Black Sitcoms Are Back!

 Robert Mays

In college, I had to take an art course; as a science major and a Africana studies major I didn’t have the time. However, I managed to take this really interesting class called “The Future of Your TV”. I learned a lot about the history of television, the switch to all channels being digital, and the future of media. That was about 7 years ago (I am getting old). But I remember the professor stating that soon scripted television will be back. This is during the pinnacle of Reality TV. I mean Love and Hip Hop, Basketball Wives and all the other garbage we consume to make us forget about our mundane lives.

I’m glad to say, once again, we have real actors, with real scripts, plus solid production is back. First, we have to thank Shonda Rhimes. I mean she gave us Olivia Pope. Before Olivia Pope we had Grey’s Anatomy. I didn’t watch that particular show but with Scandal, she capitulated a black woman lead in the homes of 7 million people each Thursday. Then we got Blackish and Empire (not a Shondaland Production but she paved the way), from Empire we got How to Get Away with Murder. But when other networks saw that Shonda was getting all of those views (and money), they soon began to follow suit. That’s when we got Being Mary Jane, Rosewood, Greenleaf, Queen Sugar, American Crime Story : The People v OJ Simpson, Roots:2016, Atlanta (on FX), The Get Down, Money and Violence and Underground (please watch Underground – they are telling the narrative of black folk correctly. This is a shamless plug). And there are others. Other shows and pilots (some made it, while others we are waiting their fates), but nonetheless we have black shows and they are telling stories of the varying aspects of black people as people. We need them and I’m just glad that there are opportunities for black folks in the arts- both behind and in front of the camera.

I’m not anti-reality television either. I get hype when Joseline comes on my television screen with her extreme delusions. I have a solid hearty laugh. But, I believe we have the talent and versatility to create a myriad of narratives showcasing black people in everyday life. And with primetime, cable and online series the possibilities are endless. Personally, I’m just happy to see these black folks win.

And I am greedily waiting for the return of How to Get Away with Murder , to have me on the edge of my seat since Scandal is on break until January. 

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