Black Like Me: On the 2014 Primetime Fall Television Line-Up

September 24, 2014

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September 24, 2014

Series Premiere: Blackish

September 24, 2014
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Scandal Season 4
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When I initially heard about Blackish I’ll admit I was a tad hesitant. I live for Tracee Ellis Ross and Laurence Fishburne but I wasn’t too sure about Anthony Anderson. However, after reading up on the series I knew that the show was worth a watch.

Black people like everyone else in America strive for the “American Dream”, often when you are the first one with a college education and well paying job, you find yourself in a  drastically different environment from the one that you grew up in. Also, as you become more upwardly mobile  there will be fewer and fewer people who look like you; at school, in your work place, and even in the neighborhood (the place where  you are supposed to feel most comfortable)

Most of America does not look like the Huxtable’s Brooklyn.  You almost have to go out of your way to stay in Black neighborhoods or find employment at Black companies; if that’s what you choose to do. As someone who went to two predominantly white universities let me tell you,  being the the token Black gets old REAL quick.

Blackish explore all of these themes and chile, the show is everything. I knew I was in for a real treat when the show opened with Kanye’s “Jesus Walks”.  Anthony Anderson’s character Andre Sr narrates the show. He seems to be going through a mid-life crisis of sorts. He is concerned that with the advent of mommy and social status, Black folks have lost their culture.

Andre’s starting to feel like a puppet at work, especially after he gets promoted to the SVP of the “Urban” division at his job. Horrified he gives us a bit of Dave Chappelle’s “When Keeping It Real Goes Wrong.” (I mean anyone who has been on the receiving end of white people attempting Black vernacular in order to appear “down” understands the struggle.)

This will never not be funny to me

Andre’s also concerned that his children don’t know what it means to be Black. His younger children have only known Obama as president and the poor tots had no clue he was the first Black president. The kids seem shockingly colorblind, describing the only other Black girl in their class not by her Blackness, but instead by the fact that she smells of turkey burgers.

Throughout the entire pilot episode Andre Sr, is trying to grasp where it all went wrong. He feels like he’s in the twilight zone, like he’s somehow betrayed his Blackness. (His son’s friend walks into their house and opens the fridge to grab a grape pop like he lives there, Andre Jr, wants to be called Andy…. so many things are not as he feels they should be.)

Lawrence Fishburne is also low-key hilarious, he even wears as what my bestie described as the “Old Black Man Uniform. Or in other words, the monochromatic walking suit. (You know the same one your Daddy wore to your college graduation. Even my daddy had on a version and he was African.)

I thought Blackish was truthful and honest, its definitely NOT The Cosby Show, but that was 30 years ago, we are dealing with different things now. Cosby will always be epic which is why everybody and they mama still watches it on a regular basis.

When I write about Black films and television I always hear backlash, someone always has some issue with how whatever is being portrayed is not truthful enough, or this person is a misrepresentation or a stereotype and on and on.  The thing is, we are a culture of people with both shared and varied experiences. And that’s the point isn’t it? To have popular culture and the media display the shared and various experiences.

If you want perfect characters, and that’s the only way you thing Black people should be depicted  the The Cosby Show is on Hulu Plus. If you’re looking for a hump day laugh, some things to get you thinking and some quality acting from brown people then tune into Blackish, Wednesday’s at 9:30PM EST on ABC. What I’m not going to be pressed about is Black people on a major network during primetime.

xoxoxo Chocoalte Girl in the City xoxoxoxo

PS. I read on twitter that some parents were concerned that the show came on too late and that their babies would miss brown faces on television because of it. (Um Ma’am… DVR, they can watch that joint on the weekend. After all, The Cosby Show aired Thursday nights during primetime as well.)