Recently while channel surfing, i realized that many of the shows that I consume on regular basis lack substance. This may just be a personal belief but it made me wonder what happened to shows that made you feel good about being YOU?!?! Shows that defied all odds against us? When i say US i mean Blacks..the African American viewing population! I will admit i am an avid Basketball Wives watcher, YES I occasionally indulge myself in the dysfunction and ratchetivity of Love and Hip Hop! Am i not human? Does my ratchet viewing taste buds not have needs? But what my soul is lacking is the true ”essence” of black television. Shows like The Cosby Show and Fresh Prince of Bel Air that broke the mold of the black nuclear family. For eight season on NBC The Cosby show broke traditional stereotypes of the African American family. Here we have this upper middle class African American family with a lawyer for a mother and a doctor for a father..this was far from TYPICAL. Society thought black were still in the chow lines having “good times” wishing they had finally got a “piece of the pie” those blacks got who “moved on up” on the east side. The Huxtables (never understood why it was called The Cosby Show) rattled feathers because they were something American’s never saw. They proved to the masses that blacks could be successful and raise successful children. The Cosby show also taught lessons on a weekly basis of love, life and education. We took the journey of watching four of the five children venture of to college with two of them going on to lead successful lives and get married. The same goes for Fresh Prince we learn about the Banks of Bel-Air where the father (RIP Uncle Phil) was an honorable judge, and Aunt Viv was a stay at home mother. The best part of that show was these Negros had a BUTLER. The slaves now had a slave! Just kidding Jeffery was cool! This family was interesting because they integrated Will Smith’s character into a environment that was different than the corrupt, drug infested streets of West Philadelphia. Not only was this a learning experience for Will but also for the Banks family. It showed the different aspects of being black and how WE TOO can survive in both worlds. We watch the troubled teen reform himself and later go on to college right along with the privileged Banks’ children. Now to bring this full circle the TRUE matter at hand is…WHAT HAPPENED TO FULFILLING BLACK TELEVISION? Why do we allow society to bog us with images of blacks that are degrading and simple. Are we not more than flashy whips and sexual images of breast and hips? Why let these companies continue to make a menstrual show of us when our talents far exceed these barriers. As a community we need to challenge companies like VIACOM that own our channels like BET and other media conglomerates to create more empowering television. Challenge these companies to show positive images of blacks so that way people such as Bill Cosby, Phylicia Rashad, James Avery and Will Smith work was not done in vain. They fought to open these doors..now its our jobs to keep them open.
Tara Lynn’s the new “Plus Size” face of this month’s Spain Elle Magazine. Lately, we’ve seen increased popularity amongst the fashion industry to display “curvier” women. This comes with years of pressure from society for the fashion world to uphold its responsibility to show women of all demographics. It’s refreshing to see photographers and editors taking leeps outside of the size 6 boundaries. It is important that all women know that beauty is not defined by the size of your jeans. :)