Alumni of the Baltimore School for the Arts have one thing in common: they’re not afraid to make their own opportunities. Imani Nia Robinson, Theatre Class of 2011, saw there isn’t a television show that caters specifically to the black millennial demographic. So, teaming up with Ayana Parker Morrison, Theatre Class of 2009, they decided to create a pilot of a new TV series, 3 Blind Mice, about the rocky transition into adulthood “while embracing the uniqueness of black culture.”
“As I have entered into adulthood, I’ve had many challenges and unknowns that I know many can relate to. So I decided to write a show about it,” said Robinson, who wrote the pilot. “Everyone struggles with adulthood, but I want to bring back the 90s vibe. This series shows three different women, from three vastly different backgrounds, come together in support of one another.”
The duo conducted a great deal of research that revealed a definite hole in the market.
“There is an audience who feels they are lacking programming that speaks to their experiences as young Black people coming into their own as adults,” said Morrison, who is producing the show. “3 Blind Mice will speak to this audience.”
The show will follow Naeemah, a young black woman who attended predominantly white schools all her life. After she gets expelled from Yale University her junior year, she transfers to Howard University. Shortly after her arrival, she realizes the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Even amongst her own people, she still feels out of place. Naeemah and her two roommates will have to hurdle obstacles during their transition into adulthood.
3 Blind Mice illustrates the physical and mental diversity among black millennials, Robinson said, while implementing 90s television nostalgia.
“If A Different World and Living Single had a baby, you’d get 3 Blind Mice!” Robinson said.
In addition to filling a void in the current television marketplace, 3 Blind Mice offers a voice to young black millennials.
“Art gives us the ability to reflect a vision of the world,” said Morrison. “We can then use this reflection to reconcile who we are with who we want to be. By seeing ourselves on television in the way that many other cultures and ethnicities get to see their communities represented, we can learn from where we’ve been and reach our greatest potential as we grow.”
Currently raising independent support for the project, they hope to begin filming in June and to have the pilot ready to shop to networks by 2019. Robinson dreams of pitching the project to Netflix, HBO (her current employer), or OWN.
Though young and relatively new to the workforce, both Robinson and Morrison have already been able to earn entry-level roles with stalwarts of the entertainment and theater industries, in addition to producing and presenting their own works on the side.
Having HBO’s The Wire on her resume during her academic career at BSA, Robinson continued to build her IMDB page after graduating from the California Institute of the Arts and landed a role on HBO’s The Deuce. She has now returned for the second season of The Deuce as a writer’s and producer’s assistant. (Another BSA alumnus, Lawrence Guillard Jr., plays the role of NYC cop Chris Alston on the show.)
Morrison earned a degree in drama from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She is currently producing fellow at the prestigious New York Theatre Workshop (the originator of Rent and other Broadway blockbusters), but has also produced independent theatre as well as short form films.
Robinson thanks BSA for introducing her to writing. “Junior scene night was when my writing was first performed in front of an audience,” she said. “My vision was brought to life, and it was then I knew I didn’t only want to act, but I wanted to write as well.”
There are many opportunities for anyone who wants to get involved with 3 Blind Mice. Filming will take place this summer in Baltimore, and they’re still looking for production assistants. They’re also hosting a 90s mixer/fundraiser on April 7 from 2 to 5 pm at Terra Cafe, 101 E 25th Street, 21218. Anyone who would like more information on either volunteering or the fundraiser can reach them at 3BlindMiceTVShow@gmail.com. You can also follow them on Instagram or Facebook.