The media frequently portrays blacks as thugs, drug addicts and other negative or inferior roles, in both movies and Television. Recently, blacks have begun to establish themselves in more positive roles. They’re establishing themselves both in front of and behind the camera.
The dynamics have changed from Halle Berry being the first black woman to win an Oscar for Best Actress, to Kerry Washington being the first black actress to star in a nationally televised show.
Black films are increasing in number, as more and more black filmmakers step up to the plate and tell their own stories in the independent film market.
Actor, director, and producer Tyler Perry has made great strides for Black television and film. With his shows “Meet the Browns”, and “House of Payne”, Tyler Perry has opened the door for black filmmakers in television and on the big screen. Still, he faces criticism from many, but Mr Perry doesn’t let that stop him as he continues to create films that audiences love and flock to see.
As his hit shows “House of Payne” and “Meet the Browns” have gone into syndication, Tyler has crafted new shows. One of which is a spinoff of his hit film “Why Did I Get Married”. This time the show follows a couple, Marcus and Angela. Viewers are able to see more of the drama of Marcus and Angela as well as the love these two share.
Recently, Mr Perry linked with Oprah’s OWN Network and has produced a new series. “The Haves and Have Nots, which premiered July 8 on OWN.
Tyler Perry continues to create hit series for cable networks. Positive Black shows are increasing in number, but continue to lack the ratings of such shows as the reality series “Love and Hip Hop.”
There are some excellent black shows currently on air. However, it seems that if the characters are not full of drama or perpetuating negative stereotypes, networks remove them quickly, and never give the viewing audience a chance to watch them, and get to know the characters.
Still, Shonda Rhimes has found success and with three amazing hit shows. Shonda Rhimes is the writer and creator behind hit shows “Scandal”, “Grey’s Anatomy,” and “Private Practice.”
Ms Rhimes is a black female filmmaker in Hollywood. Of her three hit shows, “Scandal” places a black female in the lead role. Ms. Rhimes leads the pack when it comes to women filmmakers in television, proving that women and women of color are great story tellers.
Another hit series with a black cast is “The Boondocks.” “The Boondocks” began as a comic strip but has since become a hit television series and has a strong following. Unfortunately, the show saw it’s end after only three seasons. Rumor has it that a highly anticipated season four has already been shot and will premiere soon in 2013. To date, no Boondocks season four has aired, but a film that will focus on the controversial Mr Ruckus is in the works.
Still, the question must be asked, why was “The Boondocks,” which attracted one million viewers during it’s season three premiere, not been picked up for a fourth season? Why aren’t shows like “The Boondocks” marketed with the zeal of non-black productions?
If a season four of “The Boondocks is in production, why the huge gap between season three and four?
Another show that experienced a haitus is the hit show “The Game.” “The Game” had originally aired on the CW with star Tia Mowry. It was a spinoff of the hit show “Girlfriends.” Both shows had a strong following when the CW dropped “The Game,” discontinuing it’s reign. Shortly afterwards BET made efforts to acquire the show. After a huge battle, BET finally premiered the hit show and as of today “The Game” airs every Tuesday night on BET. The show proved itself, and continued to garner excellent ratings. The show has since gone through some cast changes, including the departure of it’s star Tia Mowry.
Catch “The Game” every Tuesday night on BET along with the rest of BET’s Tuesday night lineup of original series.
As black television grows, many must wonder when will a black show involving gays or lesbians hit the airwaves? For two seasons, LOGO TV aired the hit, “Noah’s Arc.” “Noah’s Arc”followed four gay men living in West Hollywood who were all good friends. The series followed the friends as they experienced love, heartbreak and life in general. After its second season, LOGO pulled the plugged on the series. Fans can continue to relive the lives of Noah, Ricky, Chance and Alex as the show enjoys syndication on LOGO and iTunes. Fans of the hit show may also enjoy the feature film that continues after the season two finale, “Noah’s Arc: Jumping the Broom.”
As for lesbians, for six seasons “The L Word” was aired on Showtime. “The L Word” was not a black show but did feature half-black actress Jennifer Beals and iconic actress Pam Grier.
The final season was cut short, and it ended with a huge cliffhanger. Fans were left wondering how it was to end, and wanting more. Fans have questioned if there is a possible film in themaking. However, no film has surfaced. The series will soon be available on DVD and Netflix where fans can re-live the lives of Bette, Shane, Alice, Tasha, Tina, Helena, Kit, and Jenny.
Still that has not stopped lesbian filmmakers from creating their own stories. Several have taken to YouTube and premiered their own series on the Internet and have received high reviews.
Web series such as “The Lovers and Friends Show,” “If I Was Your Girl,” “Sunny Reign,” and “StudvilleTV,” just to name a few. Each of these shows have all garnered strong followings. However, another lesbian hit series has yet to hit the mainstream again, opening the way for a major network to take the lead in television which presents other sides of life.
-Kelly J Newson