Thank you Matthew Taranto.
(He’s really busy right now as well, having a newborn baby to take care
of as well as his game project and the BitF books, but he’s a true fan
and wanted to share his piece. Thanks for still bringing these
characters to life, whether it’s for good times or bad.)
Y’all always talk about how good Disney was back in the day but you SLEEP on the famous Jett Jackson, aka one of the first ever live action Disney Channel original sitcoms aka THE FIRST Disney Channel original sitcom with a black lead (RIP Lee Thompson Young).
Y’all especially sleep on this extremely important and still extremely relevant episode from 2000 called ‘Food for Thought’.
See, The Famous Jett Jackson is about a boy who stars on a very popular tv show who convinces his show runners to move the show from Hollywood and back to his home town and how different his life is.
But in this particular episode it starts with Jett doing an interview in Charlotte where he is really troubled when the interviewer starts to remind him about the privilege he has being a successful young black man and how that isn’t the reality for most young black men where they’re from and how he’ll never really understand that. Jett is really bothered by this so he decides to brave the city alone and see what the interviewer was talking about. He encounters another young black man around his age who is experiencing a very different life than he is and helps show Jett what black people without the privilege he has really go through
But most of all I want to highlight a specific scene that really struck me when I was rewatching this. Jett is trying desperately to call his dad on a pay phone after losing his wallet and is frustrated when the phone is broken, so he slams down the receiver. That’s when two cops show show up and force him to the ground, physically hurt and try to detain him.
F o r s l a m m i n g a r e c e i v e r.
The only reason they let him go is because a taxi happens to drive by with an ad for his show on the side and one of the cops recognises him. It felt so real.
Here are some quotes from the episode that really struck me and are still so relevant:
‘The fact is, despite how far we’ve come in the last 40 years, a young black man living in the community is still far more likely to find himself in the back of a cop car than the back of a limo,’
‘Just another black man dead in the streets, you know. TV news didn’t even bother to cover it.’
‘Why you harassing the boy? The kid’s just tryna call his dad.’
‘You think I don’t know what it means to be a black man in America?’
‘If those people who can help, don’t, who will?’
WATCH THIS EPISODE. DON’T SLEEP ON JETT JACKSON. DON’T SLEEP ON THIS EPISODE. DON’T LET DISNEY FORGET IT.
This is the kind of shit Girl Meets World needs to be addressing. This is what I want on the show. This is what Disney used to be. This is what Disney needs to be showing now.