I’m not ashamed to say that I finished most of Netflix’s #BlackAF in one night. I woke up and polished off the last two episodes like it was nothing. It was enjoyable or I wouldn’t have sat through it. Kenya Barris has a lane and he’s comfortable in it. If it isn’t broken, he’s going to make it again and again and again and I have no problem with it. I’m all caught up on Blackish and Grownish and honestly didn’t give Mixedish a shot (at the time I didn’t have time). I was confused to see people upset with Barris because the show wasn’t “black enough.” How is #BlackAF not black enough? Is it because the main character is successful? Or is it because, “he always has a light skinned wife?” News flash, in real life his wife is light skin and her name is Dr. Rainbow (I kid you not, does that sound familiar?) and this show seems like Barris being apologetically himself.
Some even complained that Rashida Jones isn’t “black enough.” I’m all, “her father is Quincy Jones.” How much more black do you want this woman to be? Let’s not start on colorism working both ways.
Barris is sharing his black experiences. The black experience isn’t universal. Why can’t we respect everyone’s perspective and why do we throw “not black enough” at anything that doesn’t show a struggling black family? There’s many different black experiences and we should stop reinforcing that black people can only struggle and be poor or be ball players and drug dealers.
Sure, #BlackAF didn’t have that much variety when it came to showcasing a variety of black skin tones but that isn’t just a #BlackAF problem that’s a TV problem. There’s a lot of Barris in his own shows and he’s said this time and time again. Years ago we were asking for more black people on TV. Now that we got that we can work on a variety of black people and we’ll never get there if we scrutinize every show that comes across our TV. It’s funny that the Tyler Perry episode with cameos from Ava DuVernay, Lena Waithe, and Issa Rae even touched on how the black community critiques its own art. I’m on the side of as long as it’s not bringing down the culture or insulting us as black people, I’m open to watching it. As our friendly awkward black girl says, “I just want everybody black to make it.”
“I used to care what people thought about my writing and then I realized that I’m writing for me. As long as I’m okay with my words, it’s fine. I just happen to share it with everyone.”- Me
What did you think of #BlackAF?
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I really enjoyed it! I’ve become a fan of his work. (I don’t know that you’re missing that much with Mixed-ish, but it’s worth seeing if you get the time.)