By: Daisha Banks, Life+Style Reporter (@___rosyyy)
More frequently now, black people are seeing people on TV screens that look like them. Screenwriter and director Shonda Rhimes even described this time in history as the “browning” of TV. Shonda Rhimes, one of the biggest contributors to the browning of TV, wrote in her book Year of Yes, “I really hate the word ‘diversity.’ It suggests something…other…as if there is something unusual about telling stories involving women and people of color and LGBTQ characters on TV. I have a different word: normalizing. I’m normalizing TV. I am making TV look like the world looks.” Whether hot or not—if it’s one thing these shows have in common, they are all bringing black faces to television.
HBO’s Insecure uses Issa Rae’s web series Awkward Black Girl as a basis for this raw, uncanny and hilarious sitcom, which depicts the life of an average awkward black girl in America. Metacritic writer John McQ wrote, “What’s refreshing about this is that it’s a bold and honest depiction of the life of the ordinary black woman in America, something we don’t get to witness on television without the usual stereotypes.”
Insecure was solid enough to secure a second AND third season with HBO. The show appeals to the ordinary awkward black girl—overcoming race boundaries and making it relatable, which makes this show hot to all.
Grey’s Anatomy: NOT
Shonda Rhimes’ longest running show, Grey’s Anatomy, is back on ABC for its 14th season. Grey’s Anatomy features one of the most diverse casts on TV. The show is narrated by surgeon Meredith Grey but follows the journey of numerous people from their time as surgical interns to certified surgeons.
Ariell Carter, a freshman international business major and self-proclaimed die-hard Grey’s fan believes that the show has become repetitive. “It’s like they keep recycling the same situations and applying it to new characters,” said Carter. “I used to love Grey’s but now it’s getting boring.”
Unlike the patients in the show, this show does not need to be revived again. Repetitive plots and characters makes this show not hot.
Blackish has sparked enough controversy to be called “racist” by Donald Trump and praised by former president Barack Obama. Blackish has also received enough praise to grant Tracee Ellis Ross a Golden Globes Award for best actress—which has not been won by a black woman in 34 years. The show puts a comedic twist on a black family advancing in middle class America and the struggles they endure on that journey.
Ross credits the success of the show to the “the magic and beauty of a family which is not always represented on television.” The show tackles stereotypes, racism, colorism and so much more—leaving its viewers entertained and informed at the same time.
Black Reality TV: NOT
Black reality TV has been taking over our TVs one show at a time. From Love and Hip Hop to Sorority Sisters—these shows have become a medium of entertainment where black culture is depicted in a negative light.
Daryl Robinson, sophomore biology major spoke on the negative effects that those aforementioned reality TV shows have on black culture.
“It’s terrible for our image especially [for] black women,” said Robinson. “All we see is them being ratchet and we begin to think all women are money-hungry and cheaters.”
Because of their negative depictions, reality TV is not hot for the masses.