Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Being Black Part One: Yes They Deserved to Die.....


   I hate black television. I hate black music. I hate most black magazines and blogs. I hate most media related things having to do with black people. Now when I use the word hate I don't mean I utterly detest them and am repulsed by them. I mean that I have the upmost disdain for anything targeted toward us as far as the media is concerned. I don't hate my blackness. On the contrary as long as y'all haven't done something stupid in the news and Al Sharpton has shut the fuck up for a minute I'm very proud to be black. To me my heritage isn't the BET programmed multi syllabled apostrophe riddled name gangsta rap  Kool-Aid dyed weave foolishness that we seem to be so damn proud of.

My black heritage is our food, our history of overcoming adversity, our music circa 1950 to 1999. Our actual African heritage (to a point) is something I take pride in. I studied the Yoruba religion of our ancestors. I researched traditional hairstyles our mothers and fathers of the post modern era. I tried to digest the literary births of prolific writers such as Toni Morrison, Alice Walker and Langston Hughes. I refute what we call a part of the black community these days. First off there isn't much of a damn community to speak of. There are no true black neighborhoods. We've got a bunch of low income housing domiciles situated next to one another and persons of color just so happen to be glad as hell to be there. Oh sure we talk about starting from the bottom and getting somewhere. But it seems as if at every turn the diluted people of the Negro race take delight in their generational poverty. This is the 'blackness' I abhor. This is not the blackness I will pass onto my children. This is not the culture I want to represent in my future creative works. I am not setting out to craft characters that represent this contented lifestyle of the colored bum.

    There seems to be a really big difference between what black people say they want from black owned media and media aimed at us and what we niggas will actually fucking watch. A few days okay on my Facebook account a longtime friend of mine was complaining about the television show 'Scandal'. She was lamenting that such a successful, intelligent and attractive black woman as Olivia Pope was degraded to being the mistress of a white man. Take note of every word I said in that last sentence because it is important. I began to stress to her that race had nothing to do with it. The characters races are rarely ever brought up and Olivia Pope is not seen as the successful sista girl who's keeping it real and doing it for herself. She is just a successful professional woman with a personal life that is a mess. This both transcends race and speaks directly to many African American women.

During the latter portion of the 2000's studies both scientific and bullshit laden seemed to be preoccupied with why so many professional black women were either single mothers or single point blank period. This phenomenon of the so called 'Mad Black Woman' lasted up until 2010 when gay rights started picking up traction and they could give less of a shit as to why black women's pussies stayed dry. The Olivia Pope character to me seems to be a subtle send up of this however they don't throw it in your face. Her race and ethnicity has very little to do with her character and that is hat I believe bothers so many people about her. Now granted a lot of black women I know do not give one solid shit about her race nor President Fitz's race. They care about who the fuck Huck is gonna off next and why Millie is such an evil bitch. Why IS Millie such an evil bitch? That's a topic for another post.

The problem many people seem to have with Olivia Pope and characters like her is attributed to what I like to call 'You Get What You Ask For Syndrome' or You Got It! For decades we asked for characters of color who were not defined by their ethnicity and had their drama stem from some other part of their lives. With Olivia Pope and characters like her we get that. Ms. Pope, played in such an artisan like fashion by the lovely and talented Kerry Washington, is a smart, sexy, clinically focused woman with a tragically flawed personal life. She is madly in love with the one man who can never leave his wife. Girl we've all been there and because we've all been there many of us both of color and of white out complexions can relate. However you have those of nappy distinctions who take umbrage with her character because they A) feel as if her character is a send up of the classic sexualizing of black women and/or B) she isn't black enough. One poster on Facebook bemoaned why can't we get more black shows where the humor and drama stems away from stereotypes and just treats us as people. I ask her: what the fuck do you think they are doing?

   There is a very, very, very narrow common held idea of what being black is in our community. To us a successful black man is a proud brotha who marches into the boardroom with his dreads in tact pumping 2 Chainz's latest hit on his iPad and talking like a character from the Chapelle Show. Well at least that is what we can assume black people want. Because that's the only goddamn depiction of us aside from classic hoodrattery that we seem consistently okay with. Sure we will complain that it is too stereotypical but they got your black ass to watch it didn't they?

 When they do show successful classy black people who are given the same treatment as their white counterparts there are those of us with nostrils enflared and lips a-smacking who can't shut the fuck up. I argued that with Olivia Pope she was getting exactly the same treatment as any other Shonda Rhimes leading female. Her situation is a beefed up political version of the drama between Meredith 'Choose Me Love Me' Grey and Derek 'McDreamy' Shepherd. The same type of drama could be seen Private Practice as well. Shonda Rhimes is a one trick pony but she tricks that pony very well for about three seasons. Olivia's story is no different and if anything her storyline shows true equality in which a black woman's personal struggles are the same as other white female characters and no mention of race is to be found. However some of us are not content with this. Some black people don't seem to want equality. They want want to be sanitized to the point where we are no longer humans but televised Nubian gods. That is until they get bored with this image and wants something that represents us in a more 'real' way. This is why we can't have nice things.

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