With rap becoming the number one genre in America, the discourse around African-American issues are at an all-time high, most notably black men and mental health. Popular culture will point you right to it; Kendrick Lamar, Jay-Z, and Childish Gambino dominated the 2018 Grammy’s with politically charged albums that represented the socio-political struggles of African American depression. Watching the shift in culture on the horizons with films like Moonlight, the film sector is showing suit. With Moonlight garnering great acclaim, the makers of Deleted Reality look to delve deeper in a new YouTube TV show.
Deleted Reality, in premise, seeks to shed light on black mental health issues currently not seen in mainstream viewing. Demetrius Diaz, the creator of the show, pulled from his own personal experiences to craft his brainchild.
“In 2015, I lost two good friends to suicide, and it brought me to the point to of wanting to pay homage. In me being a creator, I wanted to show somebody in a point of helplessness, that people relate, that you’re not alone,” Diaz told CL.
Ryan Brison, Deleted Reality's writer, added, “We wanted to go as deep as we can with subjects that aren’t talked about and shied away from. We want to make people not afraid to speak on things.”
The sci-fi elements in the series draw comparisons to recent films and series such as Blade Runner 2049, Black Mirror, and Altered Carbon; Ryan notes that the sci-fi element “compliments [the story]...with certain issues that come up we don’t get to really digest things before we’re forced to move on.” Cinemaphotoger Anthony House agrees, adding that the decision to go sci-fi influenced how he shot the series, to capture unconventional angles.
However, sci-fi isn’t the only big influence at play; akin to Donald Glover’s Atlanta, the creators hailed modern day hip-hop as a huge guiding hand in exploring Deleted Reality’s themes.
“The music I was listening put me in a different state of mind. I listened to Kendrick’s To Pimp a Butterfly, Damn., and Joey Bada$$’s new album (ALL-AMERIKKKAN BADA$$). The concepts and themes they had talk a lot in regard to mental health and how America views the body and how the body actually is. How society has made these individuals feel, at a point of no return. No one is really around.”, spoke Ryan.
All in all, with the creation of Deleted Reality, the creators really seek to give a voice and outlet for those in the urban communities suffering. Demetrius looks to expand to bigger outlets in 2018 such as Netflix and Amazon and lend true help to communities and families; Ryan wants to give hope.
“It’s ok to be down, but there’s a brighter tomorrow.”
Deleted Reality premieres February 28th on YouTube. View their trailer below.