CategoryTV

These posts comment on the TV medium, particularly TV shows.

Dear White People: Here’s an alternative perspective

Dear white people, check your privilege before proceeding to read this post.

Black Face Pary

Skepticism slowed my eagerness to hop on the “Dear White People” bandwagon. Was this Netflix series going to live up to the high standards set by its 2014 movie predecessor? I soon grew tired of sitting on the sidelines while the internet gave the series raving reviews. Finally, after receiving a high recommendation from my boss to watch the show, I knew I had to check out this series that had my white colleagues in awe. I started the 10-episode season on Tuesday. I finished it on Friday.

Dear White People Cover

“Dear White People” explores the spectrum of Black identity on a PWI’s (Predominately White Institution) campus. As a UNC graduate and someone who has worked in the central communications office of two Southern flagship universities, I’m familiar with the ongoing struggle to control a campus’ racial narrative.

It’s all about perspective. “Dear White People” does an amazing job at examining campus race issues through different lenses. By telling each chapter of the story through the eyes of a different character, the show is able to preach that race issues are not Black or white. There are a lot of complexities, created by life experiences, that influence how someone views and responds to an issue.

Dear White People scene

In today’s American culture, there is a lack of willingness to examine issues from different perspectives. That’s why watching “Dear White People’s” plot unfold from multiple angles is so powerful. It’s easy (and comforting) to surround yourself with like-minded people, but change doesn’t happen in silos. “Dear White People” plants this seed of wisdom from the very beginning of the series, and we see it nurtured throughout the season.

I’ve been writing for MediaWhistle for the past four years. Throughout these years, I’ve stressed the importance of Black people creating a voice in the media. I love that “Dear White People” creates multiple voices from the Black community and provides social commentary on how these varying perspectives can cause conflict and create unity. It is refreshing to have my story told in a way that both challenges my truths and authenticates my struggle.

A Public Service Announcement:

Sam

Dear White People, I am not here for your entertainment – to make you feel cool or make you feel hip. I am not here to make you feel comfortable – to relieve your white guilt with our friendship. I am not here to stroke your ego or be a checked box on a diversity survey.

I am here to fuck shit up. I am here to dismantle the status quo, to attack institutional racism and to challenge your pre-existing notions of my existence. Like “Dear White People,” I am here to share my perspective on life in hopes that you will seek to understand my alternative perspective.

2016: What a time to be alive

What can I say, it’s been a tough year, but these top 10 Black media moments made 2016 worth reminiscing.

10. Kanye proved not to be as liberal-minded as we thought ??

Donald Trump & Kanye West

Black Twitter and liberal news outlets lost their minds when Kanye West confessed to not voting, but if he had, he would have voted for Trump. Not long afterwards, Kanye was spotted at Trump Towers with Donald discussing “life.”

In 2017, let’s accept that Kanye is that family member you love but no one likes to claim. Let’s acknowledge that Black celebrities are not obligated to support democratic candidates. Lastly, let’s not judge our people for networking with president elects in hopes of fueling their own political ambitions.

9. Beyonce put up two middle fingers to the world?

In 2016, the world discovered Beyonce was unapologetically Black when she released her single, “Formation.” Then she blessed us with her visual album, “Lemonade.” I never took the time to write about it  because this video said it all :

Combine “Lemonade” with Beyonce’s Super Bowl performance salute to the Black Panthers and appearance at the Country Music Awards (CMAs), and you get a boiling pot of #BlackGirlMagic that exploded in 2016.

8. #OscarsSoWhite…but its host wasn’t ?

At the 2016 Oscars, Chris Rock hovered a magnifying glass over white privilege in front of 34.4M viewers.

7. Moonlight shed light on Black masculinity?

With very little words and amazing cinematography, “Moonlight” explored Black masculinity and identity. It has received high praise, alluding that #OscarsSoWhite may not be as white in 2017 #WishfulThinking?

6. Colin Kaepernick got down on his knees?

America is all for having black athletes make it money until black athletes use their sports platform to make a statement. This year, Colin Kaepernick outraged America when he had the audacity to protest unjust police killings of black folks. He kneeled instead of standing during the National Anthem and all media hell broke loose.

5. A history lesson you won’t find in the books?

In the documentary 13th, Ava Duvernay schooled us on mass incarceration in the United States, which dates back to 1789’s 13th amendment.

4. Netflix showed us how being Black is superhuman??

In a time when one in three Black men are incarcerated and countless others are murdered by police bullets, “Luke Cage” gave me a breath of fresh air. He fought to serve justice in his community that was governed corruptly and policed unjustly.

Beyond Marvel’s fictional world, in reality, Luke Cage interrupted the constant mediated stream of negative Black male stereotypes and inserted a powerful, positive image of a superhuman Black man.

3. BET said farewell to Obama ??

Love and Happiness poster

Although I missed this televised celebration – I didn’t have the endurance to sit through 15 minute commercial breaks – from the clips I saw,  BET gave Obama one hell of a going away party at the White House this year. 

