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!
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.
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.”
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.
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?
(*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!
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.