What is appropriate in the lines of comedy & entertainment? Narrowing it down, what is appropriate in presentations of black people?
This is a very subjective topic, so please feel free to get raging mad. I may not cover every single facet of this immersive topic, so bear with me please.
I am a black man, college educated, and if I were offended by any media depictions of black people I would have to stop watching all forms of news (CNN, FOX, local…) most mainstream movies by black and white producers, cease listening of all radio-played hip-hop, discontinue viewing of numerous TV shows and networks including BET, VH1, and MTV, and so on.
People talk about oppression of black people in the United States today… odd enough, those same people got stellar higher educations, live in great neighborhoods, and hold high paying jobs, and are farthest from their stereotypes as possible in America. They’re respected by their peers, black (sometimes) and white, and all in between. What the hell would someone like that be upset about? To make themselves feel better? Funny business, if you ask me.
Every race is made fun of at some expense or another by somebody. “My Name is Earl” clowns trailer park residents. “Family Guy” clowns the typical white family, and everyone else. “Cleveland Show” clowns black people, rednecks and others. “South Park” rips everything a new hole. “Boondocks” is a harder pill than many can handle, yet there are things undeniably funny. Rappers clown themselves when they get sent up for tax evasion. Rock stars clowned themselves for catching STDs from groupies. People, wake up, everyone gets theirs. Hell, people lampoon themselves in real life if you can believe it. Get off the high horse and smell what you’re shoveling.
Another question is why are blacks seemingly the most offended? It appears black people feel a sense of entitlement to one degree or another, to be treated with some reverence after being removed from Africa by lure and trap, then subjected to centuries of physical slavery and millennia of mental enslavement. I am under the impression that many representations of black people should resemble the Cosbys, Will Smith, or President Obama to one degree or another. My thoughts only but realistically, black people do well in this country. The kicker is that some black people do well and a number of black people are not. Some present themselves well and others make you shake your head in disbelief. If you don’t believe me, visit some festivals here in Atlanta. We see them in person and clown them on Twitter, for example during Freaknik 2010, I saw footage of a guy doing a jig… yes that type of jig. Now some people saw that in person… I caught it on the 11 o’clock news and shook my head in disgust. I personally wasn’t mad at the media. I was mad at that guy who set himself back another 200 years. Not everyone of color presented in the media will exemplify varied means of success and upstanding moral character. Why get mad because he got put on TV? Complaints are inevitable however really look in the mirror, your closets and then at your address, bank statements, and tax returns…You’re doing damn good and apparently no one’s slave if you got your stuff together. I think you’re only a slave when you have no control. So what about our own media output?
What about supporting our own arts even when the product output is downright horrible? Where do you draw the line? I personally have reservations about certain movies. When I saw “Why Did I Get Married Too” there was a trailer of what looks like a damn bad movie with good actors. The plot looked bad (or was advertised badly) and it did not compel me to seek the movie out despite being a black production. Am I an Uncle Tom for that? I am not an overwhelming fan of many black movies because many of them are just bad. Hell that’s how I am about movies period as you can see from the few reviews I do write…my money is precious and I pick movies carefully.
I think we forget that we have the choice to say no…or yes. If you don’t like it don’t watch it. I had a discussion with a fellow tweeter and she doesn’t like “The Cleveland Show” or many other comedies because of its content and delivery. She made choice to say no. My lady did not like “The Boondocks” season three opener, as she found it offensive. I didn’t like it because well, it wasn’t well funny or get me thinking, as past episodes had done before. I watch a lot of shows that people find offensive, however to their defense a lot of great points and themes are addressed in surprising ways but can get caught up in the shock values. I chose to say yes, consciously knowing what I may see and be exposed to.
In my opinion, a lot of people get fired up at the entertainment media about the amount of jokes about black people being disproportionate across the other ethnicities. That makes me think about whether if you have the capacity to address a topic in whatever method is your preference, should you do so? I figure it being a topic of social responsibility. I guess the answer is that if you can and make money and bring attention… then yes you should do it. Apparently the right people are NOT upset at your output when you bring in ratings from all ethnicities whether they love it or hate it. The people got their minds engaged in something.