However, a pattern became evident, a pattern of type casting African Americans in roles which did not accurately and wholly portray the individual. A misrepresentation of African Americans became the common image on television. Variety shows initially promoted the new media as an opportunity for equal representation and communication between the races. However, a trend developed with African Americans often being “portrayed as custodians, maids, servants, clowns, or buffoons” (Crenshaw). The negative image, which was developed by these stereotypes, was perpetuated in the Amos and Andy Show.
The image of African Americans has been greatly depreciated by the roles they play on television sitcoms. On these shows African Americans are depicted as being maids, clowns, and buffoons. This misrepresentation of African Americans has become common place through out the media. One of the most controversial sitcoms was the Amos ‘n Andy Show. This sitcom included two black comedic men and began the creation of the African American stereotypes that most people have grown accustom to today.
While some felt that Archie's use of racial slurs amounted to prejudice most saw the series as an important move toward realism particularly in terms of race relations on television.The Bunkers' next door neighbors were a black family whose characters were later featured in a popular spin-off series. The Jefferson’s which aired from 1975 to 1985. (http://www.engl.virgina.edu/~enwr1016/amc2d.html) Then in the late 90’s the TV World came out with a whole new channel BET. Black Entertainment Television, this was to make African Americans more noticed around the world.By the late 1990s more African Americans than ever were involved in the television industry, some in executive and production roles.
Any black person perceived to be stepping away from the image carved out by the media is labeled as less than black. Meanwhile, any black person who lives his or her life in a similar fashion to the way the media suggests is supposedly reinforcing negative stereotypes. The constant scrutiny by one’s own peers and others outside of the race has put African Americans in a very odd position. Literature Review In Dr. Patricia Hopskins’ article, “Deconstructing Good Times and The Cosby Show: In Search of My “Authentic” Black Experience”, Hopskins examines what the true black experience in America should look like. She takes two very popular television shows, their ratings, and their critics, and she attempts to see which is most the authentic black lifestyle.
As it opens with imagery reminiscent of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, an event that devastated the black communities in the areas affected. The delayed assistance in New Orleans by the U.S. government stirred some controversy that led many to question how much America really cares about its black communities. Nonetheless, Beyoncé’s video is full of imagery that is associated with black culture, including historical references to black communities in the south. But what is really important about “Formation” are the lyrics. With lyrics like “My daddy Alabama, Momma Louisiana, You mix that negro with that Creole make a Texas Bama” and “I like my baby hair with baby hair and afros, I like my negro nose with Jackson Five nostrils,” Beyoncé is undoubtedly declaring her pride for her blackness as well as defending her child Blue Ivy who has always been scrutinized for the way her hair looked.
Society has always been influential to fads that are displaced throughout media; the public witnesses a direct mirror of themselves and current culture portrayed on movie screens, musical lyrics, and televisions scripts. During the 1990s, African-American filmmakers depicted stereotypical black youth and culture in films such as Do the Right Thing (1989) and Menace II Society (1993), otherwise known as the “hood” films. However, as much to the popularity and success of the hood films, there was great opposition to it. Historical movies like Daughters of the Dust (1991) and Devil in a Blue Dress (1995) were created to argue against hood films to portray a different African-American community that is not racialized. I am going to compare and contrast both the hood and historical films Edward Guerrero and Paula Massood both believed that the hood film was created for the benefit of portraying reality in African-American communities.
This would be seen as a positivity for black communities because they were starting to see black performers on television, however it was also a setback because of the negative light that was put on them in regards to the language being used. When exploring the presence of black performers in Britain, the ‘comedy drama/sitcom’ plays an equally important part as stand-up performance does. Since the 1970’s, there has been numerous situation comedies that feature characters of a black ethnicity. But it wasn’t until the early 1980’s that, there was a situational comedy commissioned that specifically addressed the lifestyle of the black British community. Love They Neighbour was a British sitcom that aired on ITV (formerly known as Granada) from 1972 – 1976.
What is the intention of Tyler Perry in his portrayal of Madea in his highly successful movies series? Equally, what are movie producers and executives attempting to illustrate to audiences about black men dressed as women? Of greater importance, what is James McBride trying to convey to readers about black men, their masculinity, and their identity in the context of their role in modern society. Black masculinity seems to be an important theme in many artistic and literary works to date. This fact dates back to colonial obsession with everything black especially skin pigmentation and sexuality.
The movie Bamboozled by Spike Lee is a very interesting movie which brings up a lot of different points. Although Bamboozled did not receive great reviews like some of Lee’s other movies, I think it brought up a lot of important questions regarding the media and the way film portrays African Americans on T.V. Lee’s movie brings to light the notion that to be black and on television you have to play a certain role or type of character. He makes the point that African Americans are expected to be a particular type of character and that their lives reflect that role. Lee also makes a statement that to be African American and live in the U.S. you have to act a certain way.
Portrayal of African Americans on television is frequently a controversial topic. Throughout its rather brief history, television, in its programming, has skewed predominantly white, (Pringozy, 2007). This was clearer in the 1950s and early 1960s, and it even remained true throughout the 1970s, when television shows with mainly all African American casts became hits, (Strausbaugh, 2006). The success of The Cosby Show in the 1980s helped to improve race relations somewhat, or at least on television, (McNeil, 1996). Still, controversy continued, and still does to this day, as to which shows present negative stereotypes of African Americans and which ones do not, (Strausbaugh, 2006).