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Was NBC's 'The Wiz Live!' Too Black?

The Wiz Live!


If you guys didn’t know, The Wiz Live! premiered on NBC last night. It was a new adaptation of the 1975 Broadway musical, The Wiz’, a more soulful version of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, starring Michael Jackson, Lena Horne, Diana Ross, and Richard Pryor. I haven’t watched The Wiz Live! yet, but I heard it was great. The musical featured well renown rapper, Common; Glee’s Amber Riley; Uzo Aduba, from Orange Is The New Black; singers, Ne-Yo & Mary J. Blige; actress, Queen Latifah; and several others.

Because I didn’t watch the show I wasn’t attentive to its trending comments on Twitter. But today, I watched Philip DeFranco’s video on Facebook entitled: “If You’re Offended By This I Hate You” –and my guy makes a valid point.

I tend to steer clear of racial discussions because no one enters into the conversation with the intent to understand; they only want their one-sided opinion to be heard. This is a prime example of that.

“OMG Black people would be so upset if there was an ‘all-white’ Wiz.”

the wiz live, the wiz, nbc, black people, black media, white media, black lives matter, philip defranco

Are these people not watching television? Have they not been watching television since its existence? I’m not the biggest BET fan, because quite frankly the channel sucks now, but there is a reason it exists. Robert L. Johnson created Black Entertainment Television because there were no other networks aimed at African-American people. I don’t care what anyone says, people need something to relate to. There’s no need for segregation and exclusion, correct; but people need to feel as though they are a part of the masses. & not to get into anything, but it’s the reason that statements like “Black Lives Matter” is relevant. It’s because somewhere along the way, someone made them feel as though they didn’t…or that they mattered, but not as much. Although I don’t post the hashtag on Twitter or Facebook, I get it–I recognize its purpose. And that’s the major problem, people refuse to believe that discrepancies exist. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was a beautiful movie, but it was released in 1939, long before Black people were showing up in prominent roles on television– especially as something positive, or hopeful, or imaginative. Viola Davis made that speech because in all of the 67 years that the Emmy Award has been awarded, this was the FIRST year that a Black woman won. That’s nearly seventy years, guys.

For someone to even think of saying that there should be an ‘all-white’ Wiz means that they’re clearly delusional. Or maybe they’ve never actually seen The Wizard of Oz?

If you guys are interested in watching the show in its entirety, it’s linked above. I’ll be sure to check it out and you should too. Maybe then you’ll see why this version was just as wonderful as the original!

 Lynella

mcdonald's

McDonald's, Hire Better People! :Racist Lady.

mcdonald's

McDonald’s, McDonald’s, you have to do better. I mean, you guys should just do better in general because your food isn’t nutritious, or real for that matter, but that’s not the topic at hand here. I chose to eat your fake food and that’s on me, but I would prefer not deal with your rude, racist employees and their commentary.

Funny thing is, most people will assume that this is about a White person– it’s not. It’s actually about a young Black woman who, I guess, decided it was okay to share her grievances with me because she assumed I’d relate? Negative, lady.

Now, for a quick recap of the night:

McDonald’s Employee: Hi, what would you like to order?

Me: Can I get a 20 piece Chicken McNugget Meal? (don’t judge me, I hadn’t eaten all day!)

McDonald’s Employee: What sauce?

Me: Sweet & Sour and BBQ

McDonald’s Employee: (insert random total) please drive to the first window.

Me: oh, I asked for the meal ma’am…

McDonald’s Employee: The 20 piece doesn’t come with a meal, only two medium drinks and two medium fries.

Me: ummm okay, well I’ll just add a medium drink and a medium fry to that please.

McDonald’s Employee: (with attitude): You’ll have to tell them to add it in at the next window because I already put your order in and saved it before you said that.

Me: (thinks to myself) are you freaking kidding me? You’re ridiculous and you can keep your ‘tude, booboo because you messed up the order, not me! (actually says aloud): Um, okay…thank you.

So, I drive up to the first window and of course I’m annoyed; but, I immediately realize that the woman who’s taking my money isn’t the same lady who took my order. I kindly ask her to add my items, pay and drive to the next window. Here, I meet homegirl. The conversation went like this:

Me: Hello.

McDonald’s Employee: ughhhh I can’t stand White people.

Me: …

McDonald’s Employee: I know that had to be a White man, couldnda been nobody but a White man.

Me: …

McDonald’s Employee: (hands me my food) Enjoy your night.

Me: Thank you.

(drives away)

Um, I’m sorry what? What just happened ma’am?

From what I gathered, this lovely McDonald’s employee greeted the customer behind me with the same outstanding customer service that she gave me. But, unlike myself, that customer probably gave her a hard time for possibly getting his order wrong. But, what do I know; this is total speculation. That guy could have been a super rude a-hole and she had every right to be upset. What she didn’t have the right to do was 1. Assume that he was White 2. Blame his attitude or response on his “Whiteness” and 3. Group all White people together due to his behavior. FYI lady, that makes you a racist.

I’m going to assume that she’s either not very good at her job or she was having a really off night because my service was terrible. When I asked for a 20 McNugget meal, your job was to tell me that you didn’t have one before not after I ordered. You’re also supposed to check with me to make sure that my order is correct before submitting it. Duh. Also, telling me that you hate White people really isn’t something that I need to know or care to hear. And just because I’m Black doesn’t mean you get to assume that I agree– I don’t.

