Today I read an article about black females in the entertainment industry and the impact they have as role models for black girls. As a black woman who has always been passionate about our younger generation, this resonated with me. But while the author does go into depth on the changing atmosphere of black female influences, I believe she does not go far enough. It is not only black women who are suffering from lackluster social influences it is the Black Family.
In the past, black entertainment used to inspire us. In the 70s we saw struggling black families who still maintained a solid matrimonial connection. Good Times illustrated the survivalist mentality of an urban black family, who despite their deprivation, maintained harmony and a solid family structure. In Sanford and Son, Fred Sanford struggle but he worked hard, often hysterically mourned for his beloved wife and maintained his role as a father.
Wheezy and George, gave us a glimpse of what middle class life might look like once you moved up the East Side, then the Cosby’s showed us two income families where both parents were highly successful, and A Different World showed us how to get there. And guess what? We were inspired.
As an 80’s baby I embraced the Cosby Show; and despite being from a single family household, I was inspired by the love and marital bliss exhibited in Claire and Cliff’s healthy and mature relationship. And A Different World made college seem far more realistic. But today who is inspiring us?
Today we watch housewives, who aren’t really wives put their false reality on display while having altercations and wearing Louboutin’s, we see disrespectful spouses and men who cheat and refuse to commit. We constantly spread and even praise the ignorance colloquially known as ratchetness and call it entertainment.
Even the most intelligent and classy among us watch and say, “It’s not that critical, it’s just entertainment”. But is it? Some of us understand that these reality shows are not real and do not allow it to alter their psyche but what about those who do? Many women have taken on the styles, shoes, hairstyles and even common phrases and attitudes from reality show divas, while men view the disrespect and presume this is how women should be treated.
By watching these shows, we are telling networks we desire to see more of the negative stereotypical behavior which many professional blacks have worked hard to wipe from our identity; that we are willing to allow others to see us in this light; and that we will support its continuance over more positive programs.
Current culture is reflective of the spectacle these shows make of black families and black culture and it is the complete opposite of what we viewed in the
Its naïve to think these shows are not negatively influencing African Americans today the way shows in 70s 80s and 90s positively influenced the black community.
If we were inspired to be educated, maintain a family structure, and have healthy relationship with the Jefferson’s, Cosby’s and A Different World, then what are we learning from Love and Hip Hop?