Here’s the original tweet from @jaleelwhite: I hav lived a TV afterlife of execs proclaiming Blacks ONLY watch Blacks…

Reading this tweet sparked a response in me. After a day or two, that spark cascaded into a firestorm that I’ll call: Riffing on a F@cking Tweet.

Blacks Only watch Blacks?  Who do they think we watched when TV was in it’s lily infancy? But I digress. Back to Today. Do whites watch only whites? Latinos only Latinos? Asians only Asians? Sounds more and more absurd when one examines it logical corollaries, does it not?

But let’s assume for the sake of speculative discussion that this  “Blacks Only watch Blacks” proclamation is true. Is there a bankable opportunity in this “truism”?  Is that why many Blacks seem to get work as extras in productions where People of Color speaking parts are sparse if present at all? You’ve seen the scenes where Blacks seem to be conspicuously placed in the background while other foreground actors seem to carry the action, dialogue and storyline.  That has to be a strategic executive decision given its pervasiveness, right?

Again I ask, Is there a bankable opportunity in the TV executives’ assertion that “Blacks ONLY watch Blacks”? Is the notable increased number of Blacks “starring” in TV advertising  another executive strategy to foster a sense of inclusion around their somewhat (at times) non-inclusive programming?

It would seem there is a wealth of evidence to support that if “Blacks ONLY watch Blacks” then this is clearly a bankable opportunity. Can you say Tyler Perry? (not that Tyler Perry’s audiences are all Black)

Simply put, “Blacks ONLY watch Blacks” is a weak, false and race-based argument.  It is more accurate and more honest to proclaim that “Blacks ENJOY watching Blacks, whites ENJOY watching whites, Latinos ENJOY watching Latinos, Asians ENJOY watching Asians”, etc. ” But then again, it doesn’t quite explain the different categories of pornography or explain mixed-race families, does it?

For executives who seem to revel in repackaging old ideas for film and TV, it is understandable that their continuing patterns of social disengagement results in wholly unimaginative outcomes. Could it be any more simple-minded to scapegoat the audience for programs that do not resonate?

When others make negative inferences on what reasonable  people would view as self love it can be taken as wrong-headed. misleading, dysfunctional and disingenuous.

Mr. Jaleel White, you deserve better.

Seth Fine, M.Ed.
American Fiyah


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