The state of African American television shows in 2011


I don’t know about you, but there are certain television shows that I plug into my DVR every week to watch. Just so that you are aware (If it hasn’t been reiterated over and over again on the website)  I am a Christian, and with that in mind  I decided to talk about my new television line up this year.

As some of you may know. The television show “The Game” was cancelled about two years ago, and was recently brought back by BET. In it’s first debut episode, the ratings were through the roof with an astounding 7.7 million fans watching. For BET this was one of the highest ranking shows on their network, and undoubtedly  one of the best decisions for The Network. This, to me was a personal triumph for a television show that had been on for so many seasons, was moved to a so-called “death slot” and then cancelled for losing half of it’s viewer ship. The fact that Fans won over the Network was a great accomplishment. it shows that they do indeed listen to our opinions.

However, after watching this show, along with a few other new television shows (Lets stay together, House of Payne, Are we there yet?) I questioned the state of African American Television shows that have made their way to prime time spots in the past two years.

Televisions shows like ‘The Game” aren’t in my opinion classified as ‘Family television”. Besides the time slot it holds, the banter, jokes, and situations that happen within the television show aren’t necessarily family friendly. but how does this compare to such television shows that us 80′s babies grew up on? shows that promoted education such as A different world, or shows that portrayed African Americans as entrepreneurs, such as “The Jeffersons”.

What about the shows that promoted fearless African American fathers, such as ‘The Cosby show” and ” Good times”? What about shows that ushered in the era of ‘The Rich black man” such as “Fresh Prince of Bel Aire”? Are these topics not important to main stream America anymore?

Shows like “House of Payne” and “Are we there yet” are looked at as more cheesy television, and most young teenagers may not necessarily enjoy the serious topics that may be discussed in these television shows. Now, in my opinion,  I am not downing the new line up of African American Shows, we have come a long way from “Good times”, but how will this generation of youth be effected by watching “basketball wives” and “celebrity rehab” as their evening routine, versus us watching ” Family matters” and “The Parent hood”?

Just my two cents…what are your thoughts?

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About daranichole

Lover of Christ, Wife, mother, author, and entrepreneur! I have a heart for women!

Posted on January 21, 2011, in Christian Lifestyle and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. From a viewer standpoint I see your concern, but as a media professional I think we need to be really careful about living in the shadows of 80′s sitcoms. Shows probably up to the late 90′s were in my opinion very aspirational which reflected the target at the time. Looking at where we are now, the shift of the black family, new social dynamics, millennial perspective, and so many microsegments within the AA community – it’s hard to even have five shows that represent “ideal” family values. Especially when reality doesn’t reflect that in the majority. The reality is now (from a generational perspective), instant gratification & stardom appeals to us all and that’s what most reality shows reflect. From a cultural perspective, we screamed that The Cosby Show & Fresh Prince weren’t “real” once we went from the Boomers to Gen X. Aspiration wasn’t the goal. Reality was, hence where we are today. It’s what the majority wants.

  2. Great point Dara! This generation of youth and young parents generally tend to not have the same values or up bringing that our generation and the ones before us had sadly. They may not get to see positive family role models like the Cobsys, Fresh Prince and Family Matters. Its up to us grown folk to live godly, holy, responsible and productive lifestyles infront of the world, esp our youth. We must also introduce them to Christian fiction like your book and other Christian/clean music, movies, entertainment.

  3. I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s what majority wants, because that can be so general. I don’t know anyone who would want the lifestyle situation of Melanie and Derwin on “The Game” But the reality of a rich african american lawyer who is devoted to his wife and kids and can provide for his family would be the majority.

  4. Dara, you have brought up a valid point as it relates to television, particularly African American television. From what I have seen on TV “wholesome family” television shows are a thing of the past. Unfortunately, television shows consists of no family values, no morals, in your face, sex, violence and drugs. With the glorification of disrespect, greed, and unsolicated opinions,lewd behavior, etc. The media has set the standard for television with African American television taking its share in order to survive. In this anything goes world of cable television it brings a new perpective on television at its worst. Shows like the House of Payne, Meet the Browns, or Are We There Yet? are mediocre at best. The Game borders on soft porn and this so called Reality TV is scripted, so how real is it? It all comes down to ratings, which translates into money. The question is in this day and age, Who is even concern? with storylines that reflect decency or positive influence in the AA community. It has always been in my opinion, the media tells us what to watch. They are the ones responsible for writing and producing what goes on air. Now, that AA shows are non-existant on the three major stations (ABC, CBS, NBC). My viewership has cut down drastically because the quality of AA television has changed, and not necessarily for the better. The word says, “Guard your heart” so that’s exactly what I am doing.

  5. watching what comes from hollywood far down here cant help but state i share your sentiments! but as explained by the 1st Comment…there is a generational gap, peoples tastes have just changed …for the worst to some extent!!!

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