At a time when we are desperately trying to correct and cast off the very same negative stereotypes and images that have trigger-happy law enforcement officials, and the general public, on edge, do we need to go back to the times when “pimps, whores, drug dealers and gangsters” were glorified? And these were the perceptions of our communities that all America saw via the media. Really? As the brothers on ESPN say every week, “Come On, Man!!!”
Based on the reactions via social media, “Empire” is a tremendous hit. But is this show a real example of Black “progress” in the media? I’m probably in the minority, and really don’t care, but I think not. According to a multitude of comments, the show depicts some elements of our Black life that many of us “can relate to.” That’s nice, but if our fathers beat our mothers or we had a drunken, drug-addicted uncle in the family who was a pedophile, would we consider that to be the sort of “entertainment” we wanted the rest of the world to continue seeing as the best depiction of our community? Is that the best way to “Tell our story?”
And if so, for what purpose? What redeeming value and motivation do we find in “Empire?” Would we want our children to think that, with the right motivation, they can start up a record company with $400,000 in illegal drug money? Or they can shoot a childhood friend in the head to keep a secret? For those who are old enough to remember, isn’t that what movies like “Superfly” and “The Mack” were all about? And at the end of the day, that genre of “entertainment” spawned generations of the wannabe gangstas, pimps and drug-dealers who plagued and terrorized our communities for decades. The very images and stereotypes we still find ourselves trying to explain away to our non-African American colleagues and friends. As has been often-said, “If you don’t know your history, you are bound to suffer from the same mistakes.”
This time, that “mistake” is being broadcast and heavily promoted by FOX, the one television network that has consistently proven itself to be insensitive to, and totally disrespectful of, the African American community and it’s leadership. Again, I say “Come On, Man,” what are you thinking?
In the end, we can always say, “It’s just television.” True, but I ask, do you think President Obama would allow his daughters to watch “Empire?” Would you allow your children to watch it? I hope not.
Global Social Media News Service
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