Black Television Is Lit
Have y'all noticed all of the people of color on TV and starring in new movies? We have and we're enjoying every minute of it. As White Hollywood continues it's downward spiral and people left and right are getting canceled, Black actors and actresses have seized the moment and are taking chances on new projects.
Not only are Black people starring in shows and films, they are directing, writing and producing as well. The great thing about this is that is gives people of color an advantage to tell our stories the right way. One of the women leading this charge is Ava DuVernay who is using her platform to create original content and to open the door for others.
Before I get into the amazing faces gracing our screens this season, I want to talk about the two women who helped get the ball rolling. Their names are Shonda Rhimes and Kerry Washington. Shonda, who literally owns Thursday night television with three successful shows back to back, and Kerry, who plays the fearless Olivia Pope on "Scandal," and runs the White House. These two women created a Black female lead that not only empowered strong women but proved that a Black woman could lead a successful show on network television. Audiences hadn't seen a Black female lead in forty years. You can also tell that a show is doing good when the wigs and makeup get a major upgrade.
Winter is proving to be a bomb cyclone (whatever the hell that is) and there is no bae in sight so my evenings will consist of good TV and a glass of wine on the couch.
"Scandal" is in it's last and final season (stay tuned for a Scandal/Scmurder crossover), and Viola is about to give the performance of her life in "How To Get Away With Murder." Our Thursday nights may be taken already, but that doesn't mean we should forget about other shows that have popped on the scene. "Black Lightning" on CW is proving to be a top contender, and Lena Waithe has created a monster with her new show "The Chi" on Showtime. I'm here for it all.
It makes a difference when we support our own. Shows like "Grown-ish" starring Yari Shahidi, a popular spin-off to ABC's "Black-ish," and "9-1-1" with Angela Bassett, Aisha Hinds, and Rockmond Dunbar have already been renewed for second seasons and they haven't even debuted five episodes yet. It's not just about black people being included, it's because the shows are actually good.
While I appreciate the surge in all this good television, it always concerns me that each show is getting adequate attention. If you're an avid TV watcher like me then there is a strict schedule we live by. Shonda owns Thursday nights and Tuesdays and Wednesdays are usually a toss up between shows on OWN and whatever FOX has going on. Whatever I miss in between, I make sure to catch up via OnDemand but sometimes that isn't enough and good shows get tossed.
Prime example, a show called "Pitch" was canceled last year due to low ratings. I will admit, I didn't watch. Not because I didn't want to, but there was so much television on at one time. You want to talk about people being pissed off? They still fuss about it on Twitter. It's sad when things like this happen especially when the programming is good. As much as I want to see all these good shows succeed, I worry that they might end up canceling each other out.
Television isn't the only place where Black folks are shining. Movies like "Proud Mary" starring Taraji P. Henson, "Breaking In" starring Gabrielle Union, and "Traffik" starring Omar Epps and Paula Patton are some of the new films we're excited to see this year. The great thing about these movies is that we get to see African Americans act in a different capacity besides the norm. Who wouldn't want to see Gabrielle Union fighting bad guys?
This also shows Hollywood that Black actors and actresses can carry a television program when we are given the opportunity and support. Look at Sterling K. Brown. He's racking up all the awards this season for his role as Randall Pearson in "This Is Us" and it's quite a shame that he's making history for the being the first Black male to win in these categories.
We have to keep the momentum going. Even if it's a show you wouldn't watch, tell a friend who might be interested. We have to support our folks.