The Importance of Black Sitcoms

9 comments

Recently, Netflix has acquired the rights to seven Black sitcoms showcasing the platform’s media diversity. Even though it’s celebratory that a few of the Black community’s favorite shows have been brought to one of the biggest streaming services, it is questionable as to why there are not as many Black sitcoms in the present day.

 In the early 2000s, Black people were surrounded by shows such as “Sister, Sister”, “Martin,” and “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” These shows gave Black Americans a chance to see themselves on television in a way that authentically reflected their daily lives.

Shows like “Girlfriends” explored the multi-dimensional aspects of Black female friendship and the struggles experienced in the characters’ personal and professional lives. Shows like “A Different World” highlighted the Black college experience and visualized the concept of what Black love is. Black sitcoms were a way of normalizing the Black experience.

As years have passed, it feels as if there has been an erasure of Black culture from television and the characters that are supposed to represent the community look less and less like those that surround them.

As a cultural shift in America occurs, and the demand for Black representation increases, the time for Black sitcoms is more crucial now than ever. People are looking to media to help clarify the chaos of the world and those who seek to better educate themselves use media as a tool.

There is misinterpretation of Black individuality circulating within the public, and the idea of Black life is often portrayed inaccurately. In modern day America, it has become normalized to see Black people as criminals rather than victims.

If the entertainment industry was to display positive imagery of Black people rather than portraying us as threatening and violent, then the chances of restoring empathy in the United States would be more of a possibility.

Normalizing the various parts of the Black American experience through visual representation will be a step towards humanizing us in a country that has a history of criminalizing and brutalizing us. It will cultivate change for future generations and inspire open individuality within the Black community.


 

9 comments on “The Importance of Black Sitcoms”

  1. Your article is very eye opening. I enjoyed reading. You really did your homework! Thanks for sharing the true facts.

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  2. Black representation is very important for the Black community and especially Black children. Growing up seeing someone that looks like you on television is just something so motivating and helpful in so many different ways. So happy there is an article about something so important especially in America. Also so happy this article was written by a young Black female writer! Yes ma’am you’re doing amazing!

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  3. Great article. Social media has caused a divide when it comes to television from my point of view. I just don’t know that the black audience will tune into new sitcoms. There seems to be a generational difference where what captured the attention of 80’s and 90’s kids and adults on television is totally different as we have a new black audience that focuses on the social media platform.

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  4. This is touching. I want to call attention to this paragraph.

    “There is misinterpretation of Black individuality circulating within the public, and the idea of Black life is often portrayed inaccurately. In modern day America, it has become normalized to see Black people as criminals rather than victims.”

    This is true in the FBC’s (Fox Broadcasting Company) drama TV show Empire. Where main character Lucious Lyon commits, assault, burglary, man slaughter, and many more. Not to mention his family all has their fair share of criminal acts.

    This is def a good read! Very solid.

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  5. Very important, and I so agree. Thank you for sharing your perspective here! Normalization and représentation matter.

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  6. Love this! Especially the part about media being a tool for education during these times. Very true, and the emphasis on authenticity is incredibly useful. You rock!

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