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Seeing a big screen connection to ‘Dreaming Whilst Black’

Adjani Salmon in "Dreaming Whilst Black."Domizia Salusest/Big Deal Films/A24/Courtesy of SHOWTIME

Often when I see a movie, it makes me think of a TV series that covers the same or similar ground. And so it was while I was watching “American Fiction,” an excellent take on a Black writer (played by Jeffrey Wright) who’s frustrated that the publishing industry only wants stories from him about gang violence, drugs, and hard times.

The movie made me think of one of last year’s best, a small, six-episode British series called “Dreaming Whilst Black,” still available on Showtime and Paramount+. It’s a gem about a millennial Black guy named Kwabena (series co-creator Adjani Salmon) who’s trying to become a filmmaker in London while working a tedious day job. Alas, the movie Kwabena wants to make isn’t the stereotypical hard luck story that the predominant white film industry wants from him.


“Dreaming Whilst Black” is an observant and painfully honest take on artistic ambition, creative compromise, and, as in “American Fiction,” cringey micro-aggressions. It’s funny, poignant, well-paced, and brimming with vivid supporting characters. The good news: Co-producers Showtime and the BBC have greenlit a second season of the show.

Jeffrey Wright in "American Fiction."Claire Folger/MGM-Orion via AP

Matthew Gilbert can be reached at matthew.gilbert@globe.com. Follow him @MatthewGilbert.