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The Importance of Black Empowerment in Music, Film, and TV


Negro boys on Easter morning, sitting on a car, Southside, Chicago, Illinois, April 1941. Photo by Russell Lee. Credit Line: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division LC-USF34-38825-D.

Only massive Black American access to mass media production can undo the negative stereotypes used to portray Black people in America. Since the 1940s, critics have charged the entertainment industry alongside the federal and state governments with neglect, or even conspiracy in denying blacks access to power positions in media production. In 2018 this continues to happen, the difference is that there is no outrage, and this is because the Black American story is portrayed through the eyes of majority LGBTQ white writers. As well as black writers who feel slighted by the Black community as a whole because at some point they may have been rejected or told its wrong to be gay. Combine that with immigrants working in mass media who consider themselves “people of color” that have been receiving anti-Black American programming in their countries, the stories will quickly become anti everything that has to do with Black American Culture.

Escapism is very dangerous for not only Black Americans but its also detrimental to the Black Feminist, “POC,” and Blacks in the LGBTQ community who use these titles to escape blackness. The reality is, there is no escape from being Black. Black people should not have to escape, the mere fact that some Black people want to distance themselves from being Black is because of a society built on anti-black ideology, through the media, institutions, and leaders in the Black community funded by whites with an anti-black ideology.

Take a close look at today’s media, its an all-out attack on traditional Black families, empowering Black politics, and the covering up of the injustices that Black Americans face in this country everyday. In today’s media, if a story is not told from a perspective that makes white people comfortable, Black people will not get work, period. When only 4.8% of TV writers are Black, and the majority of those Black people identify themselves as LGBTQ, the truth about Black society will never be publicized. The stories that empower Black society will never be told. It is not enough to give us ABCs Black-Ish – a show that represents a fantasy lifestyle of less than 1% of Black society – because wishful thinking is not healthy for Black America.

Its time for Black media professionals of all ages to embrace an empowerment mindset, if we do not, we will continue to suffer, and we will not have anything to pass down to our children. Black people are very creative and innovative people; the problem is we have no institutions to display our skills in mass. For generations we have been locked out of big studio productions, we can no longer perpetuate the illusion that the current entertainment industry will support us, will pay us a fair wage, or give us an outlet to tell the stories that empower Black America.

At this point, 90% of the staff in Black targeted productions should be Black people, that is the only way our story will remain authentic and empowering.

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