I never know what people have experienced in their lives, and I try not to completely judge people on their ignorance. But, regardless of anything else racism is never okay. I always say: if someone of a different race said the same thing to you about your own race, would that be okay? No. You’d be quick to call them a racist and accuse them of reinforcing negative stereotypes. So, don’t so the same thing. Don’t be that guy. –or woman in this case.

So, what do you think? Was I over reacting, or do you agree that she was absolutely ridiculous and out of line?

Blackish: “Yo, ABC just got kinda bold with these, no?”

The above question was the beginning of a private message that I was going to send to my sisters on Facebook, after reading this post. I started to write about my surprise and confusion and then realized that maybe I should just do a blog post about it. Duh. So here’s what I was going to say to my sisters in response to ABC’s new upcoming shows “Blackish,” “Cristela,” “Fresh Off The Boat” and “American Crime.” *disclaimer: I really only talked about “Blackish” as it is the one that I relate to the most. So, here goes!

black-ish, blackish, abc, tv

Interestingly enough, the show “Blackish” didn’t seem that intriguing to me at first glance. It could be the content or that I don’t really care for Anthony Anderson- nothing against the guy, I just don’t find him funny. But if I’m being honest, I think it has more to do with the show’s content- a show about Black people who don’t fit into stereotypical Black society, aka my life. I’m not sure I like the message or, maybe I don’t understand it- which could make sense seeing as I haven’t yet watched it.

I know that some people would respond by saying: you say you want to see more Black people on TV, but when they appear you’re still not satisfied. Blah, Blah, Blah. I actually don’t have a huge problem with the number of Black people on television. Sure, there could always be more, and more representation of successful and/or leading Black actors/actresses on a hit television series would be awesome, but it usually doesn’t bother me that much. If television should represent  reality, it’s pretty accurate.

Donna-Rachel-Jessica-Suits-USA, suits, blackish

For example, I love the show Suits, and although Gina Torres (multiracial Cuban decent) and Meghan Markle (African American and Dutch & Irish decent) are the only main characters of color, it’s fine by me- Gina kicks butt & I love every minute of both her and Meghan’s appearances. Having only two is realistic. I don’t know this to be fact, but I am quite certain that the top law firms in New York City don’t have very many people of color, or women for that matter. Is that a problem? Sure! But, it doesn’t make it any less true. Plus, even if every show on television was able to portray an ideal world with the perfect number of racial minorities represented, they would still be just that: in the minority. Sometimes I think people want to see 50/50, White and Black, or 1/4 each of Blacks, Asians, Hispanics, and Whites- just to name a few. But that will never happen because the population is not evenly distributed. Which is fine.

But I have digressed. Back to “Black-ish.”

blackish, abc, anthony anderson

I guess the show is not sitting well with me because I haven’t quite grasped what they’re going for. Showing a wealthy Black family is great, and insight into what it’s like to struggle with fitting in and self-identity is also great. But what’s the end goal? In the show, Anthony Anderson’s character is not entirely comfortable with his son wanting to play field hockey or his decision to nickname himself Andy- his real name is André. And if that doesn’t shake things up enough, the kid then decides that he wants to have a bat mitzvah- they’re not Jewish- so his dad throws him a “Black version” of that, a hip-hop bro-mitzvah. If you ask me, I don’t think his son is necessarily trying to be less Black, but instead trying to fit into the community that he is a part of– which happens to be White kids having bat mitzvahs. When my little sister got a Range Rover for her sixteenth birthday it didn’t mean that she was less Black, but rather that my parents were a bit wealthier. It just so happens that most of the other people who drive Range Rovers also happen to be White.

blackish, anthony anderson, abc

A couple of years ago I wrote a post entitled “Am I Black or White?” because throughout my entire life it’s apparently been up for discussion. Usually pairing my Blackness with anything positive, like wealth and/or intelligence, automatically made me more White. Or less Black, whichever floats your boat. I absolutely hated hearing that because it’s bullsh*t. Why does success automatically =White. My response to those who would’ve questioned me earlier is that you say you want more successful Black people but when they become successful you disown them. Sure, I may be more articulate, but it’s because my education and surroundings gave me the tools to do so. How is that my fault?

georgia tech, iamtoo, colleges, black studentsgeorgia tech, iamtoo, colleges, black studentsgeorgia tech, iamtoo, colleges, black students(*These pictures were taken by Hopeton Wellington for the #ITOOAMGATECH project & the 3rd picture is my little sister! :))

Anyway, the show could definitely be a hit; insight into anything is sure to result in a discussion of some sort and I’m sure that’s the point. I guess I’ll be able to make a more well-informed opinion once it airs. Tracee Ellis is funny and the kids are also going to bring some laughs. I already have a favorite quote that was shown in the trailer: “If I’m not really Black, then could somebody please tell my hair and my ass!” Tracee Ellis Ross everyone, hilarious!tracee ellis ross, blackish

The creators of these shows also chose some interesting names like, Black-ish &Fresh Off The Boat? Fresh off The Boat, really?!  I don’t know how I feel about that. I guess it’s supposed to be a play on words and a bit of comedic relief, yea? It should be interesting to see how long they last. Cristela def. looks funny and American Crime is something to look forward to. I know one thing, ABC definitely decided to come out guns a-blazing and I guess we should commend them for that. And if it brings their ratings up, I am certain there will be no complaints. Feel free to check out any of the links above to see the shows’ trailers & watch the trailer for “Blackish” below to let me know what you think.