Finally, a web series about what it’s like to survive in Oakland as an artist.
Uneasy is a comedic web-series created, written and produced by two women of color–Samiat Salami and Vanessa Flores. The series dives into the experiences of a codependent Nigerian-American and Mexican-American, best friend-duo struggling to continue to live in Oakland, CA. At the heart of it, the show is a coming of age narrative about integral survival, how to transition from being a girl to a woman and how to remain an artist when the going gets tough.
Meet the characters from Uneasy.
After the preview of this web series at the New Parkway, I met up with these incredible women to dive deeper into the show, the characters and the real life stories that resonate for so many of us who are struggling to make it in the Bay. In real life, these two ladies met at a party three years ago and agreed that night to go on this journey together. Throughout the interview, it became clear that so many of my favorite scenes were born from the real experiences these delightful women have had. I found their openness to show up in such a vulnerable way the reason I felt connected to them, both on and offscreen.
Here are some of our favorite moments from our exclusive LatinX interview.
LatinX : In one of my favorite scenes, Vanessa (who plays Kat), was faced with a situation where she couldn’t fit in with the American women around her, but also couldn’t fit in with the Latina woman she worked with because she didn’t speak Spanish. What were you trying to convey in that scene?
Vanessa: My mom was born in Texas and spoke Spanish, my dad came over from Guatemala in the 70’s and learned English. My parents spoke Spanish in the house and then didn’t want to teach it to us. They didn’t want us to have a hard time in school. That scene was absolutely real life.
Samiat: One of the most important things to me is making sure that we show up with a multitudinous of identity. I’ve often felt like I’m not Nigerian enough, I’m not black enough — having my frame of reference and pop culture be checked all the time, my accents be checked all the time.
LatinX: What is Latinx?
Vanessa: It feels all encompassing. Which is why it feels comforting but also confusing.
Samiat: It’s like the brown thing, so we’re two brown girls, how brown are we? I don’t want to be the person who defines things. I want to be the person who has the conversation about how we talk about things. Let’s keep having conversations about it. I don’t identify as Latinx, so why don’t I let people who do, guide me along? I don’t want to be the person who speaks for someone else.
Vanessa: Thank you.
LatinX : What kept you guys going when things got hard?
Samiat: The show gave me a sense of agency. It was the one world in which I could always come back to and be empowered and have a sense of my own narrative. I think the show saved me in a way. I feel like I graduated and didn’t know what I was doing, I didn’t have a sense of purpose and having a platform to dissect the issues I was struggling with, made me feel like I could claim something of myself back.
LatinX: What are the main conversations that you hope to raise with this show.
Samiat: Class. I don’t feel like class is something we talk enough about in this country. There is an expectation that you are supposed to go to college, graduate and move on with life and make all this money. But, what isn’t talked about is that some people have their inheritances, or parents that pay for their apartments. There is this expectation that you pull yourself up by the bootstraps.
LatinX: What does success look like in the future?
Samiat: I want a writers room. I want more perspectives. I don’t want to write about someone else or if I do, I want to write about their perspective honestly. I’d like to be on a platform where we can be seen more often.
Watch the trailer here, and mark your calendars for March 1st, where you can binge watch all eight episodes of the web series.