Thursday, June 04, 2009

The Television Chronicles of the Colored Intelligentsia &. The Colored Blue Collar Class

African Americans (or whatever we are being called this week) are not a monolithic race. Believe it or not but some blacks do not like Lil Wayne. And some blacks do enjoy eating Parsnips (a cousin to the carrot). One of the differences we have is with what we watch on television. I was talking to some friends (i.e. black folks) about comedy shows on television. And they actual told me that they watch “Friends”. I didn’t watch the show so I couldn’t agree or disagree. To some black folks that would be a no no in television viewing. I hear my co-workers laughing about Tyler Perry’s shows but I can’t join in on the fun. I don’t watch his t.v. shows. The comic timing and delivery of the jokes are suspect at best. Later I found out that he shoots an episode a day (that explains it all). I will try to support a black show if they are on the tube. But the bottom line should be the quality of the show. If it’s a good show, I’ll be back. If not, I’ll turn you off like “Homeboys in Outer Space”. Some blacks probably find it blasphemous that I like “30 Rock” instead of “Meet the Browns”. I’m not mad at the brother for trying to have a television empire. I just don’t see what’s so funny. Some black bloggers feel that Tyler Perry has a grievance against “white collar black folks”. They say his movies and shows try to attack “white collar” blacks early and often. Is Tyler Perry really running a wedge between us as people? Or is it just a preference thing?


the uppity negro said...

Honestly, I've yet to run into a black person who watches Meet The Browns or House of Payne.

Invisible Hand said...

I think the problem with black television and film is that when a white director or showrunner creates something it's seen as a personal vision and little more. Not so for blacks (or Hispanics... or women generally...).

Tyler Perry may very well have issues with white collar blacks. I know a lot of people who'd write and produce similar things if given the opportunity. I think we all just wish we were at a place where was enough representation of the diaspora that there were tens, if not dozens of independent black television and film producers telling their stories from their point of view.

That and my sneaking suspicion that while blue collar African-Americans are a distinct market, the white collar/upper-middle class blacks -- at least from a marketing stand-point, fall into line white their non-black economic peers in such a way that they're rendered economically meaningless.

This is just a guess, but just look at the way music is marketed. The only music marketed specifically to middle-class blacks is "neo-soul" or whatever it is. From there white-collar blacks cherry pick from alternative music, hip-hop, etc. -- things either mass marketed or marketed by class, not race.

Meanwhile there's always been a street level, urban marketing in the black community (the kind of marketing and word of mouth that made so many hip-hop moguls and Tyler Perry a millionaire).

Citizen Ojo said...

Uppity - What? Not one black person? That's a black history fact.

Invisible Hand - You make some good points. I do believe though that "Everyone Hates Chris" was a personal vision. All the other black shows not so much. "Girlfriends" started out good but the writing became stale and Toni left..yada yada yada.
I think the people marketing to black folks don't have the understanding to know the difference between black white collar and black blue collar. I could be wrong but 9/10 it's advertising from a company that doesn't have a black in a "thinking" position. I do believe that we "cherry pick" our music. NeoSoul is marketed towards the hip urban professional. But you always have a bank executive with a lil wayne ring tone.

the uppity negro said...


Seriously, no one I know watches either one of those shows.

the uppity negro said...


Seriously, no one I know watches either one of those shows.

Eye D. VS Mel O. said...

One episode filmed a day? I'm not surprised. and like Uppity Negro, I don't know anyone who watches or is able to stomach those shows especially Meet the Browns!

But while it's on my mind, I remember being in Physics class 5 years ago and 2 dudes who swore they were thugs to some degree were having this in deph convo about the Friends' series finale. All I heard was:
"yo you was watchin that shit too last night?"
"yea yo i saw that shit. the end was kinda wack tho."
"yea yo i didn't like that shit with the keys on the table"

I just sat there perplexed and amused and I still quite am.

Mr. Noface said...

I agree that it is a preference thing; it's just that some black folks are unable to accept the preference of others (leading them to criticize the preferences and the people making them).

BTW, I know a couple of black folks who watch those Tyler Perry shows and swear that they are funny. I disagree with them of course, but to each his/her own.

Anonymous said...

"The television chronicles of Narnia, Jonie loves Chachi and the facts of life". I too am opposed to the futile attempts to get a laugh in Tyler Perry's "Painful House".

Never before have we seen so many black faces on television. I mean c'mon, Raven Simone a bafooning Psychic who can see into the future but some how still gets things confused; Kyla Pratt and her T.V. dad Flex a single Father whose trying to raise a teenage daughter surrounded by a bunch of uncentered, misguided teenagers with blond haired black boys and too much make-up. disgusting isn't it?

Let's face it, shows like the Cosby show or movies like The Best man don't come around too often. Why is that? Maybe it's because of our tendency to flood the market with junk when an innovator steps out there and strikes gold. Much like the hip-hop industry, we get one great lyricist who steps onto the scene and all of sudden, there are twenty dozen copcats chompin' at the bit to see if lightening will strike twice in the same place.

Whatever happened to the think tank? The drawing board? Or as the great Rakim would say...Going back to the lab? (Sigh)

Citizen Ojo said...

Eye D vs. Mel O - Fake Thugs watching friends??? That daggone Jennifer Aniston.....

Mr. NoFace - Thanks for dropping by. Finally someone that knows someone that watches those shows. I almost thought his numbers were from white folks...ha ha ha

Anonymous - Your observation leads to a bigger question. We might be on television but what are the roles that we are playing? Raven was playing to her base. Her audience consists of tweens and parents who like for their chaps to watch youthful shows. Flex??? Horrible actor...The only way Angela Basset gets on t.v. is the last episodes of ER. It's just like the Rap Game these days. Everyone is chasing that one guy but now that one guy sucks!!!

Jay_fever said...

"Blasphemous"...lmao. Tyler Perry's shows are terrible. If I was strapped down and my eye lids were pried open I would bite my own tongue to avoid watching such nonsense. It has nothing to do with blue collar or white has everything to do with quality.