows that make me dig deeper than the surface for hidden messages are quintessential to me as an artist. Personally I love older shows that allow me to binge and find the overall arc of the show, hear the different writers, watch the transitions through the seasons.
What are some shows that you see are "getting it right" in terms of portraying black women narratives?
Underground, Insecure, and How to Get Away with Murder. We are able to see the many layers of Black Women that once were not there.
What prompted you to create Black Panties Web Series? And what can we expect this season?
I saw a group of people that were misrepresented and aimed to create a series that amplified their voice. Expect to see women experience the magic of womanhood, expect them to slip up, expect them to be perfection, expect them to sexy and vulnerable.
Majority of you cast and crew are plus sized. Was that something you went into casting wanting to do or did it just happen that way?
Actually majority of the cast and crew are not plus sized, majority of our crew are women. However, two of the main characters are plus sized for a reason, and that did play a major factor in our casting process.
What’s next for you and Black Panties Web Series?
We are currently in the writing process for season 2 of Black Panties. We are also planning some events in the New York area to foster an experience with our audience.
If you haven't checked out episodes 1-5 of the Black Panties Web Series, I have no idea on what you're waiting for! Peep the trailer below and watch the rest of the series HERE. From what we can see, there's so much more in store for the series and Francina Smith.