2. Black Television reflected my reality ?

What a year for Black television! “Black-ish” brilliantly addressed several touchy subjects. From police brutality and racial profiling to color-ism and interracial dating, the show stepped up its political commentary in 2016.

“Atlanta FX,” arguably one of 2016’s realest Black television shows, effortlessly addressed the affects of hip hop in the Black community, concepts of race and gender as human constructions, the criminalization of social issues and much more!  

Issa Rae’s “Insecure” shoved self-doubt down our throats and I loved every minute of it. She reminded us all that the path to self-discovery is no smooth ride, especially if you are black. In a smart marketing move, Issa universally presented  the insecurities associated with adulting in a way that anyone, no matter their race, could identify with.

  1. National Museum of African American History and Culture ✊?

National African American Museum

In September, after more than a century of Blacks petitioning for a federally owned museum showcasing Black history, President Obama led the opening ceremony of the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). This display of Black history, culture and accomplishments was long overdue, and I felt an overwhelming sense of pride in my culture as soon as I walked through the museum’s doors. With rich multimedia at every turn and six floors of history to explore, it’s worth carving out a day to visit. 

Cheers to 2016! ?

Beyonce flipping the bird

P.S. I’m still waiting on my Harriet Tubman $20 bills ?

My #Insecure journey

Part two of @MediaWhistle‘s four part series “Four Quarters

Rewind back to four years ago…

I’m a sophomore in college when I discover Issa Rae’s YouTube series “The Mis-Adventures of Awkward Black Girl.” The storyline of a young black woman awkwardly stumbling through her twenties is not hard for me to identify with. I quickly become obsessed with both Issa and her show. Awkward Black Girl (ABG) provides me with comic relief from my own experiences as a black female, constantly hurdling microaggressions as I sprint my way to life’s starting line.

Fast forward three years later…

When I find out my favorite web series is going to be adapted into a HBO show called “Insecure,” I’m ecstatic! It took a while for the deal to come to fruition, but I must say, it was worth the wait.

During this waiting period, I fuel my Issa Rae fandom with ABG reruns and Issa’s autobiographical book “The MisAdventures of Awkward Black Girl.” As my fascination with Issa’s work grows, I realize my admiration is rooted in the authenticity of her work – it is a reflection of me, my experiences, my struggles, my blackness.

Play l> October 9th, 2016…

Issa Rae finally blesses my life with the first episode of “Insecure.”  I’m disappointed AF. My expectations of ABG being reincarnated are not fulfilled. But as the “Insecure” season goes on, my heart grows fond of Issa’s new storyline, one that is not defined by awkward blackness but woven together with the insecurities that plague my twenties. No matter the storyline, the premise of Issa’s writing remains the same: the path to self-discovery is no smooth ride and has no set path.  We may not all be able to identify with being black, but we all can identify with our own insecurities.

Side Note: smart marketing move ?

Slow down to Sunday, Nov. 27, 2016…

This week’s “Insecure” season one finale leaves me hopelessly piecing together a range of emotions as I attempt to make sense of the show. I feel Issa’s guilty pain as she waits for Lawrence to call her and confess “I miss you.” Lust (for my man) swells between my thighs as I watch Lawrence bang his rebound chick. Sadness settles in my heart as I realized Issa and Lawerence are no longer each other’s security blankets. “Insecure” leaves me feeling inept to predict its outcome.

Pause ll: presently staring at my screen wondering how to end this blog post…

Until season two, I’ll be standing on the edge of this cliff to which Issa ruthlessly lured me ?

Three reasons #TheWizLive was amazing:

Unfortunately, I missed The Wiz Live Thursday night on NBC and had no intentions on watching it later until my best friend texted me Thursday night: “You should do a blog post on The Wiz live airing on NBC.”

When I asked her why, she proceeded to text me six paragraphs about why The Wiz airing live was a big deal. I told her she should be a guest blogger on Media Whistle and write about it. She politely declined, claiming she didn’t want to “think deeply” about the show, but that I should. So I took her up on the offer, and after further investigation (i.e. actually watching the show), I came up with three reasons why #TheWizLive was amazing and, indeed, deserved a post on Media Whistle.

http://www.nbc.com/sites/nbcunbc/files/files/styles/nbc_show_about_cover/public/images/2015/10/27/2015-1026-NBCU-The-Wiz-About-Image-1920x1080-UG.jpg?itok=YjIK2z7v

  1. An all black cast took up a three-hour slot during prime time television.

Any time an all black cast is on television during prime time, it’s a big deal because it is a rarity. My co-worker reminded me on Friday that the last time NBC had an all black cast on television during prime time was in the 90s when “Fresh Prince” aired.

And if that fact doesn’t convince you that having a mostly black cast on television during prime time is a big deal, just ask the people who complained about The Wiz’s “lack of diversity,” as if The Wizard of Oz never happened.

