Most blacks are still portrayed as stereotypes
Published: Tuesday, April 4, 2006
Updated: Sunday, May 17, 2009 19:05
This past weekend a friend of mine invited me to watch movies with him. I agreed because I had nothing else to do. What could have been a nice evening turned into heated debate at Blockbuster and inspiration to write an article.
He wanted to see 50 Cent's "Get Rich or Die Trying", but I refused. It is not that I think badly about the movie, it is just that I am tired of these types of movies being the only kind portraying black people.
It is great there are movies with leading black actors and actresses, but why is it there is usually only one leading black person and the rest are B-list nobodies? Better yet, what happened to the positive image of blacks in movies?
I will be the first to admit I was raised in middle class America. I was raised in the suburbs, far from the ghettos, but nowhere close to the Hollywood hills. I know I am not the only black person who grew up in middle class America, so why are we so underrepresented?
Although it is good to portray all lifestyles, including those of the ghetto, it is not fair to say all black people live a negative kind of lifestyle. What would be fair is if movie producers would make more positive movies portraying blacks.
In his column, "Its Hard Out Here For An (Anti)- Pimp", Anthony Asadullah Samad says something I could not have said better myself. He said black children and young adults have a hard enough time finding positive images to aspire to without having the destructive ones constantly pounded into their heads. There are simply too many movies that show blacks in a negative light. We are more than ghetto thugs, pimps and hustlers, and it is time for the media to portray us in a better stance.
It amazes me to hear some young black people rant and rage over movies like "Get Rich or Die Trying" and "Hustle and Flow", but yet these same individuals fail to support positive black movies. I was once in line at a movie theater, and I over heard a group saying they wouldn't go see anything that isn't real. To this day I wonder what their definition of real was. I wonder if it real was sex, violence and drugs? Because if it is, I guess I am the fakest black person on the planet.
This same ridiculous problem applies to television shows as well. Young African Americans Against Media Stereotypes is a group that was formed to scrutinize media coverage for fairness and accuracy. According to YAAAMS, there have been over 100 black TV shows in Hollywood and less than five of them were dramas. YAAAMS continued on to make the point that the media still doesn't have all-black dramas because many blacks and others enjoy seeing blacks having a good ol' time. In addition blacks continue to be portrayed negatively.
Most black shows are outrageous sitcoms that show blacks as being loud and obnoxious. Why must we be shown as loud and obnoxious? Why can't we just be funny? And what happened to black family shows like "The Cosby Show"?
We deserve to have all characteristics of our lifestyles portrayed. I want to see more than thug images. I want to see more black actors take on the role of a college student or an entrepreneur. But, that's just what I want. It is sad that Hollywood fails to recognize black people positively and it is even sadder that we allow it.
This is a column of opinion by Porsha Jackson. Responses to this column can be made through the Printz Editorial Board at email@example.com.