By ALESHA CADET
Tribune Features Reporter
EWURABENA Appiah has been a freelance writer and media professional for more than a decade.
And now she’s embarking on a new adventure for the “new normal”.
Under her boutique firm, Media Scribble, she will soon be launching Isolation Television. She describes it as a platform for all locally created, produced and distributed content, overseen by Ewurabena herself and featuring Bahamians from all walks of life.
Eventually, Ewurabena told Tribune Woman, she hopes it will also morph into a platform that other Bahamian creatives can access to share their projects as well.
The motto is ‘Stay home. Tune In.”
“Isolation TV as a concept was born out of our lockdown period. At a time when I, like many people, felt like they'd watched and rewatched everything 'good' on TV, Netflix and whatever other streaming sites they were using. And I literally thought to myself, ‘Well, if you're sick of watching everything that's out there just make something new.’ It's about bringing quality content right to your screen,” said Ewurabena.
Isolation TV’s flagship show is called “Cays to My Heart: Limestone Love Stories.”
Ewurabena said the idea came about after a conversation with a wedding planner friend of hers who remarked upon how lucrative destination weddings have been for the country’s tourism industry, and how it has all changed since the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It got me thinking about how the Bahamas, the entire archipelago, is literally an integral part of so many love stories from around the world. People from all over have come here to get engaged, to get married, and to go on honeymoon, and we hear those stories often, we celebrate those stories and we're happy to do so. Oddly enough though, that conversation sparked a strong desire to tell the stories of Bahamian couples because the way we love is equally special and absolutely worth celebrating,” said Ewurabena.
In her role as the host of the show, Ewurabena said she and and her team went above and beyond to make sure that all the couples they spoke to were protected by the relevant COVID-19 protocols, including wearing masks when they were not on camera.
“We kept the production team very small and we continue to be vigilant about keeping our sets COVID compliant,” she said.
Ewurabena said the couple-centered reality docu-style series will feature interviews with Bahamian couples of all ages and backgrounds. They will be from all over the country, not just Nassau; Family Island couples will be interviewed virtually. ‘The Cays’ team has already chosen 10 couples from over 20 submissions.
“I conduct the interviews and talk to them about issues that run the gamut really. The idea is to talk to them about how they navigate the good, the bad, and the ugly of being young or not so young couples. Despite being a single woman, I'm fascinated by couples, and I love to see people in love,” said Ewurabena.
“The idea that you are prepared to commit wholeheartedly to one other person on this earth is a very endearing sentiment to me, but I'm also hyper aware of how difficult that is and can be. So I'm thrilled when I see couples, especially young couples, making it work. This show is meant to delve into the why and how they make it work. The why's and how’s obviously differ from couple to couple, but in having these conversations I've noted a few trends which I think the audience will also be able to appreciate, especially now that we're in the Valentine's Day season.”
For Ewurabena, inspiring a new generation of Bahamian creatives in this way, is important. And telling stories that are uniquely Bahamian is also important to her. So far, she said, the response has been really encouraging. She is trying to be realistic about her expectations, but she is also very excited.
“The couples who were chosen have beautifully touching stories and I'm just grateful that they decided to share them. The thing that is especially important to me is just to showcase that Bahamians love, and we love hard and deeply, and without restraint,” she said.
“With everything that's going on around the world, I understand that it's easy to forget that there is love all around us, but I really believe the trick is knowing where to look. I'm hoping that this show will remind people of that and the ultimate goal is to spark new love and rekindle a love that might be dwindling.”
The show also has an additional benefit, as Ewurabena sees it.
“For me, this has also been an opportunity to provide work for talented Bahamian videographers and editors and other creatives. I think we take for granted that the talent doesn't just exist in front of the camera, but behind the scenes as well. I feel like I'm developing so many amazing connections through this process and I hope I'm able to expand my little network and bring other people along with me too,” said Ewurabena.
“Cays To My Heart: Limestone Love Stories” premieres at 8pm on Sunday, February 14, on all traditional social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube and IGTV.
Ewurabena and her team are also in the process of building the Isolation TV streaming service, which, once completed, will be the go-to portal for all IsoTV content being produced for distribution over the course of this year.
“I like the idea of seeing people who look and sound like me on my television or my tablet or my phone. I heard once, and I'm absolutely paraphrasing here, but if you don't see successful or interesting or accomplished people who look like you out in the world being awesome, then you're less likely to imagine that level of success for yourself. So I hope these couples act as an example of good, healthy and happy relationships so that others can feel like that they can also have that,” said Ewurabena.
“We have a few legacy shows that are returning. One is ‘See What I Sayin’ ‘, or #SWIS, which is a show that features Bahamian musicians and artists. So the team is very excited about that. I have a few special projects in the works that we can't unveil just yet, but the team is hard at work and we're excited for everyone to see the final product.”