Lost Of Quality Black TV.

Scrolling up and down the tv guide recently and I noticed that the popular shows among colored people lack substance. Most of the shows are reality show except for Power or Empire which aren’t much better in my opinion. The show Blackish is a good show based on the episodes I have watched but there is a lack of diversity now. Power and Empire are both about drug dealing is some type of way and every reality show is the exact same crap. In the 90’s and early 2000’s there was diversity when it came to black tv shows. These tv shows had substance and addressed real problems in our community and made black people look like more than criminals.

Fresh Prince of Bel Air had lessons and wisdom from Aunt Vivian, well the original Aunt Viv but thats besides the point. A black family in the suburbs still keeping black culture relevant with Will wearing Malcolm X shirts and Uncle Phil showing how important a father is in the household. They even had a black butler whose witty remarks and inclusion with the family made him appear less subservient. Ashley and Hilary showed young black women they are more than just physical attractions and should have intellect.

Martin had a group of young black adults who didn’t commit crimes to get money and showed hard work to get what they wanted. Even though nobody knew where Tommy worked exactly we knew he wasn’t selling drugs. Martin worked his way from radio personality to tv show host without having to sell out and remained true to himself. Gina was a college graduate who had a good job with a supportive friend, Pam, who loved each other. They never had to fist fight or disrespect each other when they disagreed.

Another great show was the Wayans bros. Marlon and Shawn were two young black men who showed love for their family and protected each other. Marlon was an aspiring actor and Shawn was an entrepreneur once again no illegal activity needed for these two to become successful. Pops owned a diner and much like Uncle Phil showed the importance of a father figure in black households. I

n the early 2000’s Damon Wayans had a show, My Wife and Kids, which displayed black people as a loving family with married parents and teaching their children how to become responsible adults. Michael Kyle had his own truck business which he started when he was young and worked hard to build up. This show also had a smart black boy, Franklin, to use as comedy which is very rare for black television shows.

Another one of my favorites was the Bernie Mac show which aired in the early 2000’s and displayed positive messages. Like Pops and Uncle Phil, Bernie showed the strong father figure a black man could be. Also, it dealt with kids coming from the hood to the suburbs and the transition they had to go through. These shows addressed real problems in our community and didn’t feed off of the basic stereotypes of poor colored people. They also talked about police brutality and how people of color are treated by the government.

There are many shows that I could have used as examples such as the Cosby show, Smart Guy, Chapelle Show, Sister Sister, The Hughleys, The Steve Harvey show, A Different World, The Boondocks, or Everybody Hates Chris. All of these shows were substance based and entertaining black tv shows. But we no longer care about or demand quality in our shows we just care about the entertainment factor. Thank you.


One thought on “Lost Of Quality Black TV.

  1. Kevin, I need to tell you that ever since following your blog, I have read every post that comes into my email without linking back to your site to give you the stats. I’m sorry about that, but I will say now that your writing is fabulous! It is incredibly engaging and so substantive. I think you make some powerful observations in this post about television for Black audiences and the decline in portraying non-stereotypical characters. And I wonder about the need for shows targeting Black audiences. I mean, I know there is a need, because minority characters are few and far between in mainstream, i.e. White TV, but that is part of the problem. As a White person, I grew up watching The Cosby Show and Fresh Prince and loved them. Those shows helped dispel stereotypes.

    There may be a similar problem in literature, I fear. There’s a book I love, “Monster” by Walter Dean Myers. And I was teaching it to my ninth graders in a predominantly White school and I realized that though the book is incredibly powerful, I was doing a disservice to my students and the Black community by having them only read this book with a Black protagonist because here is a sixteen year-old boy in jail on trial for murder in a convenience store robbery, and that is the only window into Black culture or identity that my students were getting – the stereotype of violent thug. Now really good readers could pick out the other aspects of Steve’s character that soar above the stereotype, like his love for his brother, and his interest in film and storytelling, for examples. But still the story is about his trial for murder. There need to be other books with minority protagonists that are equally powerful and that portray those minority characters non-stereotypically and positively.

    Anyway, enough of my ramble. Thank you for your posts.


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