HHBMedia | Too Much Malarkey: Diversity in Television

This week in race-insensitivity news...

I really hate talking about this - I really do. I would love to write a happy-go-lucky, inspirational piece, but there's far too much malarkey for me to remain mum.

Firstly, Latina Magazine and their obnoxiously written ultimatum to the writers of Empire – No. I didn't want to address it, but they have left no choice.

To give you a bit of background, Latina Magazine posted an article pleading for Latino characters to be added to the Empire cast. Now, this would've been acceptable had the article not have taken shots at the show's premise, discrediting its stance in the music industry by pointing out everything that isn't "realistic" - negating the fact that it's a fictional show. My beef isn't with the writer, he's clearly out of touch, but my beef lies more so with the editor.

Why would you approve the publishing of an article that discredits another minority stakeholder?

Especially in a time when both groups of color are facing immeasurable injustices in our country.

I just think that tearing any avenue of entertainment that celebrates people of color should be the last thing to do. To pretty much make the statement "the show is all wrong, and could be better if they added Latino characters to the cast" is borderline disrespectful. It's another demeaning point of view on black culture - and according to everyone who isn't black, blacks would have never obtained this level of success on their own. Blacks are handicapped.

And who would want to willingly feature a plethora of black characters on prime time television shows? Television is becoming "too ethnic"-at least that's what a writer at Deadline thinks.

Is there even a such thing as "too ethnic?”

For years, blacks have had to accept secondary roles on leading television series. They have had to settle for the supporting story lines and even have had to man the most belittling and stereotypical characters. So to have television outlets that now celebrate the race it used to once shame is a step in the right direction.

I remember being invited to my 3rd grade classmate’s birthday party. Let's call her Emily. Emily's mother put together a great affair, filled with awesome snacks and the most creative games little girls could ever imagine. One of the games was a talent show where we had to mimic our favorite musical acts. My group of friends chose the Spice Girls. Now this probably sounds like an epic task, but it quickly turned into a tragic moment for a little black girl from Asheville, NC. There were 2 of us, black girls, in the group but only 1 black Spice Girl. So we had to audition for the role. Two black girls who were once the best of friends quickly turned into a couple of competitors, because there could only be 1 black girl on top. A challenge that black actresses have had to defy was a lesson for a couple of 8 year olds - something that should never infiltrate an elementary school.

The Deadline article was, without a doubt, disrespectful. To try to brainwash its readers into thinking that blacks are less than deserving of the leading roles they have is a continuation of the oppressive legacy that has haunted the industry for years.

And because of that godforsaken legacy, we have been forced to create our own outlets of expression to showcase our talents and abilities to be leading ladies/men.

Television being diverse in this day and age should be celebrated, not critiqued. It shows that those of all races are capable of being the face of prime time television, and to say anything but would be a blow to an unsaid amount of tiny colored children everywhere.

 

*** This piece was originally published on HHBMedia.com in April 2015