Normal Ain’t Normal

It’s 2022. We’re finally able to hug those family members we haven’t seen in over two years. Drop our stir-crazy kids off at school without double-checking their masks are on. Get tipsy at a bar and high-five every random, wonderful stranger on the wobbly walk home. Hallelujah! Things are finally get back to normal!

And yet.

Even as we emerge from the pandemic, over 35 million of our friends, family, and neighbors can’t afford their rent and are at risk of eviction. 26% of children in rental housing live in a home that doesn’t have enough food to eat. Racial inequality is worse now in many ways than it was in the 1960s. Meanwhile, billionaires like Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk have seen their wealth increase by over one trillion dollars (that’s $1,900,000 dollars per minute for those counting at home) during the pandemic.

Call me crazy, but if we’re going to talk about “getting back to normal,” it’s time for us to make a new definition of what the hell “normal” really is.  

Normal Ain’t Normal is a scripted series created by myself, Yvan Iturriaga, and Rosario Dawson. The show explores the struggles, absurdities, and surprising possibilities of working-class people as we come out of the pandemic. Featuring D’Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai, Martin Sensmeier, Reem Assil, Tristan Cunningham, and Sal Lopez, the series enjoyed two sold-out premieres at the Oakland Museum in the Bay Area and Creative Artists Agency in Los Angeles and is now available to enjoy on Buzzfeed.

Watch the full series on Buzzfeed!

Normal Ain’t Normal was directed by Yvan Iturriaga and produced by Offsides Productions. The episodes were written by Tommy Orange, Reyna Amaya, Reem Assil, Yvan, and myself. We are proud to join with our grassroots partners the National Nurses United, NDN Collective, Sogorea Te’ Land Trust, National Day Laborers Organizing Network, and One Fair Wage to amplify their campaigns and reimagine a new way forward for all.

Because if we’re going to see the kind of “new normal” that we want to see, we’re going to have to build it together.