Developer, Malia Brown Talks About the Direction of “UrbanSocial TV.”
“Basically, I started when I was at UNC Chapel Hill in 2016. Like most students, after two or three years into college, I was going through some mental health issues. I was looking for outlets that not only entertained me but would provide me with information to get through the next phase of my life. It seemed like the outlets geared towards my demographics were gossip blogs and things of that nature.”
When Brown launched UrbanSocial TV, it originally started as a blog site, but Brown saw a bigger need for the business, culture, and lifestyle aspect of the online publication that was more interactive, where followers could learn and offer feedback to one another. “We decided to expand our reach and make it more of a network and from there I started creating shows to go on the network and that’s how “Situionship Circle” came about, Mastermind Podcast, and Lisa Fix My Hair," says Brown.
‘We’ve gotten a lot of great feedback from all the shows we have like “Lisa Fix My Hair,” in particular. Lisa is a big natural hair stylist in Charlotte. We were able to do a show with her and we saw a spike in our numbers,” says Brown when talking about the growth of the platform from start until now. “Also, with the “Situationship Circle [launch 2018] and the Mastermind podcast [launch in 2018], we saw numbers continuing to climb from all those shows. People are enjoying the content.”
When Brown created UrbanSocialTV, she wanted it to be a full production company where they produce merchantable content created by young adults, to interlock with millennials. Brown would like to sprout the platform so that it’s powerfully built like OWN Network, where everything is directed and produced in-house. The web-based dais that Brown mentioned,
The Situationship Circle is a cross between “Red Table Talk and BET’s “Teen Summit,” where a host of energetic people get together and share dialogue about worldly things from racism to sexism. Recently, Brown hosted the season premiere of the Situaionship Circle, that wrangled around the searing focus of Toxic Masculinity. She dished up a moderated panel discussion at the end of the viewing for the cast members and audience. The emotions from both men and women stirred with stubborn perspectives, and it offered no conclusiveness, but they exacted communication and everybody’s points were heard nonetheless.
Brown harmonizes that she could’ve benefited from The Situationship Circle when she was going through her mental health struggles while in college. “I didn’t have an outlet like that where I could speak out and get things off my chest, where I felt like I wasn’t being judged for it, and [it’s great] just being in a space where although we are different or like-minded individuals, I think that would’ve been very beneficial to me. Like, I said at the premiere, this show personally, behind the scenes has become my turn up because we laugh and have fun; but also, it’s my therapy where you come, and you can feel like you’re not the only one going through things.”
According to the filmmaker, it took two years to piece The Situationship Circle together. It was a social experiment that grew into its own cosmos. “I got to a point where I wanted to see how it would be to bring complete strangers into a room and put them in a space where they had to challenge each other’s perspectives. I felt like the reason all of us experience tension within our views is because we lack the understanding of each other and we don’t try to understand each other. By creating this platform, we have people who are opposite sides of the spectrum and we put a topic on the table, they explain the way that they feel. I had my fingers crossed the whole time hoping that it would encourage healing, growth and even challenge people to see things differently about their perspectives. The show has done that and its been amazing to see how people, who don’t know each other at all, are able to be so vulnerable even with cameras in their face, and just sharing things that they’ve never shared with their friends and their families. It’s basically a haven to experience healing and growth, to be able to talk about what’s happening on in our world.”
Before each season kicks off, Brown hosts an audition, to recruit new cast members. In her search for the latest and greatest commentators, she looks for unadulterated authenticity, and people who are willing to stand cheekily in their truth while expressing it. She even talked about the silent assassins, the personality traits that come off as quiet and reserved, but when they do speak, it’s powerful and impactful. All those ingredients combined, it makes for an entertaining recipe of great debaters who don’t mind battling wits and cultured expressions.
Brown is a self-taught filmmaker who’s always looking for ways to improve her brand so that it’s not tawdry. She employs filmographic, Josh Laws, who did videography for the second season. Brown’s mom and dad helped with editing and other things needed to keep her portrayals crisp and colorful. Interestingly, cast members who are looking to join Urban Social TV, they should expect the realness that come with unscripted reality television, but with vibrant and live-out loud mannerisms similar to the points mentioned above.
“The thing that makes us a little different from the other groups of round tables that they have on YouTube is the fact that majority of our conversations are really everyday things, whereas a lot of talk shows focus on hot topics happening in pop culture and stuff like that.”
Brown’s sovereign cadence and work ethic is a cut above the rest—She’s a visionary and a doer who’s moved by faith to excel. Recently, the young CEO relocated from Charlotte to Los Angeles, California, in search of expansion for UrbanSocial TV. While on that mission, Brown accepted a position with MGM Studios She’s getting a step further into the film industry, while magnifying her brand at the same time.