Jabu Newman and The Foxy Five on representation and visibility

The team behind the explosive web series talk about the importance of female-led filmmaking.

Jabu Nadia Newman’s groundbreaking web series, The Foxy Five, follows five black, South African womxn as they navigate the landmines of sexism, racism, and inequality. Developed during the wave of student-led protests that gripped the nation in 2014, its creator was largely inspired by the womxn at the front of the movement.

Representing various feminist archetypes, the series follows the characters as they navigate their own particular set of struggles. As discussions surrounding issues of sexism, feminism, racism, and inequality continues to grow in urgency, the series has come to provide a level of healing and catharsis to its devoted and growing audience.

Still, there is a tendency for much of the discourse surrounding these issues to be shrouded in a degree of highbrow intellectualism; part of Newman’s goal with The Foxy Five was to bring down these walls of exclusivity while dispelling the myth that the youth of her generation are politically apathetic.

“It’s very easy to access, it’s very easy to understand, and it talks about really difficult concepts in a ways that you can relate to but also visually see,” explains Newman. “It’s bridging the gap between understanding feminism academically but then also relating it to yourself and your experiences.”

During their talk at Design Indaba 2017, Newman schooled the audience on the Bechdel Test, the importance of representation in film, and more. Her cast also took to the stage to perform a scene from their fifth episode.

For The Foxy Five, pushing black womxn to forefront of the show and giving them visibility has been of the utmost value. “It’s so important for black womxn to run something like this,” says cast member Qiniso Van Damme. “It’s important for them to be a part of the crew, a part of the cast, and to be drivers of these conversations. We’re finally creeping into the spotlight and taking the places that we rightly deserve.”