V spotlight: gabrielle of i am the nu black
V: what inspired viv + clair t-shirt collection?
gabrielle: i think for me and a good number of people my age aunt viv and clair huxtable, although fictitious tv characters represent attributes of women we know. i count myself privileged to have grown up in a period where these images were on television as i feel they’ve definitely had a positive influence on me.
it’s interesting that even now that so many years after both of those shows ended that those characters are still held in such high esteem - almost as a benchmark for well-rounded black women; a complete 180 from what we see on tv today.
the sketch was created by illustrator ron ackins whose work i’ve admired for a long time, so when i decided on the concept i knew he’d be the right person to interpret my vision.
it received such a huge amount of positive feedback after he posted it on facebook and tumblr that selling making it into a t-shirt seemed like a wise choice!
V: why did you choose the original aunt vivian, janet hubert-whitten?
g: i pose this question to nearly everyone i have a discussion about the show with: name a memorable scene that daphne maxwell reid was in.
i felt i didn’t have much of a choice, she was badass!
V: i stumbled upon a blog titled: 'five reasons why the first aunt vivian was better than the second aunt vivian.' what are your thoughts on society comparing the two; especially when it comes down to their skin complexion?
that’s an interesting question. from what i remember at the time of the switch i was quite young and don’t recall a big fuss being made about it. now i’m older and especially understanding history and how the media works i feel their comparison stems from a long history of what the media sees as ‘acceptable’. i do find it interesting that in terms of common stereotypes of black women that although the first aunt viv is seen as more memorable - janet hubert's character was a lot more outspoken and 'sassy' whereas i feel daphne reid's character was a lot more passive.
i would have loved to be a fly on the wall in the meeting when they started casting for janet hubert's replacement lol. can you imagine the backlash there would have been if that had happened today?!
do you have plans on continuing the adaptation of african-american tv moms? a few that comes to mind are: florida evans, from good times or a modern day tv mom, like rochelle rock, from everybody hates chris.
that would be really cool! i’m a huge supporter of collaboration and after 4 years of featuring artists from africa and the diaspora on my own blog the:nublk, i’m keen to continue working with creatives to come up with awesome collaborative projects.
someone requested an uncle phil and cliff huxtable shirt which would be hilarious! the viv & clair line has really evoked a sense of nostalgia with a lot of people so who knows…
purchase your viv + clair t-shirt here!
V: kimee brown
p.s. check out this hilarious huffington post: our favorite black tv moms