Why Black representation matters
If you're into movies and television as much as I am, then man what a time to be alive! Successful black media is on the rise, all with traces of black excellence sprinkled throughout. In a time where the lack of opportunity for black creatives in Hollywood is a topic of conversation, we've seen a spike in quality black media over the past few years. But don't tweak, there's still much more room for needed improvement. Let's chat.
Imagine a world where Hollywood is dominated by the Jordan Peele's and Ryan Coogler's of the world, and the success of Donald Glover's and Issa Rae's are matched by Sterling K. Brown's & Tiffany Haddish's. In that short list, we get so many depictions of people of color shown within their works: we get a bunch of 20-something's still figuring out their love (and work) lives, a testament to modern-day slavery with the very real fear of what being black in America is like, and an African King who rules over the most technologically advanced city in the world.
These are very real and diverse characters that, to an extent, already exist in the real world. So why are we just now getting a glimpse of our very real potential?
Because Hollywood isn't big on risk-taking, and to them, we are a risk.
Representation matters in media. There are already black rulers, geniuses, geeks, professionals, you name it! But again, these are risks; as you can tell by the constant reboots, sequels and remakes, Hollywood isn't big on risk-taking. That's why it is so important for people like Jordan, Issa and Ava Duvernay to keep producing content that highlights the large-scale that is black existence.
Fact of the matter is, we are much more than hookers, thugs and slaves, and I'm tired of these being the go-to movies that the Oscars choose to recognize. Every now and then executives will gamble with these types of projects, and to their surprise they work, bringing in huge box office numbers or ratings. But just because a show has quality writing and acting, doesn't mean the studio will keep gambling on them (go check out Survivor's Remorse).
The future is watching. When I was a kid I watched all the classics. I grew up with Lizzie McGuire, Ren and Louis Stevens. I loved these characters...we all did. But their lives were quite different from ours. Sure, this was television, but this is all we had to look for ourselves in as kids.
When I came to the hard realization I was blackity-black-black as hell and I wouldn't REALLY be able to live in a 5-star hotel that my mom performed at, I turned elsewhere. I personally turned to X-Men - a group of outcasts that battled prejudice among humans. But children today need something to look up to. The young creatives of the future need to feel empowered in their black art and need to know that we are lit!