When she’s not writing for animated shows like Nickelodeon’s "ChalkZone," Aydrea Walden fills her time with hobbies that she thinks people will find strange.
"I’ve always had weird hobbies, especially for a Black person—or so I’ve been told," she said in an emailed press release. “In high school, I loved Shakespeare and classical music. I mimed a few times. In college, I studied opera and ballet. And now, I attend swing dancing events, Renaissance Fairs and this one Victorian dance society class.”
She draws on these hobbies—and people’s reactions to them—in "Black Girl in a Big Dress," her new eight-episode web series that premieres today (October 4). Walden stars as Adrienne, a Black cosplayer who confuses her family and friends by adopting Victorian era clothes and speech. The series follows Adrienne as she starts a relationship with someone from her Victorian reenactment events, all while enduring the judgment of her loved ones.
Walden says in the release that she often encounters industry pressure to develop Black characters that conform to stereotypes. She created "Black Girl in a Big Dress" to push against those perceptions.
“I love that people are looking for more and more diverse stories,” Walden says. “But I find that I’m still getting asked to create characters that are more typically ‘Black.’ Like a lot of writers, I draw from my life experience when I’m writing. And sometimes, Black people stay up all night at swing dance competitions, or get up early to watch British sitcoms before work.”
Watch the first two episodes of "Black Girl in a Big Dress" below: