Black Media 2004-2005 Part 1
Main stream media has been horrible these past 2 years - moreso than usual. This obsession with Reality TV and Rich Kids in the wake of natural disasters, racism and poverty concerns is disgusting - to say the least. Thank God, in spite of the media's attempts to brain wash the masses and turn us all into materialistic drones, there are still a handful of creative minds creating refreshing content, specifically within the Black Media World.
After Making The Band 3000, the cinematic horrors that were Soul Plane and the Cookout ... after watching the writer's of Girlfriends strategically run a great show into the ground, and painfully bearing witness to Nicole Richie be ... Nicole Richie .. After all these things and so many others I thought I'd lost all interest in Black Television and Movies, but some how I found a few good apples in the whole rotten bunch. In the midst of all the crap, there are actually a few highlights as far as Black Media mid-2004 to today.
With respect to television we have:
- Everybody Hates Chris : Like a hybrid of The Roc, The Wonder Years, and Martin, Chris Rock's new biographical sitcom is comedic social commentary. In between the punch lines, he offers African American tv viewers a chance to see themselves on tv, and reflect on there lives in a way that's less (live in denial and admire the rich) and more (this is what real black families look like and how they function). In a time when 'Light Skin' is making a come back (as if it ever really left) it's nice to see a Black lead actor with a complete dark skinned family. Like the Bernie Mac show, Chris is helping to send the message that Black looks good even on tv. There is no need to always have a light skin wife and at least one bi-racial child that no one can figure out how it was genetically possible to pull off on a Black sitcom - apart from the obviously bad weave they give the mother. Don't even get me started on how after the first week, UPN Show Kevin Hill, switched the dark skin baby and replaced her with a lighter child with softer textured hair... but I digress.
- The Boondocks is Coming to Cartoon Network Nov. 6: Anyone who loves the Boondocks as much as I do knows it's one of the few things that make reading the paper or sitting in the office bearable. The creator has always gotten my support, as I have all the boondocks books. I'm so happy to see that the late-night lineup is going to have more COlOR and African American Social Commentary. Black folks love to be animated to (*all pun intended) I hope the cartoon series is everything the comic strip is and more.
- A Different World Season 1 on DVD: Words can not express how excited I am to know such a ground breaking African American sitcom is now available on DVD. It's great to see shows like this can still make some money, and that I can share it with young kids today, cause they honestly don't have enough quality Black shows to watch on tv. After a Differently World, no other show has trully captured the college experience of young blacks. BET's College Hill is interesting to watch at times, but I don't think it postively reflects us as well as a Different World.
- Good Times and Fresh Prince: On the topic of old sitcoms, it's nice to see that in the past few years shows like Good Times and the Fresh Prince have been added to Nickolodean and the TV Land lineup of class sitcoms. Slowly but surely our shows are being included in the mix, which helps us stay connected to our roots as a people, but also ensures that these great shows stay in syndication - putting money in the pockets of black actors and actresses.
- BET Top 25 TV Shows Special: Though I had a few complaints about the list, my boyfriend and I were very excited about watching this special. Like I said, we have to stay connected with all forms of our history, and our great strides in media is just another piece of our historical puzzle. I'm sure black kids today, didn't know half the shows on the list, which is why such a list needs to be created and maintained. If we could bring back great shows like Amen and 227, there would be a few more good things for us to see on tv.
- VH1 Hip Hop 2005 Hip Hop Awards Honors Salt and Pepper: I don't know if you notice, but black women in media get shafted all the time. I'm always annoyed when I watch BET Awards, and see that pratically all the parts they cut out during commercial breaks are the parts where women get awards. Sistahs in music, comedy, acting and straight across the media board always getting overshadowed and under promoted. That's why I was so happy to see that Hip Hop can acknoledge it's founding mothers as well as it's founding fathers.
- Tyra Tyra Tyra: Although I originally dismissed Top Model as just another reality show, I have to say Tyra is one of the few hosts that have kept their reality real. From Top Model, her Girls Camp T-Zone, to her new Tyra Banks Talk show, she keeps impressing me with her committment to improving women's self esteem, staying true to her identity as an African American woman, and increasing her own financial success while maintaining a genuine connection to people. I was surprised to find out that she isn't just the host of Top Model she is the creator! Tyra banks is an incredible black business woman, and I'm honored to share her accomplishments with others as a fellow sister of color. Apart from being entertaining, her great personality brings life back onto my television screen.
- Comedian Mo'Nique and Top Model Toccara Jones: Big, Beautiful and Fit for TV: In a time when tv idealizes being thin, blonde, and rich its so nice to see Black Women letting the world know that Thick Sistah's are beautiful too. Although I got a kick out of watching Kirstie Alley's show Fat Actress, the show is really about another white woman making fun of being fat and trying to turn her self into the American Dream of Thin = Beautiful. Mo'Nique has a new show on Oxygen called Fat Chance, which is a full figured beauty competion. And Plus size Model Toccara Jones starred on the second season of Celebrity Fitness. I actually ran into her on the street in NYC, and told her she looked great the way she was, which she already knew :) Unlike most of the folks on Celebrity Fitness, even the black male judge, Toccara let them know in the last episode that coming on the show she was beautiful and leaving it she is still beautuful. She wanted to maintain her curves and full figure, and I was glad to be able to support her doing it!
- Run's House on MTV: When hearing about this show, I was hoping it was not going to be like Whitney and Bobby's show, which just makes you shake your head and cry ... i mean sigh. I was actually surprised to watch the first episode and see him interact with his family. His dauther - a straight A student - was graduating from High School and was hoping to have an over the top party! Rev Run (alittle cheap in my opinion but with good reason) gave her a tasteful party in the backyard where they have a great pool, and put all that extra would-have-been-wasted money into a car, which she didn't get until after the whole shin-dig-was over. Unlike Celebrity Cattle Drive and the Hilton's, Run's daughter was far from spoiled and suprisingly humble. She understood she wasn't going to get 100,000 in fireworks, and she enjoyed her party anyway. It's nice to see black parents with money, who are striving to turned there kids into hard workers rather than legacy brats. The fact that she's is a smart girl and that the focus was on her graduation rather than her making out with some boy - says alot about this show in reference to all the reality crap out there.
- Fatty Koo on BET: Who the hell names a band Fatty Koo? Good thing I didn't get stuck on the ghetto fabulous name. Had I done that I would have missed out on watching the makings of a group of not - so - glamorous, down to earth, ACTUALLY CAN SING, young people who had the drive and creativity to create an album with songs on the same level as Black Eyed Peas. They have some talent, and if they come out with a few more tracks, I think they can really grow as a group. Don't let the BET label fool you, this is no "Making the Band" with long hair, light skinned girls trying to sell sex as songs. I liked the show. And I'm not ashamed to say it. I wathed Missy Elliots rode to stardome and cringed through the final episode of TLC - Are You the Girl (and let me tell you that was no easy task) - these kids were the only group with real talent and originality. Apart from a few good ones that got cui on Missy's show for not being commercial enough, my friend from Columbia, Akeel being one of them (and my sole reason for sitting through the show).
Well that's it for Black Media 2005 as far as I see it. I haven't watched Barbershop on Showtime and I never got into the Wire, sure a few of you will be digusted by at least ALL of my highlights and the shows that I seem to have left out. But guess what this is my blog and my opinion so ... yeah.