But all haters aside, it wasn’t until I saw this tweet, that the gravity of having The Wiz air live on NBC finally hit me: the power of representation was being broadcasted to millions of people and it was changing lives.

  1. A timeless black story received a millennial make over.

http://cdn01.cdn.justjared.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/wiz-live/nbc-debuts-first-look-at-the-wiz-live-cast-03.JPG

The Wiz is a timeless black staple. And  Thursday’s live showing helped to keep a legendary story celebrating black culture relevant to today’s generation. The characters’ lines were full of today’s Black Twitter vernacular. It was hilarious hearing Dorothy refer to her friends as her “squad” and hearing the word “shade” tossed around a few times. The characters’ upgraded vocabulary, combined with iPads and subtle whipping and naeing during dance sequences, drizzled new-age sauce on a timeless storyline recipe.

  1. The Wiz Live made a big statement about today’s standard of beauty and gender.

https://tribzap2it.files.wordpress.com/2015/10/shanice-williams-2-the-wiz.jpg

Dorothy gets all the snaps in the world for rocking natural hair AND for being slightly bigger than a toothpick. I applaud the show’s directors for casting women of all shapes, shades and sizes, showcasing the array of diversity within the Black community.

Then there was Queen Latifah casted as The Wiz, who Dorothy and her friends consistently referred to as a “he” until they discover that the Wiz is a fraud and a “she.” Adding this little twist to the plot challenged gender roles, allowing Latifah to act across the gender spectrum and her character to test the conners of the binary gender box we have been socialized to play in.

http://rack.3.mshcdn.com/media/ZgkyMDE1LzExLzI5L2FiL3F1ZWVuMy41MDRkZi5qcGcKcAl0aHVtYgkxMjAweDk2MDA-/f9721142/f4a/queen3.jpg


If you missed #TheWizLive like I did, go to nbc.com and watch the show. I promise you won’t regret it.

 

 

Blowing the whistle on dog whistling ?

Last night, Shonda Rhimes did the damn thing. No, it wasn’t the jaw-dropping moment when Fitz went OG on the press and showed up at Olivia’s doorsteps, proclaiming he was gonna take his girlfriend out on a date. Instead, it was the unapologetic way Shonda addressed racial and gender microaggressions executed by media outlets.

There’s been plenty of “preach” moments on Scandal – two in particular stand out in my mind. There was Abby’s monologue that single handedly dropped the mic on the sexist double standards women face in positions of power.

Remember this?

“Every article about me has your name [Leo] somewhere in it because apparently, there’s this rule: In order to mention my name they also have to report to the world that there’s a man who wants me. My work, my accomplishments, my awards — I stand at the most powerful podium in the world, but a story about me ain’t a story unless they can report on the fact that I am the girlfriend of DC fixer Leo Bergen. Like it validates me, gives me an identity, a definition.” -Abby

Then there was the “The Lawn Chair” episode, inspired by current events in Ferguson, Missouri, that addressed institutionalized racism and police brutality.

"The Lawn Chair" Scandal episode

Now I have a third episode to add to my list of Shonda Rhimes mic drops.


SPOILER ALERT: proceed with caution.

Olivia and FitzAfter Olivia confessed to being the President’s mistress in last week’s episode, Abby was forced to play her big joker – slut shamming Olivia Pope – in order to eradicate the issue. Of course, the media happily ran with this story because, let’s face it, who doesn’t love a good sex scandal?

For days, Olivia sat in her apartment while media outlets tore her apart, showering her with a storm of insults, portraying her as a power-hunger slut and conniving, angry black woman. While some Americans were offended by Olivia’s audacity as a black woman to feel entitled, others praised her for pulling herself up by her bootstraps out of the ghetto. Without question, Olivia’s blackness defaults her privileged background to roots in the “hood.”

Marcus Walker from ScandalTo help  Pope & Associates stay above water, Marcus Walker, the activist from Scandal’s “The Lawn Chair” episode, was recruited as a gladiator. While Quinn and Huck wanted Pope & Associates to lay low, handling calls, denying allegations, Walker insisted on pulling out his boxing gloves to square off with the media. He cited news outlets for broadcasting coded racialized and gendered language  that perpetuate a white noise of unwarranted negative stereotypes about people of color and women.

For example, a reporter commented on Olivia’s ability to articulate well. On the surface, this may seem like a compliment, but in Olivia’s profession, being able to articulate to the media is not news worthy, it’s expected; however, the reporter felt Olivia’s ability to speak well, coupled with her blackness, added news value to the story. ?

Viola Davis holding Emmy awardWhat’s truly news worthy is Shonda’s ability to not only create opportunities for black actresses (I’m still snapping for Viola Davis’s historic Emmy award), but also to use her gift to tactfully blow the whistle on how women and people of color are portrayed in the media. I see what you are doing Shonda Rhimes, I see you. ???

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