I’ve been posting alot lately about the important role the internet plays in African-Americans having the ability to create and publish their own content. If you look above, you’ll see that what appears to be a diverse selection of television channels is actually only a network of channels owned by the same few corporations. If the owner of a network does not want a certain television show aired, it wont get aired.
The reasons for certain shows not getting aired can vary greatly, but when it comes to the types of Black television shows that get played, many African Americans are left asking questions. In 2008, VH1 was set to air a show titled Interracial Love. The show, created by Tobias White, the white father of two interracial children, would feature professional, respectable, Black women who look beyond race to find true love. According to the employee, network execs rejected the show because the depiction of the Black women would be in opposition to those shown on such popular (yet controversial) shows as Flavor of Love and its spawns, I Love New York and Flavor of Love: Charm School. In a letter written to Black Press Radio, a VH1 employee shared what she was told happened during the production meeting. According to the employee, an executive stated: “It is our thoughts that the viewers are more interested in seeing Black people in a ‘ghetto’ role. This show will not sell."
Who is telling our stories for us?
Well the answer to this question lies in the percentage of African-Americans who are actually directors and producers (you know, the people who in the end decide to force Black actresses to compete for limited roles and decide which direction the show will go in) . When you look at the percentage of television producers who create "Black” television shows, the overwhelming majority of them are White. When you look even closer at the percentage of White producers and directors who are also Jewish, you see that they make up an even larger percentage than those who are non-Jewish.
I point this out for two reasons. The first is that it is evident that diversity is not only measured by the diversity of the actors on the screen, but also by the diversity of the directors and producers. The second is that if African-Americans are not able to create their own content and context, we are left with the same old stereotypical, fake Black media that BET has become so notorious for. The television show Love and Hip Hop comes to mind. I’ve listed below the producers for Love and Hip Hop. The majority are white and Jewish. We are not creating our own content on television.
I encourage everyone to look up the list of producers who make these stereotypical, fake, “Black” television shows and google their names. You will find that rarely is an African-American in a main decision making position on the set of these shows. Of course, it has purposefully been made very difficult for any producer or director who does not cater to the same stereotypical B.S., to get their work made into a show or movie. If we do not take full advantage of the opportunities the internet provides us in creating our own media, then the same stereotypes will continue to be shown in that circus they call Hollywood.