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Black Representation in Media

It's very important, far more than you know.


Hello everyone! Today we will be talking about black culture in pop culture and what it means for black people. Now before I start, I just want to make it clear that while you may not agree with me; you should not rude about it. We all have different opinions and I will be glad to hear yours. Just don't be rude about it.

Black people have been in all kinds of roles on television and in cinema. From slaves to superheroes and everything in between; we have been represented. While there is still a lack of representation of black people to this day, we are making strides to fix that.

Why is seeing a black person on a TV or movie screen so important?

Because it makes us feel like we are not an after thought or ignored. Because it makes us feel included. It makes it easier to relate to that character. Even if they aren't the same shade or are from the same place, we can still relate to them on a certain level.

When I was growing up I used to like watching Hannah Montana and Kim Possible. But I loved watching That's so Raven and Static Shock even more. 

Seeing a girl that looked like me on my small TV in my room made me feel good. I felt like I could be like her. When I saw Static Shock I felt like I could relate to him since he had a family like mine. I wouldn't really feel that same way looking at Kim Possible or Hannah Montana. That doesn't mean I could never relate to a white character. It just means that it was easier to relate to a character that looks like me.

Having black people in media also means that you can do things that shine a light on black issues. It would be kinda weird if we had Miley being rejected by a clothes store for a job because they, "Don't hire black people." That's so Raven could do that since they had a black character. You couldn't have Kim Possible do an episode on colorism in the black community since she's not black. Sure they had Monique as a side character later in the series, but they wouldn't devote a side plot to that, much less an entire episode.

When I talk about black characters, I do not mean shows that clearly pander to a black audience. I don't mean characters that are stereotypes either. I mean well written characters that are black and who, if they were changed to a different race, would affect the story.

If you are still unconvinced that people take how black people in shows are presented then let me show you this:

These are real people saying this. People are getting impressions about black people from how we are shown in media. Not just from the news; from movies and television shows. If a person grew up not being around a group of people and saw a movie which paints them in a positive light, they would have a very positive impression about those type of people.

While they had some nice comments in that video, take a look at this one:

They didn't see a problem with Blackface. Blackface.

As in: We are having to deal with people defending blackface in 2018. That is a problem.

Now I'm sure that part of it has to do with there not being many people around who know that this is really not okay, but that is still not a good excuse.

So what have we learned today?

Representation is a way to help people feel acknowledged and help people learn about others. We should not make a person feel like they are racist for liking a movie with an all black cast. Also Blackface is not funny. Never has been and never will be!

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Black Representation in Media
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