Friday, August 21, 2009

Deck Still Stacked Against Blacks in TV and Film

There is a disturbing realization that no one can deny...the professional opportunities and the portrayal and perception of black people on television and in film has not gotten better it has gotten horrendously worse!

When watching television or looking for new films you would think that we are in the 1960's or 1970's. There is still the sporadic placement of black characters that are as one-dimensional and as "white person centralized" as ever or the opposite which is the desperate, down-ridden, drug laden, single, motherless or fatherless representation that white people love to portray of black people onscreen.

Why are there no strong, intelligent black father figures on TV? Why do the mothers (in Good Times and the defunct That's My Mama, for example) always seem to be fat? (The famous black matriarchy? Some residual white image of Mammy? Of Aunt Jemima?) Why are black families so often shown to be in screaming turmoil, the air bruised with insults? Why are there not black images of success through education and accomplishment, instead of the old Amos 'n' Andy routines of chicanery or the newer, grittier pimp-flash and hustle?
As you can tell from the shows listed in the above excerpt from this article was written a while ago but is completely relevant today because we are STILL dealing with the same disparity in 2009 people and that article was written thirty years ago. Nothing has changed because currently there are NO shows on network television that completely represents the fullness of black people and our families. Surprised...I am not. Yet again, black people have become lackadaisical and apparently think that white people care about their being equity in THEIR TELEVISION and FILM INDUSTRY. I emphasize the television and film industry as "theirs" because they control the money which means they control the outcome BUT they are controlling these industries with black dollars.

Why must we always try to be 'a part of' at any cost???
There are still too many black people gladly throwing their--let me be a part of, choose me, I'm worthy--dollars towards an industry that displays a pervasive and overt amount of racism against black people.

Say what you will about Tyler Perry but he realized that OWNING his work was important
and had no intention of giving up control of his work! He went to get funding from the same place everyone goes but "they" turned him down and belittled the black community's value to their industry. He made his film himself and it was a monetary success and as usual the white man came running. "They" came to Tyler Perry and he negotiated on his terms. BLACK PEOPLE...we know this...too many of us had to learn it the hard way so why must we continue to not learn from the history. I can't be the only one that is disturbed by the fact that there is no real black presence in recently released or yet to be released films.

Remember when Prince became a symbol in protest and in making his point of not continuing to be controlled by the music company owners he performed with the word SLAVE written on the side of his face and made sure that the words were positioned to be viewed by cameras throughout the performance.

Aaaah...blunt and direct; no pretense...I like it.

What will it take for black people to realize that "the industry" could care less about accuracy or equity in the portrayal of or the writing for black people and make the choice to opt out?!

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