*This post is dedicated to my sister, for asking the question…
Name 5 dramas with an all African American cast or more than 1 African American actor?*
I just knew I was going to win this…I got this, I said to myself in my Daryl Dixon voice as I mentally ran down a list of tv shows that I love watching. Of course Scandal was first on my list. Scandal may not have an all African American cast but there are 2 major characters on the show that are AA…3 if you count the recurring character of Olivia’s ex Edison.
What started the conversation/game of name that show was me mentioning the TV show The Haves and the Have Nots on OWN. I’ve been hearing good reviews and I told my sister. I don’t have cable so I can’t watch it. I’m always up to watch anything that shows people who look like me, doing things that I have done, might do, want to do in real life.
Sis isn’t a fan. She said the story line is predictable. The scenes are shot with a “soap operaish” lens/film. And the only reason why it’s being talked about is because it’s the only drama on tv with more than one AA character…I agreed…shit, that’s the reason why I wanted to watch. I’m all about supporting my African American community. But I was like “It isn’t the ONLY show.”
She countered with “Name 5…and not Scandal because that is obvious…Name 5 dramas with more than one Black character?”
I closed my eyes, thinking that would help me conjure up images. All I saw behind my eyes lids was Scandal. My sister mentioned the series Soul Food on Showtime. I wanted Network shows and one, or two more recent.
I kept wanting to yell out “The Game”, “Girlfriends”. I couldn’t because the question was DRAMAS. The Game and Girlfriends were comedy with some light drama tones.
I was getting so annoyed I couldn’t think of one I had to go Google.
This is what I found…
To say I was a bit pissed at this list is an understatement. Most of the shows on the list only had one, two African Americans or non White characters. Yet I had to remind myself that what isn’t out there can’t be reflected. I feel justified in my annoyance that miniseries shouldn’t be on the list.
I want to see shows that had the audience tuning in every week, season after season. I want shows that had some momentum with writing, character development.
What rattles me is that even if there have been dramas with the majority of cast members being African American the shows didn’t last long.
If they were lucky, they got a chance to produce a full season of episodes. Soul Food holds the record as the longest running drama series with a predominantly African American cast, lasting 5 seasons.
In the comedy category we are golden…A Different World, The Cosby Show, Roc, Moesha, Living Single, Good Times
Those shows gave us a steady presence on the small screen, lasting for years.
We can laugh, joke, handle tough situations, difficult issues as long as there is a punch line or a sarcastic remark along with the message?
Are our daily lives filled with so much stress and strife we don’t need/want anymore drama?
Or is it something deeper…is it fear? Is the African American community in Hollywood more comfortable laughing at themselves than standing on a soapbox to make a statement demanding more.
The roles and story lines that are offered are usually a tale of rags to riches, domestic help, thug life, or segregation.
When roles have been given that don’t revolve around what is typical kudos are waved as if Hollywood is doing us a favor rather than portraying us as we are.
And we lap it up.
We need to pause in the laughter and ask ourselves why there is no drama.